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: 8.3600g
AGW: 0.2420oz
Melt Value: $327.23 (7/30/2016)
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.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/12/2015

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

1908 INDIAN $5 MS
Base $ 435 445 455 465 475 500 510 550 570 585 660 800 1700 3300 12000 33650 67500 - - -
$ - - - - - - - 875 2000 4300 20500 45000 - -

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Total Graded: 7576
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
12/8/2010 PCGS MS 64   Bonhams Coins and Banknotes, 18404/Lot# 2337 $3,042.00
2/19/2012 NGC MS 61   Teletrade Auction 3227, 3227/Lot# 2632 $525.00
9/2/2012 NGC MS 63   Goldberg September 2-5, 2012 The September 2-5, 2012, 70/Lot# 2106 $1,437.50
6/5/2013 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2013 June 5 - 9 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(7), 1186/Lot# 8950 $705.00
6/23/2013 PCGS MS 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 757, 766/Lot# 332 $1,166.00
7/6/2014 PCGS   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 07/06/2014, 199/Lot# 206355 $27,500.00
1/29/2015 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2015 January 29 - February 1 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(4), 1217/Lot# 7841 $540.50
3/31/2015 PCGS AU 55   Stack's Bowers March 2015 Baltimore, 6065/Lot# 33721 $376.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1908 INDIAN $5 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 64
Points: 3080
Owner: scotty's gold
Grade: MS 62
Points: 1843
Owner: rockhobby
View the Registry Image Gallery

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