Coin Specifications

Category: Indian Head $5 (1908-1929)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 82,000
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: $259.20 (11/25/2015)
Diameter: 21.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1908 S $5 MS obverse 1908 S $5 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

When all three gold denominations of the 1908-S are examined as a group three distinctive traits emerge that are common to all. The five, ten, and twenty dollar coins each have one of the lowest mintages in their respective series, each is among the most attractive and best-produced issues in the series, and each is occasionally available in higher grades. The 1908-S five dollar had a mintage of 82,000 pieces, the lowest of all S-mint five dollar Indians and third lowest in the series, trailing only the 1909-O and the 1911-D. The ten dollar had only 59,850 pieces produced, fourth lowest in that series among regular issues. And the twenty dollar had an impressively low output of only 22,000 coins, the lowest production run among the regular issues in that series. In each case, small hoards set aside at the time of issue account for the availability in high grades of these three denominations. The attractiveness of the 1908-S in all three denominations is primarily from the exceptional mint frost, a trait common to many San Francisco-produced coins. On the gold denominations struck in 1908, attractive color is another plus that adds even more to the superior eye appeal of these coins.

The common trait among each of these three gold coins is the newness and novelty of each design. The quarter eagle and half eagle marked a distinctive break from the Gobrecht-inspired Coronet design that began in the late, and the Longacre design for the double eagle had been in production since 1850. Each of the three new gold designs was a radical departure from its predecessors. Perhaps the most radical and innovative were the quarter eagles and half eagles, designed by Bela Lyon Pratt. These coins featured a naturalistic portrait of a Native American, rather than the 19th century stylized portrait, and the coins were struck in sunken relief. This unfamiliar naturalism and the novel sunken relief were reason enough for both collectors and the general public to set aside these special coins, especially in 1908, the first year of issue.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/12/2015

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1908 S $5 MS
Base $ 440 450 465 600 685 825 925 1625 2450 3400 5350 9750 13000 27000 36000 65000 215000 - -
$ - - - 1750 2650 - 6100 10750 20000 - - - -

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Total Graded: 541
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
4/7/1999 NGC XF 45   Teletrade Auction 1151, 1151/Lot# 2211 $358.70
7/20/2004 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2004 July New York, NY Signature Sale #320, 320/Lot# 8307 $10,810.00
6/27/2005 NGC MS 61   David Lawrence Rare Coins Auction 43: The Cook Family Collection, 47/Lot# 1421 $1,092.50
9/10/2006 NGC MS 61   Goldberg September 10-13, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 37/Lot# 2134 $1,725.00
7/12/2007 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2007 Summer F.U.N. (July, West Palm Beach, FL) Signature Coin Auction #442, 442/Lot# 2604 $8,625.00
1/5/2011 NGC MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(3), 1151/Lot# 5159 $40,250.00
8/30/2013 NGC AU 55   Stack's Bowers The September 2013 Philadelphia Auction, 195/Lot# 3432 $1,028.13
2/23/2014 NGC AU 50   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 02/23/2014, 182/Lot# 173031 $797.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1908 S $5 MS
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