Indian Head Half and Quarter Eagle Coins
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Hello all!

I recently acquired three Indian Head coins and would like to share some images of them with you all to get your thoughts. I acquired a 1913 Indian Head half eagle, a 1911 Indian Head quarter eagle and a 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle. None of these coins are officially slabbed or graded, but the 1914 coin in particular is very appealing to the eye. The only concern I have pertains to the lustre boasted by the 1913 half eagle. As you can see from the photos, the 1913 half eagle has a noticeably different lustre. It is not so apparent in person, but still marginally noticeable. The photos do exaggerate it, but really just wanted to share what photos I have with you to get your thoughts. Always interested in second opinions.

Please feel free to comment on my coins - whether it is about condition or otherwise. Also feel free to post pictures of your own Indian Head coins. Can't get enough of these!

Paid just under $1000 for the three. I love the 1914 quarter eagle here, and there is a 1914-D quarter eagle on the way which is a choice BU!

Looking forward to your responses.

Cheers!

Duncan.

Half 1913.jpeg

Quarter 1911.jpeg

Quarter 1914.jpeg

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Your 1913 half eagle shows why the Mint and Treasury disliked this design so much. With no rim to protect the design and field, bumps and other marks degraded appearance very quickly. The coins also lost metal faster than the older designs. Eventually this led to discontinuance of the quarter eagle.

Edited by RWB

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3 minutes ago, RWB said:

Your 1913 half eagle shows why the Mint and Treasury disliked this design so much. With no rim to protect the design and field, bumps and other marks degraded appearance very quickly. The coins also lost metal faster than the older designs. eventually this led to discontinuance of the quarter eagle.

Thank you for the input, RWB. Yes, I’ve heard this line of thought in addition to public concern around the accumulation of germs in the incuse design of the coin were key to the Indian Head’s demise. Like many pre-1933 gold coins, the National gold recall must also be considered here.

Do you have any Indian Head coins yourself? Be them quarter or half eagles!

Cheers!

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Top 50 Most Commonly Counterfeited U.S. Coins

According to Submissions to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)

 

All three of these coins made the list.

#3. 1914 Indian quarter eagle.  #6. 1911 Indian quarter eagle.   #16. Indian half eagle

I'm not saying these are counterfeit. However, the 1914 does appear to have the counterfeit identifier of a small round depression above the #4 in the date.  Duncan, you might want to have all three coins checked by an expert or perhaps someone here can tell from your images if they're real or fake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to the forum.

It is a crying shame that, when someone posts pictures of their new raw purchases, rather than congratulate them and brag on their coins, we have to be concerned about whether the coins are products of our "friends" across the Pacific. I am so frustrated with not only the counterfeiters and the complicit government that supports them, but places like Etsy, Mercari, and yes, Ebay, that allow garbage to be pushed on trusting buyers, and do little or nothing to stop it.

Sorry to rant on your post, but this is a sore spot. They look good, and I hope they are authentic, but this is definitely not my area of expertise.

I sincerely hope they are genuine.

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Gentlemen, thank you both for your input. It is common knowledge amongst collectors and enthusiasts that the Indian head series (be that quarter or half eagle) has been plagued with quality counterfeits for many years. It's an absolute nightmare and a crying shame. Alas, where there is money to be made, people make it - honestly and otherwise! 

Hoping a member far more knowledgable than I can infer the authenticity from what photos I have provided. I haven't ruled out sending them all in to NGC for grading.

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Welcome to the boards and a very nice first post.  I like the Indian Head gold design myself and have a complete AU quarter eagle set in a capital holder.  It is a series fraught with counterfeits so if you plan to purchase any others do your homework and find a good dealer to work with that knows the series.  I'm no expert but the weights and measures are spot on so that is a promising start, however as noted that dot on the 1914 above the 4 is a marker for a known counterfeit.  So I would recommend that you have these checked for authenticity locally if that is possible.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Coinbuf said:

Welcome to the boards and a very nice first post.  I like the Indian Head gold design myself and have a complete AU quarter eagle set in a capital holder.  It is a series fraught with counterfeits so if you plan to purchase any others do your homework and find a good dealer to work with that knows the series.  I'm no expert but the weights and measures are spot on so that is a promising start, however as noted that dot on the 1914 above the 4 is a marker for a known counterfeit.  So I would recommend that you have these checked for authenticity locally if that is possible.

