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It was 1907, the year of the Chicago plan. The RMS Lusitania took its maiden voyage, Ellis Island had its busiest year yet and there was a new coin on the block – the $10 Indian Gold Eagle. These Indian Gold Eagles were produced every year between 1907 and 1916, then haphazardly until 1933. Your coin will be from a random year of issue, but you can be certain it will be in BU or extremely fine condition.
A breath of fresh air was sweeping through early 20th Century design, and it’s reflected here in this coin, the $10 Indian Gold Eagle BU. Old conventions were being discarded and turned on their head, replaced with designs that were more pared down and streamlined. From the skyscrapers of New York City to the great ocean liners, something new was taking shape and coin design was not immune. Roosevelt and Saint-Gaudens may have taken inspiration from coins of the ancient world and incorporated the mandatory elements of American coinage, but out of these conventions, they conjured up something fresh and new, trailblazing even.
The $10 Indian Gold Eagle features a distinctive portrayal of Lady Liberty on the obverse side, sporting a feathered war bonnet emblazoned with the word LIBERTY. Roosevelt felt that the Indian headdress was “distinctly American and very picturesque,” hence a fitting emblem for the design. It was a decision that caused outrage amongst commentators of the time for being “absurd,” fantastical and historically inaccurate – yet what mythical figures are historically accurate?
Perhaps what this debate really indicates is the degree to which this coin’s design achieved something truly innovative that broke away from what had gone before it. What groundbreaking design hasn’t faced contemporary criticism? For the $10 Indian Gold Eagle is quite unlike any previous American coin; it’s a sleek, stylized coin, from the streamline modeling of Liberty to the crisp typography.
The reverse design features a standing eagle redolent of those shown on coins of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. Here the eagle is shown standing on arrows and an olive branch, representing that America is a peace loving country, but one prepared to defend itself. Curving around the top of the design is the country of issue, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. To the right of the Eagle is the phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM, taken from the great seal of the United States, meaning “Out of many, one.” Below the standing eagle is the value of TEN DOLLARS.
The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” can be seen to the left of the eagle on most coins. However, it was not integrated into the design until 1908 – so some examples exist without it. It has been suggested that Roosevelt felt it was improper to invoke God’s name on coinage. However, following a public outcry, Congress insisted that the motto was included, passing a bill to that effect. The design of this Gold Eagle is completed with raised stars around the edge of the coin, again a departure for coinage, which usually embraces a lettered or reeded edge.
These stylish early 20th Century coins were struck with a weight of 16.7200 grams, a diameter of 27mm and wrought from 0.900 fine gold, composed of 90 percent gold and 10 percent copper. The production of these beautiful coins was halted when another Roosevelt, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed Executive Order 1602, forbidding the hoarding of gold coins. Today, no one is quite sure how many of these precious coins exist, so a $10 Indian Gold Eagle from a random year in BU condition represents a piece of history and a steadfast investment. Collecting $10 Indian Gold Eagles can prove a challenge, so grab this example from a random year whilst you still can – and who knows who’ll have held it first? A piece of history to place in your pocket, make one yours today.
Overview of the Common Date $10 Indian Gold Eagle BU
? U.S. Mint
? Year of issue: random year
? BU condition
? Metal: gold
? Fineness: 0.900
? 90% gold, 10% copper
? Weight: 16.7200g
? Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
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