Incongruous, historically impossible or simply a trifle fantastic. These are just a few of the criticisms thrown at the $10 Indian Gold Eagle. Purchase this intriguing coin, and you decide: a numismatic masterpiece or well, something else? President Theodore Roosevelt was determined to produce American coins of artistic merit. So he ensured that his friend and leading American sculptor of the day, Augustus Saint-Gaudens was commissioned to come up with new designs for the U.S. Mint. Though Saint-Gaudens' health failed swiftly, his contribution was to leave a legacy that saw two of the most beautiful American coins of all time produced. Moreover, from that point forwards, the standard of coin design was raised far above what it had ever been before. The designs seen on the $10 Indian Gold Eagle were originally intended for other pieces, but brought together, they make a captivating combination.
The obverse design features a profile portrait of Liberty, believed to be based on the figure of Victory sculpted by Saint-Gaudens for his memorial to General William Tecumseh Sherman in New York's Grand Army Plaza. However, there is one significant difference, the subject is seen with an Indian headdress rather than one of laurel leaves. This may seem a surprising choice, but it was one President Theodore Roosevelt insisted upon, for he felt the Indian headdresses were "distinctly American and very picturesque." It was this choice in particular which led to this coin facing so much ridicule. In addition to the idiosyncratic portrait of Liberty, you'll see 13 stars representing the original colonies of the United States curving around the top of the design. While towards the bottom, you'll see the year of issue. Your order will be fulfilled by a random year of issue, depending on availability at the time of your order. Though you can be assured the coin you receive will be in Very Fine condition.
The reverse design is dominated by a bald eagle standing upon arrows representing America's ability to defend itself and an olive branch symbolizing that America is a peace-loving nation. The depiction of this eagle is similar to coins of the ancient Ptolemaic Kingdom, where eagles are shown standing on thunderbolts. The country of issue, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA curves around the top of the design, while to the right of the eagle is the phrase, E PLURIBUS UNUM; taken from the great seal of the United States, it means "Out of many, one." Below the standing bald eagle is the value of TEN DOLLARS.
The motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" was not originally included on the reverse side, however following public pressure, Congress passed a bill making the motto mandatory - so the majority of surviving examples include this phrase. The design of this $10 Indian Gold Eagle is completed with raised stars around the edge of the coin - here too there are variations between some years of issue. For from 1907 to 1911, the edge had 46 stars, representing the number of states of the Union at that time. However, two more stars were added in 1912 indicating that Arizona and New Mexico had joined the United States.
The $10 Indian Gold Eagle proved difficult to produce in the original high relief design, so modifications were made so that it could be struck in a single blow. The modifications included the addition of a standard rim, to mitigate the formation of an extrusion that had proven easy to break off, affecting the intended weight of the coin. Indian Gold Eagles were struck from .900 fine gold, composed of 90 percent gold and 10 percent copper; they had a weight of 16.7200g and a diameter of 27mm. Your order will be fulfilled with a random year from the most common dates of issue, but it will always be in VF condition.
This distinctive coin takes inspiration from the ancient world while cleverly integrating the mandatory components of American coin design and injecting the two with a fresh, new look. The $10 Indian Gold Eagle has a crisp, streamline look, quite unlike any coin that went before it, making it truly innovative, from the stylized modeling of Liberty to the crisp typography. It's a coin which seems to reflect and even preempt some of the best of early 20th Century design, from the pared down style of American skyscrapers to the grand ocean liners. The $10 Indian Gold Eagle, though it received a mixed reception (and what great design doesn't?), was to influence American coins produced in its wake, the peace dollar being among them. A $10 Indian Gold Eagle in Very Fine condition from a random year of issue - capture this landmark coin for your collection.
Overview of the Common Date $10 Indian Gold Eagle VF • U.S. Mint • Condition: VF • Metal: gold • 90% gold, 10% copper • Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens • Year of issue: random year