$2.50 Indian Head Gold Coins – Facts to Know about Quarter Eagles
Collecting $2.50 Indian Head gold coins can be a fun and profitable venture. These coins have a fascinating history and intriguing design. At the same time, because of their small size, they are often more affordable than larger gold coins. That makes them the ideal starting place for new collectors that have a goal of assembling a complete collection of these type coins. However, before you buy or sell these coins, you need to know all the details that make them unique, valuable, and interesting.
History of Indian Head Gold Coins
Beginning around 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt pushed for new designs for U.S. coins. Five specific coins could be redesigned without going to Congress – a cent and four gold coins. So, Roosevelt requested that the mint hire Augustus Saint-Gaudens to design these coins. However, Saint-Gaudens passed after having completed only two of the five coin designs – the $10 eagle and the $20 double eagle.
Because Saint-Gaudens’ designs didn’t fit well onto the small size coins needed for the half eagle and quarter eagle, the mint employed sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt to create a new design for these coins. Pratt made the iconic Indian Head gold coins that were minted until the beginning of World War I, when the gold supply was drastically reduced. These quarter eagles were struck again after the war, during the late 1920s until after the Great Depression hit in 1929. The coin was produced first in San Francisco and then in Philadelphia.
Always popular as gifts or as jewelry pieces, the $2.50 Indian Head gold coins never saw a lot of circulation. However, many were melted after Roosevelt recalled gold coins in 1933. Thus, pre-1933 gold coins can be relatively rare, but many of the remaining ones are in better condition than if they had been circulated more.
Indian Head Design
The Indian Head design of the pre-1933 gold quarter eagles is incused, or engraved, rather than a bas-relief design, a difference from other American coins. On the obverse, is an image of a Native American man, wearing a headdress and facing left. Thirteen stars line each side of the image, with six on the left and seven on the right. Below lies the date, and above, the word “Liberty.” The designer’s initials – BLP – are engraved just above the date.
On the reverse, the coin features a standing eagle. The national bird stands on a bunch of arrows with an olive branch in its left talon. To the left of the arrowheads is a mint mark, if produced other than at the Philadelphia Mint. Inscriptions on the reverse include “United States of America,” E Pluribus Unum,” In God We Trust,” and the denomination, “2 ½ Dollars.”
$2.50 Indian Head Basic Facts Years: 1908-1915 and 1925-1929
Denomination: $2.50, aka quarter eagle
Weight: 4.18 grams
Gold content: 0.1209 troy ounces
Purity: .90 fine gold
Mints: San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia
Value of Indian Head Quarter Eagles
As with any collectible coin, determining the value of the $2.50 Indian Head gold coins involves evaluating the coin, its popularity, its rarity, its condition, and its precious metals content. The Indian Head quarter eagles have always been very popular.
As mentioned previously, because many gold coins were melted around 1933, the supply of these coins, especially lower mintage coins. In addition, many of the coins were produced in lower quantities from the start. Depending on the specific date, an Indian Head quarter eagle can be worth much more. As an example, a proof Indian Head quarter eagle sold at auction for $40,250 in 2008.
While there are very few proof coins left, even coins in circulated condition with a grade of Very Fine or better condition often sell for over a thousand dollars. The least such a coin would be worth would be the value of its precious metal content.
Of all the $2.50 Indian Head gold coins, there are 15 different varieties. The rarest of these varieties is the Weak D 1911-D since only 55,680 were minted rather than the hundreds of thousands minted in other years and mints.
Avoiding Counterfeit Indian Head Gold Coins
One of the most important lessons you can learn as a coin collector is that not every coin is what it appears to be. Unfortunately, there are some less than honest individuals that will attempt to pass off a replica or counterfeit as an authentic coin. In some cases, a coin is produced with the intent of fooling an unsuspecting or inexperienced coin collector, while at other times, it’s meant strictly as a novelty or souvenir piece. In either case, you do not want to pay for it what you would more reasonably pay for an authentic pre-1933 quarter eagle.
How can you tell? First, examine the coin carefully, comparing its size, weight, and inscriptions to an authentic $2.50 Indian Head gold coin. Be sure all the inscriptions match, with the possible exceptions of the year and mintmark. If everything looks good, you may still want to check with a gold coin dealer to be sure of what you have.
Where to Find or Sell Indian Head Quarter Eagles
Whether you are looking to buy or sell $2.50 Indian Head gold coins, consulting with a precious metals dealer is often your best first move.
A coin expert such as those at Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers can advise you on how to conduct your search for the coins you seek. In fact, they may have the coin you want already in their inventory. If not, they can add your coin to their list and contact members of their professional network to help you locate it. If you choose to buy from Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, we will provide transparent pricing so that you know exactly what is included in the final cost.
On the other hand, you may have gold $2.50 Indian Head gold coins you want to sell. If so, consider bringing your coin or coins to us for an evaluation. We can determine if the coin is authentic, determine its value, and possibly make you an offer to buy it from you.
When you rely on a reputable coin dealer with a strong network, you can more easily find coins and those who buy them. Soon, your collection will begin to shape up just as you want it to be. You can find and buy the pre-1933 gold coins you want most at competitive prices or sell your authentic gold quarter eagles at fair prices. Contact us to find out how we assist coin collectors like you!