HomeUS CoinsGold Dollar, Type 2 (Indian Head) 1854-1856 | CoinWeek

Gold Dollar, Type 2 (Indian Head) 1854-1856 | CoinWeek

1855-O Gold Dollar. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1855-O Gold Dollar. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

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

Type 1 | Type 2 | Type 3

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In 1854, the United States Mint issued a redesigned gold dollar with an increased diameter of 15 millimeters. As planned, neither its weight nor its composition was changed.

Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre designed a new obverse for the coin based on his work with the Three-Dollar Gold coin. The head depicted on the obverse has commonly been described as an “Indian princess,” and this description has given the type its name. However, historians have suggested that the design is actually based on a Roman marble figure, to which an Indian headdress was added by Longacre. More specifically, it has been suggested that he based the design on a Crouching Venus statue on display in Philadelphia at the time.

In addition to the obverse, the reverse of the gold dollar was also modified somewhat, and the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA was moved to the obverse. The overall wreath design remained unchanged, however. In the few years of this type’s production, only six date and mintmark combinations were created: 1854, 1855, 1855-C, 1855-D, 1855-O, and 1856-S. The quantities minted in total each year were 783,943 in 1854; 824,883 in 1855; and 24,600 in 1856.

Although the diameter of the gold dollar had been considerably improved, the new Indian Head type was not free from problems. The height of the relief was such that very few of the coins produced were fully struck, and as a result the design was not sturdy enough for circulation. The Mint would have to redesign the gold dollar once again.

Extended Coverage of the Type 2 Gold Dollar on CoinWeek

So, You Decided to Collect Gold Dollars.

U.S. gold coin expert and Southern branch mint specialist Doug Winter offers some tips for collecting all three types of gold dollar, including the Type 2.

Doug discusses a particular example of the 1855-D Gold Dollar that he had recently sold.

1855-C Gold Dollars.

Doug also shares his thoughts on the 1855-C Gold Dollar, and why it might have dropped in value in recent years.

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Type 2 Gold Dollar Coin Specifications

Gold Dollar (Type 2)
Years Of Issue: 1854-56
Mintage (Business Strikes): High: 783,943 (1854); Low: 1,811 (1855-D)
Mintage (Proof): High: 12 (1855); Low: 5 (1854)
Alloy: 90% gold, 10% copper
Weight: 1.7 g
Diameter: 14.3 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: James Barton Longacre
REV Designer: James Barton Longacre


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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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