 

 

Hello and thank you for your input!

Absolutely agree with you here. Apologies if I was a little unclear in the post, however. I picked the three up for a little under $1000, but all from different sellers. The 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle was purchased from a collector and seller called Rona Cox. She is a member of the Royal Numismatic Society and has her own website: www.historycoins.co.uk

Furthermore, Rona Cox has a published book called ‘History Through Coin’ and is a fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society. All of her coins come with a lifetime warranty of authenticity, meaning I can get a full refund if I can prove that the 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle I bought from her is a counterfeit.

I was rather confident when buying this coin from her as she had acquired it from Dix Noonan Webb where it had been informally graded at “around mint state.” Did Noonan Webb are world coin specialists.

All of this being said, however, I accept that the depression above the four in the date on the 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle can cause alarm.

I know that the weights and sizes are absolutely spot on, but I suppose this could be replicated provided the same materials were used in the same ratios (Au:Cu/90:10) in the counterfeits. Just a thought.

Looking forward to additional input.

Thank you!

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I would also like to add that I am a collector based in the UK, so local authentication services with specialities pertaining to Indian Head half and quarter eagles are few and far between! xD

Not to worry, I’ll be in the good old USA soon enough!

I should also note that for the purposes of making this forum beneficial to fellow collectors and new comers, I will give an update on the results of my NGC submission. I’m still waiting on a 1914-D Indian Head quarter eagle, so I shall wait for it to arrive before I submit all four of them for authentication and grading.

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12 hours ago, tejas1836 said:

 

Top 50 Most Commonly Counterfeited U.S. Coins

According to Submissions to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)

 

All three of these coins made the list.

#3. 1914 Indian quarter eagle.  #6. 1911 Indian quarter eagle.   #16. Indian half eagle

I'm not saying these are counterfeit. However, the 1914 does appear to have the counterfeit identifier of a small round depression above the #4 in the date.  Duncan, you might want to have all three coins checked by an expert or perhaps someone here can tell from your images if they're real or fake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 hours ago, Just Bob said:

Welcome to the forum.

It is a crying shame that, when someone posts pictures of their new raw purchases, rather than congratulate them and brag on their coins, we have to be concerned about whether the coins are products of our "friends" across the Pacific. I am so frustrated with not only the counterfeiters and the complicit government that supports them, but places like Etsy, Mercari, and yes, Ebay, that allow garbage to be pushed on trusting buyers, and do little or nothing to stop it.

Sorry to rant on your post, but this is a sore spot. They look good, and I hope they are authentic, but this is definitely not my area of expertise.

I sincerely hope they are genuine.

 

10 hours ago, Coinbuf said:

Welcome to the boards and a very nice first post.  I like the Indian Head gold design myself and have a complete AU quarter eagle set in a capital holder.  It is a series fraught with counterfeits so if you plan to purchase any others do your homework and find a good dealer to work with that knows the series.  I'm no expert but the weights and measures are spot on so that is a promising start, however as noted that dot on the 1914 above the 4 is a marker for a known counterfeit.  So I would recommend that you have these checked for authenticity locally if that is possible.

 

 

Gentlemen, I have an interesting point to raise within this discussion. I fully acknowledge that the small depression marginally above and to the left of the 4 in the 1914 date on the Indian Head quarter eagle can be a common cause for concern. It is one of the first giveaways of a counterfeit. That being said, does this mean that all 1914 Indian Head quarter eagles with this identical mark are counterfeits? The reason I am asking this is that a 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle graded at MS65 by PCGS sold on Heritage Auctions for $37,375 and it exhibits this identical mark. My 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle very clearly has this identical depression. I would like to think that a coin like this graded by PCGS and sold via Heritage Auctions was absolutely and unequivocally authentic - especially for what the buyer paid! Please see the link to the Heritage Auction listing: https://coins.ha.com/itm/indian-quarter-eagles/1914-2-1-2-ms65-pcgs/a/1114-1913.s?ic16=ViewItem-BrowseTabs-Auction-Archive-ThisAuction-120115

 

lf.jpeg

lf-2.jpeg

lf-3.jpeg

lf-4.jpeg

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13 hours ago, DuncanWylieWilson said:

Thank you for the input, RWB. Yes, I’ve heard this line of thought in addition to public concern around the accumulation of germs in the incuse design of the coin were key to the Indian Head’s demise. Like many pre-1933 gold coins, the National gold recall must also be considered here.

