The US Mint produced the $5 Liberty Gold Half Eagles from 1839 to 1908. The coins were struck at the US Mint facilities in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Carson City, Charlotte, Dahlonega and Denver making them the only US coins that were produced at 7 different mint facilities. Their composition is 90% gold and 10% copper with each coin containing 0.24187 oz of gold. Close to 61 million Liberty Gold Half Eagles were minted. However, only a tiny amount were minted in proof condition at the Philadelphia facility. Coins from certain years of production and/or mint facilities are now very rare and therefore valuable.
The obverse side of the $5 Liberty Gold Half Eagles depicts a leftward facing Lady Liberty in profile in the style of Greco-Roman sculptures. She wears a pearl crown that has "Liberty" inscribed on it. Thirteen stars appear along the outer edge of the coin, representing the 13 original colonies of the United States of America. The year of mintage is inscribed underneath Lady Liberty's portrait.
The motif on the reverse side of the $5 Liberty Gold Half Eagles is derived from the Great Seal of the United States. It shows an eagle with a shield holding an olive branch and arrows. The motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" appears on a banner above the eagle on coins minted from 1866 onwards. The coin's $5 face value (FIVE D.) and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” are engraved along the coin's edge. Liberty Gold Half Eagles that were minted in New Orleans (mint mark: O), San Francisco (mint mark: S), Carson City (mint mark: CC), Denver (mint mark: D), Charlotte (mint mark: C) or Dahlonega (mint mark: D until 1861) contain a mint mark just above the face value and underneath the eagle's claws. However, coins that were minted in Philadelphia don't have any mint mark.
|Gold Weight||Face Value||Diameter|
|0.24187 oz||5 Dollars||22.5mm (1839-1840);
|Philadelphia||1839 - 1908|
|New Orleans||1840 - 1847, 1851,
1854 - 1857, 1892 - 1894
|San Francisco||1854 - 1888, 1892 - 1906|
|Carson City||1870 - 1884, 1890 - 1893|
|Charlotte||1839 - 1844, 1846 - 1861|
|Dahlonega||1839 - 1861|
|Denver||1906 - 1907|
The $5 Liberty Gold Half Eagles were minted from 1839 to 1908. The Liberty Head design that was created by the US Mint's engraver Christian Gobrecht appears on many other gold coins that were minted during this period.
In 1866, the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" was added to the reverse side of the coin. The $5 Liberty Gold Eagle coins therefore exist with (1866 - 1908) and without motto (1839 - 1866).
The coins were at first produced with a diameter of 22.5 mm, but in 1840 that was changed to 21.6 mm.
Even though production of the $5 Liberty Gold Half Eagles lasted from 1839 to 1908, only the US Mint in Philadelphia produced them every year during this period (albeit only as proofs in 1887).
In 1908, the $5 Indian Head Gold Half Eagles replaced the $5 Liberty Gold Half Eagles.
Annual mintage of $5 Liberty Gold Half Eagles at the various US Mint branches varied between 50 coins (New Orleans 1841) and 5,708,760 coins (Philadelphia 1881). Proof coins were exclusively minted at the Philadelphia branch of the US Mint and proof mintage varied between 20 coins and 230 coins (1900). Actual proof mintage for the years 1839 to 1858 is unknown but can be presumed to have been extremely limited.
Click here to see a table with detailed mintage numbers.
Especially hard to find are the coins that were minted in Carson City in 1870 (mintage of 7.675 coins), 1873 (7.416 coins) and 1878 (9.054 coins).
The coins minted in Philadelphia are hard to find for the year 1875 (200 coins). Proof coins are even rarer to find if at all possible. Proof mintages never exceeded a maximum of 230 pieces per year. In 1887, the mint in Philadelphia only produced 87 proof coins and no 'regular' coins.
The coins minted in San Francisco are rare for 1854 (268 coins) and 1864 (3.888 coins) and the coins minted in Dahlonega are rare for 1861 (1.597 coins).
Of the 50 coins that were minted in New Orleans in 1841, none are known to exist today.
Coins that were minted in San Francisco in 1866 exist both with and without the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST".