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6 Most Valuable 5 Dollar Gold Coins & Their Worth

5 dollar gold coin value

If you are into coin collecting, you have probably heard about the super valuable 5-dollar gold coins, also known as the Half Eagle. In the coin-collecting community, these are known as the most special and sought-after coins for several reasons!

As you know, not many coins were made of gold. The first gold coins intended for circulation were minted at the end of the 18th through the 20th century. So let’s check out the most valuable 5 dollar gold coins that you definitely want to have and how they came about!

History and Categories of the 5 Dollar Gold Coins

When was the first 5-dollar gold coin minted? The 5 dollar gold coin, Half Eagle, was produced for circulation purposes from 1795 to 1929 and was the first gold coin produced by the US Mint.

The production of these coins was authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792, and three years later, we have the first specimens made of gold with a mintage date of 1795.

Considering the available minting equipment at the end of the 18th century, production was very slow, and the US mint could not produce the required quantities. However, it all changed at the beginning of the 19th century with the arrival of steam power, which significantly maximized and boosted production.

The Half Eagle 5 dollar gold coin has several categories, and the design and composition changed several times!

Turban Head

The first one is called Turban Head, and it was minted from 1795 to 1798 and designed by Keenan Barber Ganz. The coin is named “Turban Head” because it shows the image of Liberty facing left.

Due to the specific coin design depicting Liberty seemingly wearing a headpiece, the coins were named Turban Head.

Draped Bust

The second category is “Draped Bust,” minted from 1807 to 1812. This 5 dollar gold coin with the “Draped Bust” was the first to have the “5 D” denomination on the reverse.

Classic Head

The “Classic Head” design was created by William Kneass, while the reverse depicted the image of a modified eagle. The issue with t this type of 5 dollar gold coin was that it was worth more than its face value, and the US Mint proposed the reduction of gold used.

Eventually, the coin’s weight, diameter, and composition changed; the coin was made of an alloy of varying amounts of silver, gold, and copper.

Liberty Head

The new “Liberty Head” design was introduced in 1839 and the obverse features the image of Liberty Head, hence the name. The design on the reverse was kept with a minor correction; the denomination was switched from “5D” to “FIVE D.” Again, the weight and the composition were changed.

Indian Head

The final 5 dollar gold coin was minted in 1908, while Bela Lyon Pratt designed the coin’s obverse and reverse. Interestingly, the composition, weight, and diameter were not changed. However, the 1908 Indian Head 5-dollar coin featured a completely new design on the obverse and reverse.

6 Most Valuable 5 Dollar Gold Coins

1. 1822 Half Eagle Capped Bust

1822 Half Eagle Capped Bust
Image Credit: pcgs

The first on the list and the most valuable 5 dollar gold coin is the 1822 Half Eagle that belongs to the Capped or Draped Bust. This coin was created by William Kneass, as mentioned, and the coin’s obverse features the image of the Liberty’s bust facing left wearing a cap, hence the name of the coin.

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On Liberty’s head, we can see the “LIBERTY” inscription, almost like a headband, and the bust is encircled by 13 stars, representing the original colonies. The obverse is very detailed and depicts an image of an outstretched American eagle with an olive branch, arrows in his talons, and a shield.

Above the eagle is the American motto, “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” The “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is struck alongside the rim. The denomination “5D” is in the center of the lower rim.

So, what makes this coin so valuable? There are only three known specimens of this coin, and although the total mintage in the series was nearly 18,000, many of them just disappeared. The coin’s composition was changed for this series- the coin is made of an alloy of copper and gold.

What makes these coins interesting is that out of three existing pieces, two are curated as a part of the numismatic collection at the Smithsonian Institute and will never be available to purchase on the market.

The third specimen was sold in March 2021 at an auction for an astonishing $8.4 million. Finding the 1822 Half Eagle in any condition can be compared to finding the Holy Grail because of the abnormal scarcity that has been a years-long mystery for numismatists.

2. 1795 Turban Head Half Eagle

1795 Turban Head Half Eagle
Image Credit: usacoinbook

The 1795 Half Eagle is the first produced 5 dollar gold coin and has immense historical but also monetary value. The Little Eagle coin is well-known among coin collectors because of its rarity and high value.

All coins made of gold have a higher value due to their metal composition and the high value of gold. Therefore, regardless of the mint year, these coins are always sought-after and valuable. However, some 5 dollar gold coins such as the 1795 Half Eagle are extremely expensive.

The design was done by Robert Scot. The coin’s obverse features the image of Liberty facing tight and surrounded by 15 stars. The capitalized inscription “LIBERTY” is struck on Liberty’s right side, alongside the rim.

The reverse highlights the image of the American eagle, holding an olive branch in his talons and a Laurel wreath in his beak. The capitalized inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is struck alongside the rim.

Considering that this coin was produced more than 200 years ago, there are not many pieces available. According to the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the total mintage of the 1975 Half Eagle is 8,707, a very low number.

These coins were only struck in Philadelphia in 1975, meaning there are no varieties with different mint marks. The Philadelphia Mint did not place mint marks on the coins until the 1980s’.The melt value of the 1795 Half Eagle is $523, exceeding its face value.

In fine or good condition, this coin can be worth around $22,000, while in mint states, its value can go up to six figures. In MS 62, the price varies between $60,000 and $100,000. In MS 65, the price for the 1795 Half Eagle is around $200,000.

