The $5 Half Eagle US Gold Coin – a Coin Collector’s Must-Have by Azman Abdul Aziz

Collecting US coins is one hobby that has sparked interest among collection enthusiasts. And any collector who wishes for nothing more than an impressive arrangement of coins should no doubt include the $5 Half Eagle in it.

This $5 US gold coin is a must have for any ardent coin collector. It is one of the most popular items for coin collectors all over the country. The reason for this is that the Half Eagle was the very first golden coin ever struck by the US mint for circulation. It undeniably holds immense historical value that surpasses the value of its coin descendants.

The $5 Liberty Head Half Eagle, also called the $5 Coronet, enjoyed one of the longest reigns in US Coinage history with its circulation beginning in 1839 up until 1908. That is a 69-year circulation, considered a long run for any US gold coin. The Half Eagle was said to have been the “workhorse” of the US economy during that era.

In addition to its great historical worth, what makes the Half Eagle more important is that it stands to be the only coin in US history that was produced at all seven of the branch mints operating during its reign. These branch mints in particular are that of Philadelphia, Charlotte, San Francisco, Dahlonega, Carson City, Denver, and New Orleans.

The US Mint was authorized by Congress to coin this $5 Half Eagle on the 2nd of April, 1792. The very first design of the Half Eagle was termed the Capped Bust to the Right, Small eagle. And just like the Quarter Eagle, it also went through several changes in design and content throughout its existence and production.

In the obverse of the $5 Half Eagle is the inspiring and dominant feature of Lady Liberty, whose magnificent golden hair is adorned with a string of beads. The world ‘liberty’ is engraved on the coronet that sat at the top of her head. Encircling Liberty’s portrait are the date as well as a star that stood for each of the thirteen original colonies during that era.

On the reverse side of Lady Liberty is a proud bald eagle, labeled popularly as the ‘Heraldic Eagle’. Its wings are spread apart, and it is standing among olive branches, clinching three arrows in his talons. The Heraldic Eagle also has a shield with stars and stripes adorned on its chest. Surrounding the eagle are the words ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’, the mint mark and the denomination of the gold coin.

The original make-up which was designed by Robert Scot and held a weight of 8.75 grams, coupled with a gold purity of .9167 or less than one ounce. However during the year 1937, the $5 coin was struck from .900-fine gold.

One of the last and final designs of the $5 Half Eagle was done by Christian Golbrecht, assistant Engraver to his superior, William Kneass. His version was minted beginning in 1839 and lasted until 1908, when the $5 Indian Head gold coin was introduced.

A truly valuable and historical item, the $5 Half Eagle gold coin is a sure must-have for coin enthusiasts everywhere.

Azman Abdul Aziz runs the US Coins Collector site. Visit $5 Half Eagle page to see them in auctions.