There are too many to list in one or two articles, so I’ve decided to pick a few to go into more detail on.
The 4 I’ve chosen are the most common of the gold coins. They’re all types of Eagle coins.
What Are Gold Eagle Coins?
If you’re not a coin collector or you’re just starting to collect coins, then you may be wondering, “What are Eagles?”
Eagles are gold coins that have been given that name due to the different types of eagles on the coin’s reverse side.
There are 4 different denominations of Eagles and a few different types and portraits for each denomination:
- The Quarter Eagle, which is a $2.50 gold coin
- The Half Eagle, which is a $5.00 coin
- The Plain Eagle, which is a $10.00 coin
- The Double Eagle, which is a $20.00 gold coin
Following are photos and details of the 4 most common types of gold Eagle coins…
Indian Head Quarter Eagle Coin
Designed by sculptor Bela Pratt, this gold coin has an Indian on the front and on the reverse it has a picture of a standing Eagle. (This same design is also on the Half Eagle coin below.) The design on this and the Half Eagle are unique in U.S. coin history because instead of the design being embossed from the coin, it is actually sunk into the coin.
These gold coins book from $320 in very fine condition to $500 in MS-60 condition. However, a lot of times you can’t go by the book prices with gold coins, due to the gold market fluctuating so much from day to day. One day gold may be down and the coin would be worth more just for the type of coin it is, and the next day gold could be way up in the market and it would be worth more for its weight in gold than the scarceness of the coin.
See a picture of the Indian Head Quarter Eagle coin here.
Indian Head Half Eagle Coin
This coin is by the same designer and depicts the same design on the front and reverse as the Indian Head Quarter Eagle, only it is a $5.00 coin instead of a $2.50 coin. Both denominations were minted from 1908 until 1929.
Most Half Eagles of this style will be worth anywhere from $495 in very fine condition to $595 in MS-60 condition with these exceptions:
- 1929 – $11,000 to $22,000
- 1915 S – $615 to $2,250
- 1914 S – $615 to $1,850
- 1913 S – $615 to $1,800
- 1912 S – $615 to $2,000
- 1911 S – $540 to $1,000
- 1911 D – $600 to $5,500
- 1910 S – $590 to $1,450
- 1909 S – $590 to $1,750
- 1909 O – $3,250 to $26,500
- 1908 S – $615 to $1,700
See a picture of the Indian Head Half Eagle coin here.
Plain Eagle Coin
With a denomination of $10.00, this gold coin also has an Indian head obverse but it is a much different portrait than was on the Quarter and Half Eagles. The Plain Eagle coin shows the head of Liberty crowned with an Indian war bonnet also with a standing Eagle on the reverse.
This coin was designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. If you’ve been around many coin collectors, you may have heard that name before. Saint-Gaudens is considered by many to be the greatest of modern sculptors, and it shows on his coin designs. Especially his Double Eagle design (mentioned below).
This coin was minted from 1908 until 1933. Most Indian head type 10 dollar Eagle coins are worth between $875 in very fine condition to $1,100 in MS-60 condition with these exceptions:
- 1930 S – $7,000 to $27,500
- 1920 S – $13,000 to $39,000
- 1913 S – $1,115 to $6,000
- 1912 S – $995 to $1,545
- 1911 S – $995 to $2,450
- 1911 D – $1,115 to $8,100
- 1908 S – $990 to $2,800
See a picture of the $10.00 Indian Head Eagle coin here.
Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Coin
The designer of this gold coin was also Augustus Saint-Gaudens which, as I mentioned before, was known to be one of the greatest modern sculptors. And I have to say, his work on the Double Eagle coin certainly didn’t hurt his career any. This twenty dollar gold coin is considered by many to be the most beautiful U.S. coin ever made. In fact, it’s one of the most sought after coins in the hobby.
The coin’s obverse depicts Liberty walking with her skirt flowing around her, and she’s holding a torch out in front of her. The reverse has a picture of a flying Eagle with the sun coming up from the bottom of the coin and its rays shooting up behind the Eagle.
This gold coin holds the record for the most money ever paid for a single coin at a coin auction. Get ready to say… “WOW!” In July of 2002 at an auction held by Sotheby and Stack, a 1933 Gem BU (brilliant uncirculated) Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle sold for $7,590,020.00. Yes, you read that correctly… that’s over 7 MILLION dollars for one coin… more money than I’d ever see in 5 lifetimes. It sold for so much because all of the 1933 Double Eagles were supposed to be melted down by the mint. Only 13 are known to have survived, and that one is the only one that has ever been on the market.
This coin was minted from 1907 until 1933. Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles are generally worth between $1,730 in very fine condition to $2,000 in MS-60 condition with these exceptions:
- 1933 of course…
- 1932 – $17,000 to $27,500
- 1931 D – $17,500 to $35,000
- 1931 – $16,500 to $31,000
- 1930 S – $25,000 to $37,500
- 1929 – $11,000 to $25,000
- 1927 S – $8,000 to $27,500
- 1927 D – $250,000 to $400,000
- 1926 S – $2,000 to $3,000
- 1926 D – $12,500 to $17,500
- 1925 S – $3,000 to $10,000
- 1925 D – $2,800 to $5,500
- 1924 S – $2,100 to $3,750
- 1924 D – $2,100 to $4,000
- 1921 – $42,500 to $100,000
- 1920 S – $19,500 to $52,000
- 1913 S – $1,765 to $2,260
- 1909 D – $1,910 to $2,900
- 1908 S – $4,000 to $11,500
- 1907 – $9,600 to $17,000
See a picture of the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coin here.
Just in case you were wondering, second place for the highest amount paid at a coin auction isn’t even close to what was paid for the 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold coin. In fact, there’s about a 3 million dollar difference.
Other Types Of Gold Coins
There were many many types of gold coins produced, but it would be nearly impossible to list them all in detail.
Other gold coin examples include:
- Liberty Head one dollar coins
- Indian Princess Head one dollar coins
- Capped bust quarter Eagle coins
- Liberty head quarter Eagles coins
- Indian princess head three dollar coins
- Stella four dollar coins
- Capped bust half Eagle coins
- Liberty head half Eagle coins
- Capped bust Eagle coins
- Liberty head Eagle coins
- Liberty head double Eagle coins