The $10 Indian Head Eagle gold coin, also know as the $10 Eagle, minted from 1907 to 1933, is considered to be one of the most beautiful gold coins produced by the U.S. Mint. Its production came about through the insistence of President Theodore Roosevelt. He did not like the current design on his Inaugural Medal that was designed by Charles E. Barber and George T. Morgan, nor other coins being produced by the mint at the time. As these men were the U.S. Mint Designers, they were a bit insulted by his attitude.
The President had some artistic friends who encouraged him to have it re-done. "I think our coinage is artistically of atrocious hideousness," President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in a note to Secretary of the Treasury Leslie Mortier Shaw on December 27, 1904, and then continues, "Would it be possible, without asking permission of Congress, to employ a man like Saint-Gaudens to give us a coinage that would have some beauty?"
President Roosevelt commissioned the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens for the task of coming up with a new design. Saint-Gaudens accepted this assignment, but was so terribly busy that he only had time to sketch out some rough ideas on a paper napkin while making the train trip from Washington. He had told President Roosevelt that he would need to have his associate, Adolf A. Weinman, to do most of the actual work on the design. Collectors today will probably know Weinman for his work on the Mercury dime and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar.
The design was altered a couple of times until it ended up being the one with Lady Liberty wearing an Indian feather head dress. This image was reportedly drawn from a figure of Nike or Victory from the General Sherman monument that stands in New Yorks Central Park. After more modifications of the design for reasons of minting problems, the $10 Indian Head Gold coin was finally released to the public. There were 239,406 of these that were put into circulation in the fall of 1907. They continued using this last design until the early part of 1908.
President Roosevelt strongly felt that using the words In God We Trust was blasphemous so they did not appear on these new coins at first. So there were 33,500 of these coins made in Philadelphia, and another 210,000 in Denver that did not have those words on them in 1907 and 1908. However, Congress was not happy with this decision and insisted that the words be put back on the coins. In 1908 they appeared to the left of the eagle on the back side of the $10 Indian Head Gold coin. The mintmarks for Denver (D) and San Francisco (S) appear to the left of the bundle of arrows the eagle is standing on. There is no mintmark for $10 Indian Head Eagles produced in Philadelphia.
$10 Indian Head Eagle 1907-1908
|1907 Wire Rim w/Periods||500|
|1907 Rounded Rim w/Periods Befor & After E PLURIBUS UNUM||50|
|1907 No Periods||239,406|
|1908 No Motto||33,500||210,000|
$10 Indian Head Eagle 1908-1933 Mintage
While there were regular issue coins that were made at all of the mints from 1908 to 1911, and then in 1914, only Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints made eagles in 1912, 1913 and 1915. They were made only in San Francisco in 1916 and 1920.
As far as collecting goes, there have been a few of both the 1930-S and the 1933 $10 Indian Head Gold coins that have shown up periodically. If you are looking for the best ones to add to your collection, you will want to search for the ones with 1909-D, 1911-D 1913-S and 1915-S. All of these coins are scarces, especially in mint state condition. So you are a lucky collector if you find any of them.
There are several price guides for the $10 Indian Head Eagle gold coin available but my favorite is at NumisMedia Fair Market Value Prices (opens in a new window).
Start here for history of $10 Indian Head Eagle gold coins.