Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $10 (1838-1907)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 7,200
Catalog: KM-66.1
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 16.7180g
AGW: 0.4837oz
Melt Value: $615.99 (10/26/2016)
Diameter: 27mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1838 $10 MS obverse 1838 $10 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

While other denominations of gold coins were struck with minimal breaks in production, the ten dollar gold piece was deemed not necessary or convenient for 34 years between 1804 and 1838. Its relevancy to the channels of commerce was revived by two mint provisions of the mint act that was passed in January 1837. The first changed the legal fineness of all gold coins from the awkward standard of .9167 gold and .0833 copper to .900 gold and .100 copper. The second section of the mint act (actually Section 10) provided a reduction in the weight of these coins: ' ... the weight of the eagle shall be two hundred and fifty eight grains ...' The previous weight for ten dollar gold pieces had been 270 grains. This 12-grain reduction was enough to make it unprofitable to melt U.S. gold coins, thus ensuring these pieces would actually circulate.

Christian Gobrecht was Assistant Engraver at the mint at that time. It fell to him to redesign the new gold coins, and his designs from 1838 were minimally altered until major changes occurred in 1907 and 1908. Gobrecht apparently copied the head of Venus in Benjamin West's painting Omnia Vincit Amor. According to Breen, he slightly changed the headdress 'but with the same triple-beaded cord on her bun, and the same coronet (here inscribed LIBERTY).' Only 7,200 business strikes were produced in 1838 (plus four proofs), and high grade survivors are rarely encountered.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/8/2016

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

1838 $10 MS
Base $ 1600 1850 2350 3800 9900 17000 21500 28000 55000 64000 72500 97500 145000 - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 58
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 63

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
5/4/1998 PCGS XF 40   Teletrade Auction 1046, 1046/Lot# 2084 $2,532.00
4/25/2002 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2002 April Columbus, OH (CSNS) Signature Sale #288, 288/Lot# 7095 $63,250.00
12/26/2005 NGC AU 58   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet-Only Auction #68, 73/Lot# 879 $20,746.00
5/25/2008 NGC AU 50   Goldberg May 25-27, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 47/Lot# 4714 $10,925.00
9/7/2011 NGC AU 50   Heritage Auctions 2011 September Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction Session(3), 1159/Lot# 4371 $10,925.00
2/7/2013 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1182/Lot# 3976 $30,550.00
5/25/2014 PCGS XF 40   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/25/2014, 183/Lot# 196851 $6,618.70
2/6/2015 PCGS AU 50   Stack's Bowers 2015 Americana Auction, 6070/Lot# 2553 $22,325.00
8/12/2015 PCGS XF 40   Heritage Auctions 2015 August 12 - 16 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(5), 1223/Lot# 6220 $7,637.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1838 $10 MS
1838 $10 MS Prooflike
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