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$10 Indian Head Premium Recovers From 10-Year Low

As one of the most beautiful coins in US history, the Gold Indian Head (in $2.5 Indian Head; $5; $10 denominations) has also been one of the most controversial.

After all, imagine if the Mint announced that it would be coming out with a new coin: Lady Liberty with an Native headdress, a type of headdress no native ever wore.

There would be quite an uproar.

Luckily, the Indian Head Eagle was minted from 1907-1933. The obverse and reverse were designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, though Saint-Gaudens died from cancer before the coins were released.

Theodore Roosevelt liked the idea of having an Indian on a coin. As he wrote Saint-Gaudens, “I feel very strongly that on at least one coin we ought to have the Indian feather headdress. It is distinctly American, and very picturesque. Couldn’t you have just such a head as you have now, but with the feather headdress?”

Numismatic historian Walter Breen pointed out “the absurd addition of a feathered warbonnet, such as neither Ms. Liberty nor any Native American woman would ever have worn”.

Roosevelt was clearly interested in solely beautifying America’s coinage, and not necessarily accurately reflecting history.

As with most of the pre-1933 gold market, premiums are comparatively soft in relation to their historical value.

Whereas in 2003, the premium on a $10 Indian Head was nearly 70%. Today, the coin premium is around 30%.

This is because premiums on coins such as $10 Indian Head have yet to catch up with the tremendous bull market in gold.

The coin’s lowest premium was in  2012, when it was around 5%.  Clearly, it’s bounced back with gold prices sustaining range-bound levels.





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