1894-P Gold U.S. $10 Liberty Head Eagle
16.72 g 0.90 gold, 27 mm
Designer: Christian Gobrecht
1894 Liberty Head $10 gold eagles were made in large numbers, especially at the case of the Philadelphia mint (no mint mark), where more than 2.4 million of these coins were struck. Only the 1881 P (3,877,260) and 1901 S (2,812,750) had larger runs. Six other editions, over the eagle’s lifetime from 1838-1907 at four mints, had circulations of over 1 million.
Minted from 1838-1866 with no motto, the carnage of the Civil War and the terrible upheaval that followed found the population of the country in a religious and philosophical mood. A desire to nationally express this feeling led to the addition of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to U.S. coins. First used on the two-cent piece of 1864, the motto was added to the Coronet eagle in 1866, inscribed on a ribbon over the eagle’s head, where it sat through the termination of its run in 1907. In 1907, the Coronet Head design was replaced by the Teddy Roosevelt inspired and Augustus Saint-Gaudens created Indian Head motif. It would be minted until the end of U.S. gold coinage in 1933.
President Franklin Roosevelt required Americans to turn in their gold coins (1933) to be melted into bars to help combat the Great Depression, these “full eagle” coins, previously popular and common currency, are scarcer than their circulation might suggest. Private gold ownership was not fully legal again until December 31, 1974.
The design of the Gold Liberty Eagle was inspired from two sources: the 1816 Coronet-type Large Cent for the obverse and the American eagle for the reverse. The obverse features Lady Liberty encircled by 13 small stars with the date below. The reverse shows a bald eagle clutching three arrows and an olive branch in its talons.