Do you have any Indian Head coins yourself? Be them quarter or half eagles!

Cheers!

I have very few coins - not really a collection - the ones I have are primarily for study or examination purposes. Most of my efforts are concentrated on research into American numismatics.

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8 hours ago, DuncanWylieWilson said:

Not to worry, I’ll be in the good old USA soon enough!

Any chance we could swap? I have a feeling that in a few months, being an ex-pat will be looking pretty good.

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14 hours ago, DuncanWylieWilson said:

t.

I was rather confident when buying this coin from her as she had acquired it from Dix Noonan Webb where it had been informally graded at “around mint state.” Did Noonan Webb are world coin specialists.

 

Hmmm AU 60 rears its ugly head...

Welcome to the boards.. I haven't the confidence to touch Gold especially by pictures... But there are a lot who you can depend on here..

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8 hours ago, DuncanWylieWilson said:

 

 

Gentlemen, I have an interesting point to raise within this discussion. I fully acknowledge that the small depression marginally above and to the left of the 4 in the 1914 date on the Indian Head quarter eagle can be a common cause for concern. It is one of the first giveaways of a counterfeit. That being said, does this mean that all 1914 Indian Head quarter eagles with this identical mark are counterfeits? The reason I am asking this is that a 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle graded at MS65 by PCGS sold on Heritage Auctions for $37,375 and it exhibits this identical mark. My 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle very clearly has this identical depression. I would like to think that a coin like this graded by PCGS and sold via Heritage Auctions was absolutely and unequivocally authentic - especially for what the buyer paid! Please see the link to the Heritage Auction listing: https://coins.ha.com/itm/indian-quarter-eagles/1914-2-1-2-ms65-pcgs/a/1114-1913.s?ic16=ViewItem-BrowseTabs-Auction-Archive-ThisAuction-120115

 

 

 

I have not studied or collected the $5 Indian series so I can only go by the reference material I have.  The PCGS guide to counterfeit detection shows a photo of this depression and when comparing the PCGS example you linked and the guide photo the guide shows the depression to be slightly lower and more inbetween the 1 and the 4 in the date,  The linked coin depression appears to be in a slightly higher and more above the 4.  I am not in a position to say for sure that the PCGS coin is or is not totally legit, TPG's can and have made mistakes even with very expensive coins like this in the past so it can happen.  Also Heritage is in the auction business not the authentication business and I do not know what (or if any exists) their protocol when high profile coins like this are sent for consignment.  The guide does go on to say that the counterfeit die was altered at some point to remove the lump which caused the depression but that the die alteration left evidence of the alteration in that area on subsequent coins.

As I said I'm not an expert or learned enough in the series to say that every coin having a depression in that area is a counterfeit; only that when I see that depression I am cautious and simply move on.  

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9 hours ago, VKurtB said:

Any chance we could swap? I have a feeling that in a few months, being an ex-pat will be looking pretty good.

I’d swap with you in a heartbeat, sir! I love my country, but my lust for American is a calling!

Any thoughts on these Indian heads here, VKurtB? All knowledge is good knowledge!

🇬🇧🇺🇸 

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15 hours ago, RWB said:

I have very few coins - not really a collection - the ones I have are primarily for study or examination purposes. Most of my efforts are concentrated on research into American numismatics.

I can appreciate that. I’m one of these peculiar beasts who only collects Indian Head half and quarter eagles. Very well might move into other areas in the future, but I’m so drawn in by Pratt’s efforts here and the imagery surrounding it.

Im actually waiting on a book on them that’s had some very positive feedback - The Golden Indians of Bela Lyon Pratt: https://coinweek.com/education/numismatic-books/first-read/first-read-gold-indians-bela-lyon-pratt-allan-schein/

I hear that it’s not only a fantastic reference source for these beautiful coins, but that it’s also interesting reading on raw American history. Plenty of quality images too!

 

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8 hours ago, MAULEMALL said:

Hmmm AU 60 rears its ugly head...

Welcome to the boards.. I haven't the confidence to touch Gold especially by pictures... But there are a lot who you can depend on here..

Haha! Yes, the AU 60 grade! In fairness, it’s a really pretty coin, and because it hasn’t been graded and slabbed a more reasonable and accurate number can’t legitimately be placed on it. Once my 1914-D Indian Head quarter eagle arrived I shall send all four coins off to NGC and let you know how I get on. Should the 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle come back as a counterfeit then j shall return it to the seller with her lifetime guarantee! 
 

