Coin Specifications

Category: Indian Head $5 (1908-1929)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 577,845
Catalog: KM-129
Obverse Designer: Bela Lyon Pratt
Reverse Designer: Bela Lyon Pratt
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 8.3590g
AGW: 0.2419oz
Melt Value: $284.47 (12/22/2014)
Diameter: 21.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1908 INDIAN $5 MS obverse 1908 INDIAN $5 MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

The initial-year mintage for the new Bela Lyon Pratt-designed half eagle was a generous production exceeding 577,000 examples, although the Philadelphia Mint in the following year would produce an even larger emission. Dr. William Sturgiss Bigelow had suggested the original design idea for the Indian Head half eagle to President Theodore Roosevelt, and Pratt had made the models. As usual, Mint personnel, in this case mint engraver Charles Barber, modified the final design for coinage production. Pratt was clearly uninvolved with the last step. In writing to his mother Sarah Pratt after being shown an sample half eagle by Bigelow, Bela Lyon Pratt wrote, as taken from Burdette's important work: 'After the first of November you can [get] all you want of my coins at any bank, but that is still a secret. They have 'knocked spots' out of my design at the mint. They let their die cutter spoil it, which he did most thoroughly, so try not to be too disappointed when you see the coins.. The little $2-1/2 coins don't look so badly but the $5 is a sight! I could not sleep for a night or two after I saw it. The first impression, which Dr. Bigelow showed me at the Symphony two weeks ago, looked quite well. But they tried to retouch it and gee! They made a mess of it! With a few deft touches the butcher or blacksmith, who is at the head of things there, changed it from a thing I was proud of, to one [of which] I am ashamed! Still it is the best coin the U.S. has ever had ...' Things went from bad to worse when Pratt even failed to get credit for the design. Many newspapers of the time, although mentioning that Pratt had 'made the models,' credited Bigelow with the design.

Although the designs were greeted with distaste in some quarters, fortunately, like many first-year issues, the coins were both well-produced and saved in considerable numbers, at least judging by the certified population data.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/11/2014

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1908 INDIAN $5 MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 435 445 455 465 475 475 500 510 550 560 575 670 800 1750 3250 15500 29400 74000 - - -
$ 480 505 515 555 570 600 700 875 1950 4700 25000 40000 - -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 7571
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 68


Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
1/12/2015 MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2015 January 7 - 12 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Session(7), 1216/Lot# 7149
1/12/2015 MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2015 January 7 - 12 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Session(9), 1216/Lot# 11450


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
1/9/2006 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2006 January Orlando, FL FUN Online Session #395, 395/Lot# 27498 $920.00
1/23/2006 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2006 January Dallas, TX The Jules Reiver Collection Signature Auction #390, 390/Lot# 21739 $2,530.00
3/9/2008 NGC MS 61   Teletrade Auction 2500, 2500/Lot# 2501 $672.00
1/31/2010 PCGS MS 61   Goldberg January 31 - February 3, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 57/Lot# 2168 $483.00
12/8/2010 PCGS MS 64   Bonhams Coins and Banknotes, 18404/Lot# 2337 $3,042.00
6/8/2014 NGC AU 55   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/08/2014, 202/Lot# 199336 $402.60
9/5/2014 PCGS MS 63   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3498, 6052/Lot# 20530 $1,175.00
9/28/2014 PCGS MS 62   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 823, 832/Lot# 781 $800.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1908 INDIAN $5 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base9201021103910571075108410921101115311891238127115891911254334986431812811501247784277373760
953102710451063107810861095111811651205124913771696212128614475699692521592630776531020
000000109511181165120512491377169621212861447569969252159263077600
0000001098113511771221126014831803233231795453756210376203523677400
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 64
Points: 3080
Owner: scotty's gold
 
Grade: MS 61
Points: 1589
Owner: Vespasian49
 
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