In 1856, a newly durable gold dollar was released by the Mint. Dubbed “the Large Head type,” Longacre’s new design was very similar to that of the Small Head type, but the size of the Indian head on the obverse increased, while at the same time it became more flat. The headdress changed location as well, and the details of the face were slightly altered.

The new type was minted continuously at Philadelphia, but in certain years quantities were also produced at Charlotte, Dahlonega, and San Francisco.

In addition, proofs were minted at Philadelphia from 1859 on. The quantity of proofs minted each year ranges from an estimated 15 in 1856 to 1,779 in 1889. In total, the quantity of coins minted each year ranges from 420 in 1875 to 1,764,396 in 1856. Production of the gold dollar was discontinued in 1889, but the coin continued to circulate in some areas until the country abandoned the gold standard in the early 1930s.

Photos used with permission and courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries


Designer: James Barton Longacre
Mintage: All Years 5,327,443 Proofs – estimated 8700
Denomintion: $1.00
Diameter: ±14.3 millimeters
Metal content: Gold – 90% Copper – 10%
Weight: ±25.8 grains (±1.7 grams)
Varieties: Reeded


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