Designed by Christian Gobrecht, the $10 Liberty Head was produced continuously from 1838 to 1907 with each coin containing just under a ½ ounce of gold.
The obverse design features an idealized bust image of Lady Liberty facing left wearing a coronet with “LIBERTY” inscribed. Above the bust design are 13 stars to represent the original states or colonies.
The reverse features an eagle holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other. On the outer periphery above the eagle is the legend "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and just below the eagle design is the denomination "TEN D." A mint mark for New Orleans (O), San Francisco (S), Carson City (CC), or Denver (D) is located at the bottom of the design below the eagle's claws. Coins minted at the Philadelphia Mint carried no mint marks.
Though there are many small die varieties the series has only two major varieties referred to as "No Motto" and "With Motto".
Variety 1 No Motto - issued from 1838 to 1866
Variety 2 With Motto - from 1866 to 1873 the reverse design was modified by adding a banner above the eagle with the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST".
|Variety 1||Variety 2|
General Market Notes
The keys to the series are 1870-CC, 1875, and 1879-CC issues. The semi-keys are the 1858, 1859-O, 1863, 1864-S, 1872-CC, 1873, 1873-CC, 1878-CC, and 1883-O issues.
For the value investor the 1888-O issue with a mintage of 21,335 carries a price tag only slightly higher than that of more common issues. If you have quite a few thousand to spend be sure to look for the 1877 issue, with a mintage of only 797 it is almost half the price of other coins with similar mintages (like the 1873 or 1876 issues).
Due to the high valuations of these coins it is not uncommon to discover altered or counterfeit coins. It is highly recommended NOT to purchase a raw specimen but a certified coin from a reputable seller.