The first one-dollar gold coin was issued in 1849, more than half a century after the Coinage Act of 1792 but just one year after gold was discovered in California. James B. Longacre designed the coins, which were issued in three Types between 1849 and 1856. Coins in the first Type were just 12.7 mm in diameter, smaller than a contemporary dime. The coin’s size was increased to 14.3 mm in 1854.

The original Type 1 gold dollar featured a Liberty Head on one side and a wreath on the other. The most common Liberty Heads at that time were those minted in Philadelphia from 1851 to 1853, when almost 10 million coins were struck at that mint alone (some 12 million Type 1 coins were produced overall). But between 1859 and 1861, 8 million Liberty Heads were melted down so that the government could make other gold coins, which means that within a single decade, two-thirds of all Type 1 coins were lost.

Of the Liberty Heads, the rarest of the rare is undoubtedly the 1849C ("C" designates the mint in Charlotte, North Carolina) whose wreath on the coin’s reverse side is open at the top. The most counterfeited Liberty Heads are those purporting to have been minted in Philadelphia in 1853.

In 1854, a larger, so-called Indian Princess Head dollar was introduced (as it turns out, the portrait is probably not of an Indian Princess, but the name stuck). The first of these, minted from 1854 to 1856, are known as Type 2 and are usually referred to as Small Indian Princess Heads to differentiate them from the Type 3 Indian Princess Heads struck between 1856 and 1889. Coins in this latter group featured a larger head on the coin’s obverse, or front. All Type 2 coins are rare since they were only minted for three years in relatively low numbers.

Type 3 coins feature a very similar portrait on the front as the one on Type 2 coins, but it was enlarged and flattened to make the coin easier to strike. Of particular interest to collectors are the 1861 one-dollar gold coins minted in Dahlonega, Georgia. These were actually issued by the Confederacy after the Mint was seized. There is no accurate record of the number of coins struck, but some estimates put the number at as few as 1,250.

In addition to watching out for fakes (1853, 1854, 1855, and 1868 are the most commonly counterfeited years), gold-dollar coin collectors need to watch for evidence that a coin was used in jewelry. For a while, this was an especially popular practice with the original Liberty Heads. Look for solder marks, which dramatically decrease a coin’s value.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Legendary Coins and Currency

Legendary Coins and Currency

This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is a great way to get an overview… [read review or visit site]

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Home to the Society of U.S. Pattern collectors, this well-organized site provides in-depth information on pattern c… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1856 "slanted 5" Gold Liberty Head $1 Dollar. Near Gem Bu1852 G$1 Type 1 Gold One Dollar Liberty Coronet, Higher Grade, Nice Type CoinUsa America 1856 One Dollar Gold Pcgs Ms 64 Slanted 51861 $1 Type 3 Ngc Ms641851 One Dollar Gold Coin Xf Cleaned With Loop1874 Coronet Head Gold Dollar Gem Bu1855 $1 Gold Liberty Type 2 Slight Damage No ReserveUs 1852 $1 One Dollar Gold Coin Vf/xf 1887 Indian Princess Gold Dollar Choice Proof Very Rare! Only 1,043 Minted!1856 Gold Dollar, Type 3, Vf Details, Hole, True Auction1857-c Indian Princess Gold Dollar Near Choice Uncirculated Very Rare!1854 One Dollar Gold Coin Type 1 Xf Cleaned 1857 $1 Liberty Head Gold Coin1851 $1 Gold Liberty Type 1 No ReservePair 1851 $1 Liberty Gold Dollar Lapel Lingerie Pins 90% Gold Us Type Coins1855 G$1 Gold Dollar Pcgs Au55 Nice1856 $1 Liberty Head Gold Coin1850 U.s. $1 Gold Liberty Coin One Dollar Type 1 - Great Condition! 1853 Liberty Gold One Dollar1855 Indian Princess Gold Dollar Near Choice Uncirculated Rare This Nice!1854 $1 Indian Head Gold Type 2 Ngc Au 58 Nr1858 Coronet Head Gold Dollar High Grade++1889 Us United States Type 3 Indian Princess $1 One Dollar Gold Coin! 1017bU.s. 1853 $1 One Dollar Liberty Head Gold Coin - No Reserve - Free Shipping!1855-d Coronet Head Gold Dollar $1, High Grade Choice Au++ * Rare Dahlonega Date1854 Indian Princess Gold Dollar -type 2- Near Gem Uncirculated Very Rare!1852 $1 Gold Ngc Ms65 One Dollar Gold (online Ngc Price Guide Value Is $5,100!!)1854 Type 2 $1.00 Gold Coin Bu Coin Is Not CleanedHigher Grade 1853 Gold Liberty Head Type 1 One Dollar $1 Gold Coin * S1854 Gold Dollar, $1 Indian Princess, Choice Au+ Desired Key Date ** Free S/h!1849 One Dollar Gold Piece In 14k Solid Gold Bezel - 1.7 Grams No Reserve1857 U.s. Indian Gold One Dollar Coin $1 Certified Anacs Grade Ms 60 Type 3 1853 $1.00 U. S. Gold Coin Type I Almost Uncirculated1874 Indian Head Gold Type 3 $1 Ngc Ms 62 Nr1853 Gold One Dollar ($1) Coin In Great ConditionCirculated 1862 Gold Princess Head Type 3 One Dollar $1 Gold Coin * S1853 One Dollar Gold1854 $1 Liberty Head Gold Dollar Type 1 Ngc Unc Details1853 Coronet Head Gold Dollar ** Unc1854 Unknown Mint $1 Liberty Head Gold Dollar Holed Circulated No ReserveFirst Year 1849 Us Gold $1 Dollar. Liberty Head Pendant Altered For Jewelry1855 Type Ii $1 One Dollar Gold Piece Coin A1122Damaged 1853 ? Gold Liberty Head Type 1 One Dollar $1 Gold Coin * S1853 Us Gold Dollar $1 Gold Coin Authentic. Fair Condition. No Reserve!1849 Liberty Head $1 Gold Piece1852 Liberty Gold Dollar Coin $11855 Type 2 1.00 Gold Coin Xf Cleaned1853 $1 Gold Coin "no Reserve"1868 $1 One - Large Indian Head Gold Dollars1873 Open 3 Indian Princess Head Gold Dollar $1 Ms 63 + Plus Ngc1856 $1 Gold Dollar Type 3 Slant 5 Indian Head Princess1852 Liberty Head Gold Dollar $1 Au Details Ngc1849 Us $1.00 Gold Coin1853 $1 Liberty Head Gold Coin One Dollar Nice!1851 Liberty Gold Dollar $1 1854 Gold Dollar, Scarce Type 2, Xf Details, True Auction, No Reserve1852 $1 Gold Dollar Liberty Head, Type 1One Dollar Gold 18541862 $1 Indian Princess Pioneer Gold Coin Ms 61 Pcgs "green Holder"1893 $5 Gold Coin U.s." "no Reserve"