The highest amount paid for this coin was $1.6 million at an auction in 2019.

3. 1861-D Half Eagle

1861-D Half Eagle

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The 1986-D Half Eagle is among the most expensive and widely recognized 5 dollar gold coins. If you are a fan of “Pawn Stars,” the reality series, you must have seen this coin on the show but with the C mint mark. So, what makes the 1961- D Half Eagle special and expensive?

First, this coin, shrouded in mystery, was minted in Dahlonega (not Denver), which is why it has the “D” mint mark. The design was done by Christian Gobrecht; the obverse features the image of Liberty facing right, encircled 13 by stars.

The image’s depiction differs slightly from the previous series; she is shown wearing almost like a crown piece with the capitalized inscription “LIBERTY.” The obverse design remained the same with only one change- the denomination was changed from “5D” to “Five D.”

This coin was minted during the Civil War, so production was hindered in numerous ways. Also, Virginia was at the heart of the Confederation, which fought against the North or the Union, and only 1,597 coins were produced. As the war dragged on, their value skyrocketed.

Many of the 1861-D Half Eagles were lost or melted; given the low mintage number, not many survived to this date. Hence, they are very valuable and collectible in any condition. The rarest pieces are in mint states; the highest mint state reported is MS 63.

The 1861-D Half Eagle in AU 53 was sold for $60,000 in 2019 at the Heritage Auctions. However, some pieces at a higher grade were sold for less.

In MS 62, it can cost from $90,000 to $100,000. The specimen in MS 63 was sold for $330,000 in 2022, making it the auction record for this variety!

4. 1807 Capped Bust Half Eagle

1807 Capped Bust Half Eagle

The 1807 Half Eagle 5 dollar gold coin is one of the collector’s favorites! The design was done by the engraver John Reich. The obverse features the image of Liberty with her hair flowing and seemingly wearing a cap and a headband with a “LIBERTY” inscription.

The reverse features the image of an outstretched American eagle in the center, holding an olive branch and arrows in his talons. The eagle also holds a shield and is surrounded by the inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” alongside the rim. Above the eagle’s head is the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”

The mintage in Philadelphia was 51,605. Similarly to other coins on this list, many of these were also lost or melted, explaining why they are hard to find today, especially in good condition. These coins are sometimes called “the money of the Founding Fathers” because of the year mark.

In MS 60, the 1807 Capped Bust Half Eagle can be worth between $12,000 and $20,000. In MS 63, the price can go between $20,000 and $26,000. The most valuable is this piece in MS 65.

Such a specimen was sold in 2014 at an auction for a jaw-dropping $2.16 million, making it the highest amount paid for the Half Eagle coin. This coin also has innumerable historical value and is a great investment for many collectors if they can find one.

5. 1909-O Indian Head Half Eagle

1909-O Indian Head Half Eagle

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The 1909 Indian Head Half Eagle has one of the most fascinating designs and a gorgeous gold shine. It is absolutely one of the prettiest pieces in the history of American coinage, and it was designed by Bela Lyon Pratt.

The obverse features the image of Native America facing left and wearing a headdress. Around the image are struck 13 stars and the inscription “LIBERTY” alongside the rim. The mintage year is on the lower rim.

The reverse shows the eagle perched on a flat surface and holding arrows and an olive branch in his talons. Unlike the previous Half Eagles, this one has two American mottos struck on both sides of the eagle “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”

The 1909 O Indian Head Half Eagles were produced in New Orleans, where the total mintage number for this year was 34,200. This coin is regarded as the symbol of the rich and colorful history of the US. In addition, the year mark, 1909 is the last year of coin gold production at the New Orleans Mint.

Therefore, the 1909 O Indian Head Half Eagle is very rare and thus expensive. According to Professional Coin Grading Service, the 1909 O Indian Head Half Eagle in MS 60 is worth between $4,000 and $20,000.

The most attractive pieces are those in higher mint states such as MS 63;

The 1909 Indian Head Penny in this condition can cost up to $120,000. The auction record on PCGS is the astonishing $690,000 for the 1909 O Indian head Penny Half Eagle.

However, that is not the highest auction record generally; this coin was sold for $2 million at a private auction.

6. 1839 C Half Eagle

1839 C Half Eagle

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The 1839 C Half Eagle is also one of the most collectible and desirable Eagle coins on the market. They were produced in Charlotte; hence the “C” mint mark and the total mintage is 17,205. Considering that these coins were minted nearly two centuries ago, they are rare and hard to find.

The obverse and reverse design was done by Christian Gobrecht; it features the same design seen on the 1861 Half Eagle.

After all, these coins survived the Civil War, World War I, and World War II and it is expectable that the specimens that managed to see the dawn of the 21st century are not in a particularly good condition.

In other words, the 1839 C Half Eagle is expensive even in lower grades; for example, in good condition, it can cost around $1,800. As with other varieties and types of coin, the most valuable are the ones in mint states.

The 1839 C Half Eagle in MS 60 can be worth around $30,000, while in MS 63, it can reach $70,000. The auction record for the 1839 C Half Eagle in MS 64 is $336,000; the piece was sold in 2022 at the Stacks Bowers.

Interestingly, the 1839 Proof Half Eagle is also one of the most valuable in the series. The proof coins are generally always in demand, depending on the mintage number and availability of a certain coin in that condition. The auction record for the 1839 Proof Half Eagle is $199,000.

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