1916 Indian Head half eagles are $5 gold coins that were very popular as a denomination, especially in the “Old West.” Bela Lyon Pratt designed the Indian Head half eagle, which followed the Liberty Head half eagle that had debuted in 1839 and was last minted in 1908. Without a doubt, the Liberty Head half eagle was one of the longest-running coin series at the time, and the public was ready for a new design. However, there was some consternation over the incuse design of the Indian Head half eagle – and the similar Indian Head quarter eagle, which was also a Pratt design. The concern was that germs would collect in the recesses of the design, though this concern was unfounded.
Only one issue of the half eagle was made in 1916, and that was at the San Francisco mint, where 240,000 Indian Head $5 gold coins would be struck. They have an approximate value of $570 in a grade of Very Fine-30. Though the 1916 Indian Head half eagle is not particularly rare, it still is wise to only buy them from reputable coin dealers or simply purchase certified specimens.
1916 was the last year that Indian Head half eagles would be struck until 1929, which would wind up being the last year for this series.