2 Gold Dollars: James
B. Longacre designed the Indian Head, Small Head or Type
2 gold dollar. It had the same weight and fineness as the
Type 1 or Liberty Head dollar, but the diameter was increased
from 13 millimeters to 15 millimeters. It was minted from
1854 to 1856, when the Type 3 design supplanted it. The
Type 2 coins had striking problems because they were often
softly struck in the centers, so much so that the date on
uncirculated coins was at times unreadable. The branch mint
issues of 1855 are especially weakly struck with Full Details
coins being almost unavailable.
Longacre used the Indian Princess motif
for this issue. It shows a left facing Liberty in profile
wearing a stylized feathered headdress. LIBERTY is on the
headband, and her curls flow down to the truncation. UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA is at the periphery surrounding Liberty.
The reverse has an elaborate, closed wreath of corn, cotton,
maple, and tobacco tied with a bow and knot at the bottom.
Within the wreath is the denomination written as 1 DOLLAR
on two lines with the date below it. The mintmark is below
the bow knot.
To remedy the problem of the poorly struck
Indian Princess dollars, Longacre designed the Type 3 piece,
which is similar to the Type 2 but has lower relief; the
obverse head was moved so as not to be opposite a reverse
relief area. The Type 3 coin is also called the Large Head.