The Indian Head $2.50 quarter eagle was designed by Bela Lyon Pratt in 1908 and replaced the Liberty Head quarter eagle that had been in production since 1840. The Indian Head quarter eagle features a left-facing Indian wearing a headdress on the obverse and a standing eagle on the reverse. Perhaps the most striking visual feature of the Indian Head quarter eagle isn’t necessarily the incredible artistry of the design per se but, rather, the fact that the entire design is sunken into the coin. The Indian Head quarter eagle, along with the Indian Head half eagle from the same period have incuse designs and are the only two United States coins struck so far to have such a feature.
Here’s a rundown on mintage and value data for the 1908 Indian Head $2.50 quarter eagle:
1908, 584,821 minted; $280
1908 proof, 236; $5,000
*Values are for coins in a grade of Very Fine 30, unless otherwise noted.
When the Indian Head quarter eagle was first released, the coin was panned for its incuse design, which many people falsely believed would harbor bacteria. The coin’s design from the artistic standpoint was also disregarded by many numismatists, and therefore relatively few specimens of these coins were saved in the upper grades.