Small Head Indian Princess Gold Dollars

The Indian Princess Small Head gold dollar coins, produced from 1854 through 1856, were widely circulated, especially in the West. The first gold one dollar coins were minted in 1849 and featured an obverse portrait of Miss Liberty designed by James B. Longacre. In 1854, Longacre created a new design featuring Liberty as symbolized by the portrait of an Indian princess.

This type weighs 1.672 grams and contains a net weight of 0.04837 ounces of gold, just as the previous issue did. However, the diameter of the Indian Princess Head coin is 15 millimeters, which is two millimeters wider than the previous design. The coin was enlarged in part because many people complained that the small Liberty Head dollar was too easy to lose in purses, pocket holes, and other tricky places. Remember that one dollar represented a lot of money in the 1850s, so losing a gold dollar was a huge deal for many.