LIBERTY HEAD GOLD
EAGLE - MOTTO ON REVERSE - (1866-1907)
Head Eagle, Motto Added 1866-1907
- In 1804 President Thomas Jefferson stopped the mintage of
eagles. Because its melt value exceeded its monetary value,
there was excessive melting of theses coins. Over thirty years
later, the standard weight and fineness for gold coins was
went from 270 grains to 258 and fineness from 91.67% to 90%
gold. In 1838 Mint Director Patterson told Engraver Gobrecht
to prepare new dies for the eagle. The Type 2 Liberty Head
Eagle, Motto Added was created when the motto IN GOD WE TRUST
was added to a banner designed by James B. Longacre above
the eagle in 1866. The change was made in response to pressure
organized by the Reverend M.R. Watkinson. The motto remained
until 1907, when President Theodore Roosevelt told Augustus
Saint-Gaudens to omit it on the newly designed eagle.
Mintages remained small from
1866 to 1878. Some of the most famous rarities of the Liberty
Head Eagle, Motto Added series were made at Philadelphia in
1871-1873 and 1875-1877 and at Carson City in 1870 and 1873.
The Philadelphia rarities are a result of the banks’
failure to resume specie payments in gold or silver or even
in federal paper. The Carson City rarities were produced because
of official orders that limited the mintages, which was then
used as an excuse to close the branch Mint. Most of the business
strikes of the Liberty Head Eagle, Motto Added of these years
were melted. About 30 to 60 percent of the proof coinage of
these years survived. Proof mintages for the Liberty Head
Eagle, Motto Added series range from 1 to 120, which indicated
that all proof coins are rare, and many are prohibitively
rare in any condition.
Sets in uncirculated condition
for this period cannot be assembled because for many of the
dates there are no mint state survivors. Mintages increased
after the Specie Resumption Act of 1878, and mintage increased.
Today, when a collector is interested in Liberty Head eagles
of common date eagles, it is understood to mean Philadelphia
or San Francisco mint coins of 1880 to 1907.
Minute differences in the date or position of the mintmark
account for varieties in the Liberty Head Eagle, Motto Added
series. There are overdates in 1879, 1899, and 1906-D; and
repunched mintmark is noted for 1889-S.
Low mintage coin; only 85 to 90 are known in all grades;
usually seen in XF to AU condition; only 3 have been
certified Mint State, the highest of which is a single
MS61 example. About 10 proofs known.
mintage; approximately 70 known; rare in all grades;
usually found in circulated condition with heavy bag
marks and soft obverse centers; none have been certified
Mint State; the finest known are 3 in AU58.
date with thousands certified Mint State; sometimes
seen in prooflike condition; rare above MS64 with only
3 certified Mint State, the finest of which is a single
MS69 example. About 13 proofs known.
common in grades up to MS64; scarce in Gem condition;
the finest certified is a single MS69, one of two Liberty
Head eagles to earn this grade. Sometimes seen with
prooflike surfaces. About 50-55 proofs known.