In 1909, the Indian Head half eagle $5 gold coin was in its second year of production, and was widely popular with the public, to mention numismatists. The Indian Head half eagle, which was designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, replaced the Liberty Head half eagle that had run from 1839 to 1908 – one of the longest running U.S. coin designs at that time. It’s interesting to note that Indian Head half eagles are one of just two U.S. coins ever made that feature an incuse design – meaning the design elements are minted into the coin rather than standing above the surface of the coin, like most other pieces. The only other U.S. coin to feature an incuse design is the Indian Head $2.50 quarter eagle.
Indian Head half eagle gold coins weigh in at 8.359 grams, and they are made from a composition that’s 90 percent gold and 10 percent copper. They are made with a reeded edge and at 21.6 millimeters wide have a diameter that’s just a tad larger than a modern-day nickel.
Here’s a rundown of the 1909 Indian Head eagles and their approximate values:
1909; 627,060 minted, $475
1909-D; 3,423,560, $475
1909-O; 34,200; $4,500
1909-S; 297,200; $570
1909 proof; 78, $9,500
*Prices are for coins grading Very Fine-30, unless otherwise noted.
Prices for most 1909 Indian Head eagles are about on par with baseline prices for other common half eagles, except for the rare 1909-O issue. Very few were minted, and many of those that were met a fate of being melted. Those that remain are high in demand. Beware of fake 1909-O half eagles, and only buy pieces that have been certified by a third-party coin grading company.