I meant to ask this here, but I’ll put it in my response to you given that we are talking about ungraded coins: Have you ever bought an ungraded Indian Head half or quarter eagle? 
 

I know that some people try to stay away from ungraded coins for obvious reasons, but there are also those who won’t have coins graded as they don’t like them being ‘entombed’ in an NCG slab or otherwise.

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8 hours ago, DuncanWylieWilson said:

I’d swap with you in a heartbeat, sir! I love my country, but my lust for American is a calling!

Any thoughts on these Indian heads here, VKurtB? All knowledge is good knowledge!

🇬🇧🇺🇸 

I must admit that U.S. gold is not one of my strong areas, particularly the Indian series.

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Are you talking about the small circular depression above the 4 and just below and slightly to the right of the initials? I'm looking on mine, but the photo is too dark to tell.

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3 minutes ago, Zebo said:

Are you talking about the small circular depression above the 4 and just below and slightly to the right of the initials? I'm looking on mine, but the photo is too dark to tell.

Yes, that’s correct. That’s the little depression we are looking at. It’s often on some ‘quality’ gold reproductions, i.e. counterfeits made to a good enough standard to fool even those with a little experience.

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Regarding the U.K., in what may be a triumph of optimism over reality, my wife and I have booked May 27, 2021 as our British Royal Mint VIP Tour. We did the "regular" one in December of 2019. We had originally booked the VIP for about a week from today, but that went NoVid COVID.

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59 minutes ago, VKurtB said:

Regarding the U.K., in what may be a triumph of optimism over reality, my wife and I have booked May 27, 2021 as our British Royal Mint VIP Tour. We did the "regular" one in December of 2019. We had originally booked the VIP for about a week from today, but that went NoVid COVID.

Glad that you made it to Chards last time. This tour - don't forget to pick up your Royal Mint Juke Bag. I'm still looking for the photo of mine.

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1 hour ago, DuncanWylieWilson said:

Yes, that’s correct. That’s the little depression we are looking at. It’s often on some ‘quality’ gold reproductions, i.e. counterfeits made to a good enough standard to fool even those with a little experience.

Nope - mine does not have it - so no help.

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1 hour ago, Zebo said:

Glad that you made it to Chards last time. This tour - don't forget to pick up your Royal Mint Juke Bag. I'm still looking for the photo of mine.

I am about to send in several British Crowns to NGC for grading, including one I snagged at Chards of Blackpool, plus another from the Bloomsbury Coin Show. I'm fairly certain my 1951 Festival of Britain will make a PL designation.

Edited by VKurtB

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1 hour ago, VKurtB said:

I am about to send in several British Crowns to NGC for grading, including one I snagged at Chards of Blackpool, plus another from the Bloomsbury Coin Show. I'm fairly certain my 1951 Festival of Britain will make a PL designation.

[Chards... Blackpool...hmm.  It vaguely comes back to me why I never purchased a coin from them.  Back then, two years ago, TPGS were unknown to them and I decided then and there I lacked the desire (some apparently find attractive) to banter with those who feel their opinion is The Last Word. I am happy to hear you made out alright. Generally, I can do without the drama.]  Certified coward that I am, I no longer joust on horseback; reminiscing on keyboards suits me just fine.

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7 minutes ago, Quintus Arrius said:

[Chards... Blackpool...hmm.  It vaguely comes back to me why I never purchased a coin from them.  Back then, two years ago, TPGS were unknown to them and I decided then and there I lacked the desire (some apparently find attractive) to banter with those who feel their opinion is The Last Word. I am happy to hear you made out alright. Generally, I can do without the drama.]  Certified coward that I am, I no longer joust on horseback; reminiscing on keyboards suits me just fine.

They, and by extension a considerable portion of U.K. coin collectors, are not fans of slabbed coins, as a rule. At Bloomsbury, there were quite few slabs at the tables, especially by comparison to over here. But it figures. At Chards, I challenge anyone to find an AU coin. It goes directly from XF to Unc.  Traditional British grading standards. Spink's doesn't recognize AU either.

Even CNG, located in London, England and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, only does slabs because their U.S. customers "can't grade and need them".

Edited by VKurtB

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