By James McCartney, Numismatist & Cataloger – Stack’s Bowers ……
The 1908 Motto Indian eagle is among the most popular of the series. It was the first Indian eagle to display IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse, despite President Roosevelt’s belief that the placement of such a motto was “in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege.” However, its absence on the Indian eagles minted in 1907 and early 1908 caused significant uproar from the religious community, and the motto was reinstated in May of 1908.
Designed by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (a close friend of President Roosevelt), the Indian eagle is absent a true Native American, but rather depicts on the obverse a regal portrait of Liberty adorned by a feathered “war bonnet”. The reverse draws heavy inspiration from the eagle and overall theme that graced the back of President Roosevelt’s second inaugural medal, designed by Saint-Gaudens and produced by Tiffany & Co.
Struck to a quantity of 341,370 pieces, examples of the 1908 Motto Indian eagle are somewhat available in Choice Mint State but are relatively scarce approaching Gem. The exceptional MS-64+ (PCGS) specimen to be offered in the Stack’s Bowers September 2017 Collectors Choice Online Auction is among the finer survivors of the mintage. It exhibits richly frosted devices and a delightful, smooth complexion. For type set collectors or gold specialists, the selected piece represents an ideal example of this popular transitional type.
Our September 2017 Collectors Choice Online Auction will be available for viewing and bidding online at www.StacksBowers.com. Also, download our mobile app to participate via your Android or Apple device. Contact us today at 1-800-458-4646 or email [email protected] for more information.