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HomeUS Coins1929 Indian Head Half Eagle : A Collector's Guide

1929 Indian Head Half Eagle : A Collector’s Guide

1929 Indian Head Half Eagle.
1929 Indian Head Half Eagle.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..

After a 14-year hiatus, the Philadelphia Mint struck 662,000 business-strike Indian Head half eagle gold coins in 1929. No Proofs were struck that year, meaning this is the only Philadelphia issue in the series without a corresponding Proof.

Although it was not apparent then, 1929 would also mark the final year of half eagle coin production. Few 1929 Indian Head half eagles were released into circulation, as the Treasury Department melted nearly all of the mintage following the 1933 gold recall. According to numismatist Walter Breen, no examples of the 1929 half eagle were known until an example appeared in a March 1944 auction. That coin sold for $225 USD.

Indian Head Half Eagle Series Combined MS65 Population. May 2024.
Image: CoinWeek.

NGC and PCGS combined have certified 21 coins at MS65. Of those, CAC has stickered 15. Duplication may account for this number, although we have no evidence that this is the case. The Childs-Simpson coin is the only coin to CAC at this level.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top Population: PCGS MS65 (14, 5/2024). NGC MS65 (7, 5/2024), and CAC MS65 (1:0 stickered:graded, 5/2024).

  • PCGS MS65 #2657893: Heritage Auctions, January 11, 2024, Lot 4358 – $81,000.
  • PCGS MS65 #2651193: Heritage Auctions, August 15, 2023, Lot 3215 – $78,000.
  • PCGS MS65 #18307683: “The Jim O’Neal Collection of $5 Indians”, Heritage Auctions, January 6, 2011, Lot 5156 – $86,250. Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 3233 – $90,000. O’Neal on insert.
  • PCGS MS65 #42549447: Heritage Auctions, July 13, 2021, Lot 3126 – $90,000. Hit on the chin, two diagonal hits in the field next to the chin, two diagonal hits near star 7.
  • PCGS MS65 #40556070: Heritage Auctions, February 24, 2021, Lot 3774 – $87,000.
  • PCGS MS65 #40353691: GreatCollections, October 4, 2020, Lot 889797 – View.
  • PCGS MS65 CAC #40323001: “The Walter H. Childs Collection,” Bowers and Merena, August 1999, Lot 772; As PCGS MS65 #5540311. Heritage Auctions, July 2005, Lot 10369 – $51,750. The Childs Collection on insert. As PCGS MS65 CAC #40323001. Heritage Auctions, September 17, 2020, Lot 10152 – $102,000. Simpson novelty insert. Childs-Simpson on insert. A diagonal rim ding extends from the eagle’s right leg. Two scratches to the eagle’s front leg. Hit below NI.

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The obverse is dominated by a left-facing, somewhat determined portrait of a Native American chief wearing a full-feathered war bonnet. LIBERTY is at the top, and the date is at the bottom. Six five-pointed stars are placed to the left along the coin edge and seven to the right. The designer’s initials, B.L.P., are located below the portrait and above the date.


The reverse displays a standing eagle facing to the left, perched upon a bundle of arrows with an entwined olive branch. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the words separated by centered dots, is at the top, and the denomination FIVE DOLLARS is at the bottom. E PLURIBUS UNUM, each word on a separate line, is to the left of the eagle; IN GOD WE TRUST, also with each word on a separate line, is to the right.

Indian Head half eagles were minted at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints. For the Denver and San Francisco issues, the D and S mint marks are located just to the left of the arrowheads. All design features except the mint marks are incuse, recessed below the field, with no design elements higher than that flat surface.

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1929
Denomination: Five Dollars (USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 662,000
Alloy: .900 Gold, .100 Copper
Weight: 8.359 g
Diameter: 21.60 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Bela Lyon Pratt
REV Designer: Bela Lyon Pratt
Quality: Business Strike


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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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