Liberty Head $10 (1838-1907)
The gold ten-dollar piece was the highest denomination authorized under the Mint Act of 1792, and it represented a great deal of money at that time. Learn More...
Liberty Head $10 (1838-1907)
The gold ten-dollar piece was the highest denomination authorized under the Mint Act of 1792, and it represented a great deal of money at that time. No examples were coined before 1795, as it took that long for the Coiner and Assayer to post their requisite bonds for the handling of gold. The eagle proved to be a coin of little utility in domestic circulation, and the numbers coined remained fairly small in its early years. In fact, most pieces were shipped overseas and melted as just so much bullion, a fact which prompted the suspension of this denomination in 1804. No more were issued until 1838.
Robert Scot's Draped Bust Liberty was paired with his Small Eagle reverse for the coinage of 1795-97, and the latter year saw a transition to the new Heraldic Eagle reverse taken from the Great Seal of the United States of America. Scot erroneously transposed the arrows and olive branch, placing each in the wrong claw of the eagle. These early issues have been fully cataloged by die marriages, yet very few persons have both the inclination and means to collect these rare and expensive coins by varieties. Even date collecting is a daunting proposition, and most numismatists would be very pleased to own just a single example of either type. NGC will the basic "Red Book" varieties, most of these having no fee (see the VarietyPlus table to see which do require the VP fee).
The eagle series doesn't become truly collectable until its resumption in 1838 with the Coronet Head Liberty type by Christian Gobrecht. This long running series lasted through 1907, with only minor stylistic changes in its early years and the addition of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST starting 1866. These basic subtypes are attributed by NGC as part of the grading process and do not require an additional fee. Mintages for the eagle seldom reached the six figures except during the Gold Rush period of 1847-55 and the Gilded Age of the 1880s and subsequent decades. Numerous die-punching varieties are known, with many more likely awaiting discovery. Interest in these is somewhat limited but growing. Few of them are as yet listed in The Cherrypickers' Guide, and NGC has supplemented these with its own VP designations.
The so-called Indian Head Liberty type of 1907-33 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens is notable for its near absence of varieties, as only the mintmark remained a variable during these years. Those few varieties of interest are attributed by NGC under its VarietyPlus Service. Basic subtypes, such as the No Motto versus Motto editions of 1908, will be attributed automatically as a component of the grading process.