Saint Gaudens Eagles

st Gaudens indian head eagle

The ten dollar Eagle coin represented a strange collaboration between Augustus St. Gaudens and Theodore Roosevelt. While St. Gaudens was the artist, it was Roosevel s interference with the design that led to the coins unusual appearance.

Like all US coins at the time, the obverse was to depict a head of liberty. When Roosevelt saw one of the designs (originally intended for the cent), Roosevelt made a suggestion: Couldn't you have just such a head but with the feather headdress? The existing US cent already featured a Caucasian version of liberty in a headdress.

Ironically, in 1909, two years after the introduction of the Indian Head Eagle, the Indian Cent's long term came to an end and was replaced with the Lincoln cent. As a result of Roosevelt's suggestion, St. Gaudens added the war bonnet to his Caucasian representation of liberty. Meanwhile the smaller gold coins: the quarter and half eagle had realistic American Indians as depicted by Bela Lyon Pratt and first minted in 1908.

The reverse of the coin featured a perched Eagle along with the denomination Ten Dollars, the words United States of America and E Pluribus Unum. It was based on Saint Gaudens design for Roosevelt's inaugural medal.

Like the double Eagle, Roosevelt and St. Gaudens cheerfully omitted the motto in God We Trust from the coin Roosevelt because he felt it degraded God to mention him on coinage while St. Gaudens did not want to clutter the design with excess words. Congress intervened to force the addition of In God We Trust. Versions with and without In God We Trust were produced in 1908.

 

below: The ten dollar eagle with the motto "In God we trust."

ten dollar eagle with motto

 

 

Mintmarks

Coins were produced in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The mintmarks D and S appear on the reverses of coins minted at the branch mints.

For information about collecting St. Gaudens eagles, go here.

St. Gaudens

St. Gaudens information

Teddy Roosevelt liked the design of the ten dollar eagle but made one radical suggestion: Add an Indian headdress.

How much do Saint Gaudens double eagles cost? Go to the Saint Gaudens auction page to find out.

Neither Augustus St. Gaudens nor Teddy Roosevelt wanted the words In God We Trust on the coins. Click on the link to find out why.

Saint Gaudens on this site