thatcoinguy's Blog

16 Jul 2022

$2.50 Indian Head Gold Pieces

Coins-United States | thatcoinguy

The Indian Head $2.50 Gold Piece is a very interesting and unique coin. The designer was Bela Lyon Pratt, who was trained under Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Her design was used for the half eagle, or $5, as well. It is said to be the first US coin with an actual Native American as the model (earlier coins did not have real Native Americans on them, but rather Americans portrayed with Native American headdresses *cough, Indian Head Cent, cough*.

The design of the coin was the first US coin that was incuse, as well. This means that the design is actually sunk into the fields so the highest part of the coin is actually the fields. This interesting design makes the coin very difficult to grade, and it was the bane of the Summer Seminar Grading #1 course for a certain unnamed YN. 😉 The only part of the design (on some coins) that was raised higher than the fields was the mintmark (either Denver/San Francisco, and New Orleans for the half eagles).

There were 15 different mintmark combinations made, with 1911-D being the for and away key date of the series. There were only 55,680 1911-D quarter eagles made, which was the only year and mintmark combination with less than 100,000 made during the duration of the series. The semi-key 1914 is easy to come by with an above average strike, and nice original yellow gold color. They are rare in high mint states, however, and some experts say that in grades MS-66 and higher, they may be rarer than the key 1911-D. There are only three 1914 $2.50 Indians that are graded MS-66 and above, and four 1911-Ds in MS-66 and above holders.

Keep collecting,




Level 2

2.50 dollar coin? So cool! I've only ever seen even dollar coins! Cool coin and nice find!


Level 4

Good blog. Thanks.


Level 6

I don't think I would call the design a flaw. Incused is how it was made. I bought one just to have. They are unique for sure. Good job researching this baby. Thanks.


Level 5

Yeah, flaw was the wrong word. I think I might buy one for the same reason!


Level 3



Level 5

Good blog. It's a interesting coin I hope to get one day. Thanks.


Level 7

One of the great gold coins made. Thanks for the research and information!

Long Beard

Level 5

Hands down my personal favorite design of all U.S. coinage. The mentioned dates aside, these are surprising well within one's budget.

AC coin$

Level 6

Beautiful as they are, people still search for them, because they represent a great spot in American coinage history. Glad you brought such item to light thru your blog.


Level 5

You're right about mostly affordable! A lot of pre-'33 US gold in denominations lower than half eagle are usually surprising cheap and close to the spot price of gold.


Level 6

These are a unique and beautiful coin! Great design! Nice blog, well researched! ; )


Level 4

Great read! The series is unique! One of my favorite obverses minted.


Level 4

Wow. Was not aware that the mint had made “incuse” coins. And that this was done on gold coins, makes it all more interesting. Appreciate the history and rarity of this coin and series. Thanks for sharing.


Level 5

The shield cent is (partially) incuse as well!

We use cookies to provide users the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you agree to receive all cookies on money.org. You may disable cookies at any time using your internet browser configuration. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more about how we use cookies and to review our privacy policy, click here.