1878 $5 Five Dollar, Judd-1569, Pollock-1760, R.7, PR61 Red and Brown PCGS
The large Liberty head faces left, and has an expression similar to that of the regular issue Morgan Dollar. However, her hair is tied in a bun, and she does not wear a cap or any cereal grains. The reverse features an eagle with spread wings holding an olive branch in its right talon and three arrows in its left. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
$7,475.00 (Sep 10, 2009 HA.com)
1878 $5 Liberty Head Half Eagle, Judd-1570, Pollock-1764, Unique, PR65 PCGS
A bold, aggressive representation of Liberty shown facing left, her hair combed back and tied in a bun, with a long curl that extends well down the back of the neck. Two ornamental ribbons decorate the top of her head, including one that runs horizontally and proclaims the word LIBERTY in incused letters. The portrait is framed by the date and by E PLURIBUS UNUM, with the words of this obverse motto separated by pellets or periods. The reverse design features a defiant heraldic eagle grasping an olive branch and three arrows in its talons. The inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN GOD WE TRUST, and FIVE DOL. encompass the eagle. Struck in gold on a thin, reeded edge planchet and a diameter very close to one inch (25.4 mm.), compared to the 21.6 mm. diameter that was standard at the time.
These broad, thin planchets were first suggested by Dr. J.T. Barclay of the U.S. Mint in the mid-1850s and an initial prototype was struck in the form of the 1860 gold half eagle pattern, Judd-271, which has an even larger diameter of 27 mm., equaling that of a ten dollar piece. They were intended as an anti-counterfeiting measure during a period when rising production of gold coins and increased availability of similarly heavy, but contemporarily less valuable platinum metal ignited concern among Mint officials over the potential use of platinum plugs for existing gold coins. This fear, referred to in Mint reports as the "platinum menace," apparently gained at least mild support in the years following the Civil War, although it eventually proved to be unfounded as a widespread problem.