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1908 Indian Head Gold Coin: A Symbol Of Innovation

When the Indian head gold coin was first minted no one quite knew that the history of American coinage was being given a complete face lift. With the introduction of the Indian head as a symbol of America’s unique history , a great and historic innovation was underway.

Under the encouragement given by her mentor and tutor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Bela Lyon Pratt designed the first quarter that was a complete departure from the coins minted in America. Skeptics were a little wary of how the new coins would be accepted.Besides she was also using a rather revolutionary design named ‘incuse.’

For more than 60 years,the American dollar had seen little innovation with the eagle and the insignia bearing the image of liberty wearing a coronet adorning every coin. With the singular agenda of giving American coins a symbolism of its ancient past ,President Theodore Roosevelt, who considered himself the great change -maker, infused new life and creativity into American coinage. With the minting of the $2.5 and $5 coins rave reviews followed. It was topped with the minting of one of the finest cons in American history , the $10 coin which is the pride in any collector’s coffer.

More About The 1908 Indian Head Gold Coins Beginning

The history behind the minting of the quarter and the half dollar go back to the times when Teddy Roosevelt met a certain art lover and physician from Boston by the name of William Sturgis Bigelow, whose love for eastern art forms , in particular ‘ bas relief ‘ from Egypt , came to influence the president’s taste in art. We find a reflection of this in what Bela Lyon Pratt ultimately created .

What resulted from this amalgam of styles was a masterpiece. While the Indian head in the double and the half eagle stands out as a symbol of culture and strength, its in the management of numerous other symbols within the coin that makes it aesthetically one of the finest. The delicately placed olive wreath at the foot of the eagle , a symbol of peace and preparedness is simply delightful. On the other side, not only does the placement of the country’s name but also the significant words ‘In God We Trust’, along with the denomination of the coin , fit in with great perfection without making the coin look cluttered.

Another interesting fact is that the eagle $10 coin did not carry the words ‘In God We trust’ as the President had asked it to be removed. It was only through a special act of Congress that the words were re-introduced , sometime by the middle of the year 1908. The Indian Head $10 gold coin was designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and its minting continued right up to 1933. Only some coins minted mainly in Denver and Philadelphia did not initially have the words, ‘In God We Trust’ , which was soon re instated . A little over 16 grams in weight, with 90% gold and 10% copper, these coins remain relics of American politics and its economic history , apart from being a hugely prized possession of collectors and numismatics enthusiasts.


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