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The Once and Future King: A (Brief) History of Gold Coins in America

Proof US Gold Coins
By Ron DrzewuckiModern Coin Wholesale ….
hanker appreciated for its beauty, rarity and practicality, gold is the ultimate mint fabric. It ’ randomness true that even rarer metals can be made into bullion coins, and cheaper, more common substances make up our circulating coinage. But amber and alloy of amber have been there from the beginning and show no signs of going away .
In fact, gold coins have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts over the last 30 to 40 years–with late years witnessing a major rush in the precious metals market global.

A variety show of amber coin products have come out of the U.S. Mint during this “ rebirth ”. The U.S. has produced amber coinage from about the start of product in Philadelphia, and except for the “ prohibition ” era of 1933-1974 when private possession of gold was illegal, American gold coins have been an significant partially of the economy and the hobby .
so today, I wanted to offer a abbreviated overview of the history of gold coins in the United States .

Colonial Gold

The english colonies in America often faced coin shortages and therefore use many different kinds of commodity money in their dealings with the natives and each other. What kind of commodity was used differ according to area and local economy .
spanish-doubloon1798 placid, hard mint was frequently necessary, particularly when dealing with alien merchants. For this reason many foreign coins circulated as legal tender during the colonial period, and any history of aureate coins in America must at least mention this fact. Among the gold foreign coins in circulation at the time were english guineas, aureate ducats from international deal powerhouse the Netherlands, louis five hundred ’ ors from France, and, most excellently, the spanish amber doubloon .
All forms of foreign currency were finally demonetized in the United States by the Coinage Act of 1857. This happened for two reasons : it took that retentive for the Treasury Department to feel confident that american coinage needs were met or could be met by the Mint, and the depreciation of spanish and mexican silver. From this decimal point on, the only legal gold coins were the ones being produced in Philadelphia, Dahlonega, New Orleans, and San Francisco .

The First U.S. Gold Coins

The Coinage Act of 1792 was the first law to authorize the production of gold coins in the United States of America. specifically, it mandated the weight and honor of three new coins and denominations : the eagle ( $ 10 ), the half eagle ( $ 5 ), and the quarter eagle ( $ 2.50 ). The one-half eagle was first off the line in 1795, and the eagle followed later that year. quarter eagles were first issued in 1796 .
These denominations were still being issued angstrom late as 1933 ( more on that in a few ). Each one went through a series of purpose changes until they settled on the Liberty Head varieties of the victorian era. These types are increasingly popular with collectors today .

One, Three, Four

Gold $ 1 coins were first authorized in 1849. Consisting of only one dollar ’ s worth of aureate, these coins are the smallest always made by the United States. Coming along when they did, the first gear gold dollars feature the Liberty Head blueprint then in fashion. however, in 1854 Lady Liberty donned an “ amerind ” headdress and the two types of amerind Princess Head saw the denomination through until its end in 1889 .
The amerind Princess Head besides graced the obverse of the gold $ 3 piece .
Authorized by the Act of February 21, 1853, the three dollar coin besides came out in 1854. common wisdom holds it to have been an unpopular coin, and we only have theories as to why it was made. It fell extinct of general circulation in the early 1860s, though collectors appreciated and saved them ampere early on as the 1870s. The old-time denomination ceased output in 1889 as well .
Speaking of strange denominations, the four dollar gold stella is an intriguing radiation pattern coin. 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. NGC PR68 Ultra Cameo
stella is Latin for “ star topology ”, and, alternatively of an eagle, the turn back of a stella features precisely that : a five-pointed star. The theme behind it was to make a U.S. coin that could better compete with the assorted international denominations then current in the global economy .
( Aspirations of world power–economic and otherwise–were part of the american zeitgeist of the post-Civil War nineteenth century, and would shape our neologism well into the beginning half of the twentieth. )
If you ’ re not familiar with the term “ design coin ”, a practice is something like a proof-of-concept coin. It ’ s a patch that ’ randomness garnered adequate sake and governmental good will to get off the drawing circuit board, but not every form becomes an official product of the Mint. In order for that to happen, Congress needs to legislate them into universe .
stella patterns were struck in 1879 to lobby congress. Some were minted surreptitiously in 1880 for the collector friends of Mint officials. All of them are six- or seven-figure coins today .

authoritative Commemoratives

Starting in 1892 with the silver Columbian Expo half dollar, the United States began to issue not Intended for Circulation ( NIFC ) commemorative neologism. aureate coins were an periodic depart of the series, specially in the early years .
The beginning was the 1903 Louisiana Purchase Expo gold dollar. interestingly, one version has Jefferson ’ randomness head on the obverse, while another has recently-murdered President McKinley ’ second.

