The US Mint produced the Indian Gold Dollar from 1854 to 1889. Two types of the coin exist that distinguish themselves by the size of the portrait on the obverse side. The coins were struck at the US Mint facilities in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Charlotte and Dahlonega. Their composition is 90% gold and 10% copper with each coin containing 0.04837 oz of gold. Almost 7 million Indian Gold Dollars were minted. Coins from certain years of production and/or mint facilities are now very rare and therefore valuable.
Chief Engraver James B. Longacre of the Philadelphia Mint designed both types of the Indian Gold Dollar. The coin's obverse side depicts Lady Liberty wearing a Native American headdress that has the word "LIBERTY" inscribed on it. Around the coin's periphery appears the inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA".
The design on the reverse side depicts an agricultural wreath of corn, cotton, wheat and tobacco tied with a bow. This selection of produce was made to include the popular agricultural crops of both the Northern and Southern United States. The coin's denomination “1 DOLLAR” and the year of mintage appears inside the wreath. Indian Gold Dollars that were minted in New Orleans (mint mark: O), San Francisco (mint mark: S), Charlotte (mint mark: C) or Dahlonega (mint mark: D) contain a mint mark just below the bow at the bottom. However, coins that were minted in Philadelphia don't have any mint mark.
|Gold Weight||Face Value||Diameter|
|0.04837 oz||1 Dollar||15 mm|
|Philadelphia||1854 - 1889|
|San Francisco||1856 - 1860, 1870|
|Charlotte||1855, 1857, 1859|
|Dahlonega||1855 - 1861|
The Indian Gold Dollar replaced the Liberty Gold Dollar in 1854. Compared with its predecessor, the Indian Gold Dollar is slightly thinner but has a larger diameter (enlarged from 13 mm to 15 mm). Chief Engraver James B. Longacre of the Philadelphia Mint created a new design for both sides of the altered coin that is now commonly referred to as the “Indian Princess”. In 1856, the design of the obverse side was changed again by enlarging the size of the Indian Princess image and lowering its relief. The previous high relief portrait had created problems with the striking of the date on the reverse side which led to the change. The mint in San Francisco only switched to the new design in 1857 though.
Even though production of the Indian Gold Dollar lasted from 1854 to 1889, only the US Mint facility in Philadelphia produced them every year during this period.
Annual mintage of $1 Indian Gold Dollars at the various US Mint branches varied between 400 coins (Philadelphia 1875) and 1,762,936 coins (Philadelphia 1856). Regarding the two existing types of the coin, a total of 1,633,426 Type 1 coins with the "small head" design were minted between 1854 and 1856 whereas 5,328,693 Type 2 coins with the larger head were minted between 1856 and 1889.
Proof coins were exclusively minted at the Philadelphia branch of the US Mint and confirmed proof mintage varied between 20 coins and 1,779 coins (1889). Definite proof mintage numbers for the years 1854 to 1858 are not totally certain. Proof mintage in the years 1884 - 1889 was far higher than in previous years and of other coins produced by the US Mint.
Click here to see a table with detailed mintage numbers.
The coins that were minted in San Francisco in 1856 (24.600 coins still with the smaller head design) and 1857 (10.000 coins) as well as in New Orleans in 1855 (55.000 coins with the smaller head design) are now rarities. The same is true for the coins minted in Charlotte in 1855 (9.803 coins with the smaller head design), 1857 (13.280 coins) and 1859 (5.235 coins). The coins minted in Dahlonega are rare as well for their entire length of production in the years 1855 (1.811 coins with the smaller head design), 1856 (1.460 coins), 1857 (3.533 coins), 1858 (3.477 coins), 1859 (4.952 coins), 1860 (1.566 coins) and 1861 (1.250 coins).