Types of Liberty Gold Coins

One of the most underappreciated series of gold coins in American numismatic history are the Liberty gold coins.

The Liberty gold series dominated U.S. gold coinage for 70 years and came to symbolize America’s growth from a fledgling nation to a world power. The coins of the Liberty gold series spanned the period from 1838 to 1908.

Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint—the overwhelming majority of Liberty gold coins were forever lost to attrition and meltings over the years. It has been estimated that fewer than 5% of the original mintage survive today.

The Liberty gold series is made up of four coins and is often referred to as the 4-piece Liberty set. The four coins represent the four major gold coin denominations: the $2.50 Quarter Eagle, the $5.00 Half Eagle, the $10 Eagle and the $20 Double Eagle.

The Liberty $2.50 Quarter Eagle gold piece

The Liberty $2.50 Quarter Eagle was minted from 1840 through 1907 at five mints: Philadelphia, Dahlonega, Charlotte, New Orleans and San Francisco. It contains .12094 ounces of gold and is 18 millimeters in diameter. It’s obverse is decorated by a bust of Lady Liberty placed above the date and surrounded by 13 stars (representing the original 13 U.S. states). The reverse features an American Eagle surrounded by the words "United States of America."

The Liberty $5 Half Eagle gold piece

The Liberty $5 Half Eagle was minted from 1839 until 1908, making it one of the longest mint runs of any coin in U.S. history. The Liberty Half Eagle was minted at all seven mints at some point: Philadelphia, Dahlonega, Charlotte, New Orleans, San Francisco, Denver and Carson City. This Half Eagle was actually minted in two varieties. The "No Motto" variety, which did not have the motto "In God We Trust" inscribed, was minted from 1839 to 1866. The "With Motto" variety, which included the motto "In God We Trust," was minted from 1866 until 1908. The obverse of this coin is decorated with a bust of Lady Liberty above the date and surrounded by 13 stars signifying the original states of the Union. The reverse has an eagle with olive branches and arrows in its talons in the center and the perimeter engraved with the words "United States of America Five D."

The Liberty $10 Eagle gold piece

The Liberty $10 Eagle was minted from 1838 until 1907 at five mints: Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Denver and Carson City. Like the Half Eagle, the Eagle was minted in two varieties. The "No Motto" variety, minted from 1838 through 1866, did not include the motto "In God We Trust" inscribed on the coin. The "With Motto" variety was minted from 1866 through 1907 and included the motto "In God We Trust" in its motif. Similar to the Quarter Eagle and Half Eagle, the Eagle’s obverse contains a bust of Lady Liberty above the year of mintage and surrounded by 13 stars symbolizing the 13 original states. The reverse is dominated by an eagle, its wings spread and olive branches and arrows clutched in its talons, symbols of peaceful intentions and preparation for war. The eagle on the reverse is surrounded by the words "United States of America Ten D."

The Liberty $20 Double Eagle gold piece

The Double Eagle gold piece was the largest regular-issue coin denomination in U.S. coinage. The initial Double Eagle design was the Liberty motif. This massive coin first appeared in 1849 and was minted through 1907. The Liberty Double Eagle was conceived and created due to the increased supply of gold resulting from the California Gold Rush. The Liberty Double Eagle was minted at five mints: Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Denver and Carson City. Its obverse is decorated with an impressive bust of Lady Liberty and the reverse is adorned with what is regarded as the most impressive eagles in all of U.S. coinage design.