5 Interesting Facts About Five Dollar Gold Coins

American gold coins had been one of the most common means of payment in the emerging financial markets throughout the 19th century and during the California gold Rush era. They were much more durable than paper money and were able to survive rough conditions and heavy circulation. High gold content added to their value and attraction making them one of the most essential building blocks of early American Economy.

Five dollar gold coins were one of first ones ever produced by the US Government and are currently considered one of the rarest and most desired additions to any numismatic collection. Let’s take a look at five most interesting facts about their history.

1. Five dollar gold coins or Half Eagles were minted in several varieties from 1795 through 1929. The initial Turban Head design featured Liberty wearing a cap-like headpiece facing to the right (quite opposite from the Liberty Head design facing left) on the obverse and Eagle holding a wreath in its beak on the reverse side. The Turban head design was later followed by a Draped Bust Liberty which was the first variation to be marked with a $5 denomination. For the short period from 1834 to 1839 Classic Head design was introduced but was quickly modified again in 1839 to one of the all time favorite and iconic Liberty Head designs with a coronet being placed on Liberty’s head and alternating the Eagle image as well. Starting with the Liberty Head five dollar gold coins the purity of gold was changed to become 90% gold to 10% silver composition. Indian Head design was the last variation of the Half Eagles introduced in 1908 taking the center stage for many years and become among the most popular pre-1933 gold coins.

2. Some five dollar gold coins feature a unique design of cutting various images into the surface of the coins, unlike all other gold dollar coins that showcase bas-relief imaging with its characteristic raised pattern. Surprisingly, the sunken design was not popular at the time due to strong beliefs that indentations could become breeding ground for bacteria and spread illnesses.

3. American five dollar gold coins became incredibly popular due to their high gold content among European entrepreneurs in the 1800’s that enabled them to resell them at a profit in many European countries where silver to gold mintage ratio was slightly lower. This was, however, stopped by the US Government in 1834 by establishing a new coin weight standard that made this “buy to melt” practice no longer profitable.

4. The mintage of $5 coins was stopped in 1929. Most of these were damaged by heavy circulation or melted down during Great Depression historical period. Further 1933 Presidential Gold Confiscation Act required all owners of gold coins and certificates to turn them in.

5. Today five dollar gold coins and their later counterparts $20 gold coins in lightly circulated condition are highly coveted collector coins that sell at times much more than their bullion value. Today you can even find gold jewelry in forms of pendants and rings that have $5 Half Eagles fitted into them.

Today collectors have a wide array of American gold coins to choose from including American Eagle gold proof coins which could become a great addition to not only your gold coin collection but to a recession proof investment. These coins are collector version of the official bullion coin of the US, American Eagle gold coins.