Coin Specifications

Category: Indian Head $5 (1908-1929)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 144
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: $319.92 (8/27/2016)
Diameter: 21.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1912 $5 PF obverse 1912 $5 PF reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The first sandblast or 'matte' (a later contemporary term) proof gold coins of the new Pratt and Saint-Gaudens designs were a function of those new designs, which were totally unsuited to the production of brilliant proof coinage. An excellent overview of the 'Matte Proofing Process' begins on page 36 of The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse Collection, published by Ivy Press in 2006. A brief timeline, condensed from that article, follows:

Pre-1908. Proof coins, whether gold, silver, or bronze, are struck by the Mint using specially prepared, highly polished dies on selected, polished planchets. Sometimes the relief detail in the dies was sandblasted or treated to provide a pleasing two-toned contrasting effect on the coin.

--1908. The new Pratt and Saint-Gaudens proofs are unsuited to the brilliant proofing process. The Mint, still needing to produce special collector coins, adopts a 'sandblast' or 'dull' proofing process for all proof gold coins. (The Lincoln cent and Buff

--April 1909. The Numismatist comments that 'proof coins of the present series, so far as issued, have a very dull appearance, the finish being what is known as 'sandblast,' and are far less pleasing to the eye than the coinage for circulation, which is b

--1909-1910. The Mint responds with the Satin finish or Roman finish proof gold, a brighter (unsandblasted) finish that is created by nothing more than using the new dies at high pressure in a medal press. Collectors dislike the Roman finish coins even mo

--August 1910. Collector extraordinaire (and future Treasury secretary) William H. Woodin and coin dealer Edgar Adams spearhead an effort to get the Mint to revert to the sandblast method. Woodin comments that the 'present [satin] proofs of the Saint-Gaud

--1911-1915. The Mint reverts to sandblast proofs in 1911, continuing through 1915. 'Color variations are typical for these years, but the dull, sandblast finish remains consistent throughout.'

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.

1912 $5 PF
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 5600 6600 8750 14500 24000 48000 57500 100000 170000 - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 37500 - 70000 - -

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Total Graded: 39
Low Grade: 64
Average Grade: 66
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/14/2008 PCGS PF 63   Goldberg September 14-16, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 48/Lot# 1508 $12,650.00
3/8/2012 NGC PF 67   Heritage Auctions 2012 March 8-9 US Coin Signature Auction - New York Session(2), 1168/Lot# 4097 $46,000.00
7/26/2012 NGC PF 67   Stack's Bowers The August 2012 Philadelphia ANA World's Fair of Money Auction, 140/Lot# 11720 $43,125.00
9/6/2012 NGC PF 66   Heritage Auctions 2012 September 6-9 US Coins Signature Auction- Long Beach Session(3), 1174/Lot# 4972 $34,075.00
10/18/2012 PCGS PF 66   Heritage Auctions 2012 October 18-21 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(4), 1175/Lot# 6012 $49,937.50
8/12/2015 NGC PF 67   Heritage Auctions 2015 August 12 - 16 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(2), 1223/Lot# 4413 $56,400.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1912 $5 PF
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