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Pre-1933 US Gold Coins


Pre-33 US Gold Coins from Provident Metals

The US Mint was established in 1792 with the first coins being produced shortly after. From the time the US Mint was established until 1933, a number of different gold coins have been made. Featuring unique designs that are still popular with collectors and investors today, Pre-33 US Gold Coins are some of the most unique options available on the market. Learn more about this era of gold coinage below.

Gold Content of Pre-33 US Gold

From 1795 to 1833 all US Gold coins contained 91.67% of gold content. The remaining 8.33% was made up of either a silver/ copper alloy mixture or all copper. An issue arose when merchants who were exporting US gold coins were melting them down for their precious metal value, outside the US. As such, from 1834-1836 US gold coins contained only 89.92% of gold content. Finally, in 1837 the US Mint standard was set as all US Gold coins would contain 90% gold content. This lasted until 1933.

$20 US Double Eagles

A Pre-33 US Gold double eagle is a gold coin with a face value of $20 (USD). This coin was authorized by the Coinage Act of 1849 which officially named the eagle, half eagle, and quarter eagle, and ordered the creation of a double eagle.

The creation of this coin coincided with the California Gold Rush. In 1849, two proof coins were created. One was sent to the Smithsonian Institution with the other being presented to the Treasury Secretary, William H. Meredith.

From 1849-1933 the $20 Double Eagle had two main designs, the Liberty Head, and the Saint-Gaudens Walking Liberty.

  • Pre-33 $20 Liberty Double Eagle Gold Coin: The Liberty Head was used on the double eagle from 1849-to 1907. Both fields were designed by James B. Longacre. The obverse features a left-profile relief portrait of Lady Liberty donning the coronet crown with “Liberty” inscribed on it. 13 stars, representing the original colonies, surround the image. The reverse side showcases a heraldic eagle in front-facing relief holding a double ribbon, arrows, and an olive branch. A shield is also prominently featured on the chest of the eagle.

Notably, the reverse went through multiple alterations from 1849 to 1907. From 1849-1866 there was no motto displayed. From 1866-1876 the motto “In God We Trust” was added. From 1877-1907 “Twenty D.” was changed to “Twenty Dollars.”

  • $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle Coin: The design of Augustus Saint-Gaudens was used on double eagles from 1907-1933. President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to revitalize American coinage. He reached out to his friend, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to redesign gold coins for the US Mint. Despite his declining health and eventual death in 1907, Saint Gaudens still managed to create designs for the double eagle and the eagle.

Like the Pre-33 $20 Liberty Double Eagle Gold Coin, the reverse has gone under multiple alterations. The design features an eagle in flight flying to the left. Rays from the sun are seen coming up from the bottom. For the first year these coins had no motto displayed but “In God We Trust” was added in 1908.

$10 US Eagles

The eagle was a US Mint coin produced from 1795-1933. Originally, there were five base units of denominations for US coinage. The mil, cent, dime, dollar, and the eagle. The eagle was then used as the basis for other popular Pre-33 US Gold Coins such as the quarter eagle, half eagle, eagle, and double eagle.

The $10 US Eagle encapsulates several designs throughout its history. In total, three designs have been used on these coins.

  • Turban Head design: From 1795-1804 Robert Scot’s Liberty was used on the obverse. This featured a right-profile relief portrait of Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap. The reverse was originally a small eagle standing on a branch holding a wreath in its mouth. After just a few years though, the design was updated to a heraldic style eagle based on the Great Seal of the United States.
  • Pre-33 $10 Liberty Eagle Gold Coin: The Liberty head design was used from 1838-1907. Like most Pre-33 US Gold Coins, the Liberty design went under many alterations while it was used. However, the obverse always featured Liberty in left-profile relief donning the coronet crown. The reverse side showcases a heraldic eagle in front-facing relief clutching an olive branch and three arrows in its talons. A shield is displayed on its chest with identifying marks surrounding the design. Christian Gobrecht was the designer for both fields of the coin.
  • Pre-33 $10 Indian Eagle Gold Coin: The Indian head of Augustus Saint Gaudens was used from 1907-1933. Saint Gaudens was commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt to create unique designs for American coinage. In 1907, his Indian head design made its debut. The obverse featured a left-profile relief of Lady Liberty wearing an Indian feather headdress. The reverse displays an eagle standing on a bundle of arrows and an olive branch. After one year the motto “In God We Trust” was added alongside the eagle.

$5 US Half Eagles

The $5 US Half Eagle was a circulation coin produced from 1795 to 1929. Production was authorized under the Coinage Act of 1792. This act created the United States dollar, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the country.

Over the years this $5 US Half Eagle has gone through multiple design changes. The two most common and popular designs are the following:

  • Pre-33 $5 Liberty Half Eagle Gold Coin: This popular design was used from 1839-1908. The obverse features Christian Gobrecht’s Liberty head in left-profile relief with a coronet crown. In 1866, the reverse was altered to include the motto “In God We Trust.”
  • Pre-33 $5 Indian Half Eagle Gold Coin: This design was used from 1908-1929. Created by Bela Lyon Pratt, it features a Native American man wearing a headdress in left-profile relief. The reverse showcases an eagle perched on a bundle of arrows wrapped with an olive branch.

$2.50 US Quarter Eagles

Like the $5 US Half Eagle, the $2.50 US Quarter Eagle was a circulation coin struck from 1795 to 1929. Its name derives from the US Eagle Coin as its face value is a quarter of the $10 Eagle. It was authorized under the Coinage Act of 1792. The $2.50 US Quarter Eagle had several designs over the history of the coin program. However, the two most common and popular designs are the following:

  • Pre-33 $2.50 Liberty Quarter Eagle Gold Coin: Like the $5 Liberty Half Eagle, Christian Gobrecht’s design was featured on the obverse. It presents a left-profile image of Lady Liberty with a coronet crown. The reverse features a heraldic eagle design. Both design fields underwent alterations over the years.
  • Pre-33 $2.50 Indian Quarter Eagle Gold Coin: Like the $5 Indian Half Eagle, this design was used until 1929 and was created by Bela Lyon Pratt. A Native American man with a headdress is on the obverse while a standing eagle design is seen on the reverse.

Certified Pre-33 US Gold Coins

At Provident Metals we also offer an array of certified Pre-33 US Gold Coins. These coins have been meticulously graded by either the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation or the Professional Coin Grading Service.

Each coin grading provider uses the Sheldon Scale of 1-70. However, each grade is prefaced with a strike type. These include the following:

  • MS: Mint State. Identifies a coin struck in the same format as circulation issues and applies to coins graded between 60-70.
  • AU: About Uncirculated. AU prefaces coins graded between 59-50.
  • XF: Extremely Fine. XF prefaces coins graded between 40-49.
  • VF: Very Fine. VF prefaces coins graded between 20-39.

Buying Pre-33 US Gold at Provident Metals

Provident Metals has a wide selection of Pre-33 US Gold available to be purchased. For any questions about these coins, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-313-3315. Our team is also available through email or our online chat feature.