The adjacent class saw the release of the Lewis and Clark Centennial gold dollar .
The Panama-Pacific exhibition of 1915 was commemorated with three outstanding aureate pieces : the about social-realist Charles Keck gold dollar, the Barber / Morgan ( ! ) draw eagle, and the spectacular, words-fail-me-they ’ re-so-beautiful $ 50 gold coins–available in round and octangular versions. Designed by Robert Aitken, the coins hearken binding to Ancient Greek neologism ( including particular details like the dolphins on the obverse ) and have Athena and her owl .
A McKinley Memorial gold dollar followed in 1916, and a Grant Memorial aureate dollar came round in 1922 .
A gold quarter eagle ( $ 2.50 ) celebrated the hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. This was the last commemorative gold mint until the 1983 Los Angeles Olympiad gold eagle modern commemorative series .

The Progressive era

But let ’ s mistreat back a pair decades and catch up with the eagle family of coins .
In 1901, the progressive republican Theodore “ Teddy ” Roosevelt became president of the united states after William McKinley died at the hands of Leon Czolgosz. Roosevelt was a man of enormous energy, energy and vision, and this imagination identical much extended into the region of coins .
Inspired by America ’ s holocene victories on the world stage ( the Spanish-American War, among others ) and motivated by the same aspirations to international authority I mentioned earlier, Roosevelt set about designing a coinage worthy of a mighty nation newly coming into its enormousness. His plans were to change it all, but only the glorious new Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Bela Lyon Pratt designs came to fruition during his presidency .
1907_DoubleEagle Saint-Gaudens designed the amerind Head $ 10 eagle and Liberty $ 20 double eagle, while Pratt designed the indian Head $ 5 one-half and $ 2.50 quarter eagles. The Saint-Gaudens double over eagle is systematically called the most beautiful mint always made in America, and if you had to choose one mint to represent the integral mint collecting avocation, this is it. His indian Head eagle might feature a cross-dress Lady Liberty but it was identical influential ( I can ’ triiodothyronine help but think of a Peace dollar when I look at it ) .
Bela Lyon Pratt ’ randomness indian Head coins are unique in that they feature sink relief ( incuse ) designs carved into the coat of the coin. This time you get a far more authentic native american portrait, a drift which led to the Buffalo nickel of 1913 .
Pratt ’ second coins continued production until 1929, and the two Saints remained in circulation until 1933, when another Roosevelt ( Franklin Delano ) issued Executive Order 6102, which pulled gold from circulation and made private possession of gold illegal. The situation wouldn ’ t change until 1974, when the advocacy efforts of individuals like Grover Criswell and James Blanchard convinced Congress to reverse the order .

late Gold Coins

Which brings us to the stopping point 30 or 40 years .
By this time, the Mint has gotten used to the fact that a significant aftermarket ( read : collectors ) for its products exists and had even begun to realize that, quite possibly, it might be a good thing. To me, it sometimes seemed like the Mint was on the wrong side of history as it fought and contend and fought against every perceive threat to the circulation of coins in this country. thankfully, that has changed .
therefore the U.S. Mint was nowadays exempt to issue gold commemorative and NIFC coins with the sole purpose of taking advantage of the collector marketplace. There are a good number of modern commemorative gold coins, but I ’ ll go ahead and fast forward to the conclusion of 2014, one of the most active years for collector coins in Mint history .
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum commemorative $ 5 gold ( technically a half eagle ) was a huge reach, selling out in hours upon its free. The cup-shaped gold coin is a inaugural for the United States, but historically it alludes to ancient Byzantine scyphate coinage, a son I ’ ll never get tired of saying .

The future

There are many reasons to believe that the United States will continue to issue gold coins well into the foreseeable future. For one thing, aureate itself is not hot right immediately but there does appear to be a base demand. With the economy some say recovered from the Great Recession, some people continue to look to gold for peace of heed and at the same time they have more money to invest in such hedges .
For another, gold coins have always been respected and revered. From the inaugural electrum pieces that circulated in Asia Minor about 3,000 years ago, to the stage day, western Civilization has never stopped attributing value to the cute yellow metallic element. It ’ s not a stretch to extrapolate that drift ahead.

And while aureate bullion coins and commemoratives don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate actually go around, it ’ s in the Mint ’ south best interest to make collectors happy. aureate is one of the quickest ways to their hearts .

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