OverviewAuthorized April 2, 1792, the $5 Half Eagle, was the first gold coin authorized by the U.S. Congress. It is also the only coin in U.S. history to have been struck by all operating mints during its circulation.The $5 gold coin has gone through several design changes. The first was the “Capped Bust to Right, Small Eagle.” The longest-term design was the Liberty, or Coronet, design by Christian Golbrecht, minted from 1839 until 1908, when it was replaced by the $5 Indian gold coin.
DesignThe obverse (front) of the $5 Liberty gold coin is similar to the $2.50 and $20 Liberty gold coins, showing Lady Liberty with a tight bun of hair, decorated with beads. A coronet, inscribed “LIBERTY,” rests on her head. The issue date and 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies, circle her head.The reverse shows bald eagle spread wings, standing among olive branches. The eagle clutches three arrows in his talons and has a shield with stars and stripes over his chest. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” the denomination, and the mint mark surround the eagle. Coins minted from 1839-1866 do not have “IN GOD WE TRUST.”In 1866, the motto was added on a ribbon over the eagle.
MintingThe Philadelphia Mint produced the $5 Liberty gold coins throughout its circulation years. The $5 Liberty was also minted in San Francisco, Charlotte, Dahlonega and New Orleans. After the motto was added, these coins were minted in Carson City, then at the Denver Mint from 1906-1907.