The United States Mint began producing gold eagles $10 in 1795, according to the guidelines established in the Constitution for the creation of a United States coinage.
Production of the coins ceased in 1804 due to a shortage of gold and a perceived lack of need for the denomination. The 1804 eagle thus became one of the famous coins within the American gold coin series as the last issue for the type, and the last eagle struck for circulation for over 30 years. It is rare in all grades, with a mintage that is now considered to have been between 2,500 to 3,757 pieces. The estimated number of survivors is thought to be 80 to 100 pieces, all from one die pair, of which a considerable number have been damaged in one way or the other.
The two 1804 eagles displayed here are from the Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection and are normally on display at the ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs.
A twist was added to the story between 1834 and 1835, when restrikes of the 1804 gold eagles and silver dollars were minted by special order of President Andrew Jackson as diplomatic gifts to an Asian king, two emperors and a sultan. Since the last time that silver dollars or gold eagles had been produced was in 1804, the Mint created new dies for the coins and struck them as proofs.
There are four known 1804 proof eagle restrikes, which are easily distinguished from the regular issues because of their mirror fields, the difference in their reeding (the proofs were struck using a closed collar with different reed counts), and the lack of a serif in the "4" of the date. The proof restrikes of the 1804 eagle have been nicknamed the "King of Eagles."