Five dollar and $2.50 Indian Head gold coins are among the most interesting pieces ever produced by the United States Mint. Their unique incuse design makes them highly sought-after by collectors across the globe.

Though Indian Heads contain gold, the coins are considered numismatic today because they were last minted in 1929. The gold coins were used as legal tender at the time they were issued.

Indian Head Gold Coin - Quick Facts and Brief History

Type Numismatic (Collectors)
Mintage U.S. Mint - $2.50 (1908-1915, 1925-1929), $5 (1908-1916, 1929)
Weights / Denominations $2.50 Indian Head - .12094 troy ounces, $5 Indian Head - .24187 troy ounces
Front Design Both Half Eagle and Quarter Eagle Indian Heads bear the same design. The front (obverse) features the head of a Native American man facing left, wearing a headdress. The designer's initials, BLP (Boston sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt) are found just above the date of mintage. The design is incuse — or sunken — a unique hallmark of the Indian Head.
Rear Design The reverse, also by Bela Lyon Pratt, features a Bald Eagle standing on arrows and clasping an olive branch in its left talon. The rear includes the mint mark to the left of the eagle, as well as the coin's face value and the words "In God We Trust." Like the front, the Indian Head's reverse design is sunken rather than raised. The only other gold coins known to have this incuse design are from Egypt's Fourth Dynasty.
Brief History The Indian Head is considered a contemporary of the St. Gaudens series (designed by famed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens). President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned St. Gaudens to design five coins. The sculptor was able to complete the eagle ($10 piece) and Double Eagle ($20 piece) before his untimely death in 1907. In April 1908, a friend of the president suggested an incuse design due to its high-relief effect and the fact that the Mint had experienced difficulty fitting required inscriptions on the original St. Gaudens design. The Indian Head design was developed by Boston sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt at the request of the President's friend. Both coins were produced until World War I and again in the 1920s. The production of all gold coins in the U.S. ceased in 1933 with President Franklin Roosevelt's now-infamous recall during the Great Depression.
Why Buy? Gold coins like the Indian Head Half and Quarter Dollars make great gifts. They're also highly collectible, thanks to limited quantities and their incuse design. If you'd like to own gold and a piece of history, the Indian Head is an affordable option.
Gold Bullion Content Quarter - .12094 troy ounces (3.76 grams), Half - .24187 troy ounces (7.52 grams)
Other Specifications

$5 Half Indian Head Gold Coin

  • Diameter = 21.6 mm (0.85 in.)
  • Composition = 90% gold, 10% copper
  • Gross Weight = 8.359 grams (0.269 troy ounces)
  • Reeded Edges

$2.50 Quarter Indian Head Gold Coin

  • Diameter = 18 mm (0.71 in.)
  • Composition = 90% gold, 10% copper
  • Gross Weight = 4.18 grams (0.134 troy ounces)
  • Reeded Edges

Boasting rare incuse designs, both Quarter and Half Indian Head Gold Coins are among the most prized coins on earth. Whether you’re a coin collector yourself — or know an avid enthusiast — Indian Heads are a valuable addition to any collection.

Many Indian Head gold coins are more than 100 years old, a testament to the durability of gold. Though purchased for different reasons than gold bullion coins like the American Gold Eagle, Indian Heads also have value based on their metal content.

To learn more about bullion and numismatic gold coins, visit our Knowledge Center and blog. If you’re interested in buying an Indian Head — or any gold coin — click over to our website for our latest inventory and listings.