Nearly Mint State $5 Indian Rarity – 1909-O Indian Half Eagle NGC AU58

The New Orleans Mint was the only Southern branch to resume coinage operations following the Civil War. Interestingly, its survival as a minting facility can be attributed in part to the same legislation that brought about the coinage of millions of unneeded standard silver dollars. The Bland-Allison Act of February 1878, called for the Treasury Department to purchase monthly 2 to 4 million dollars worth of silver bullion, and to have it coined into new silver dollars which would largely be stored in government vaults. The sudden demand in coinage operations mandated by the law virtually necessitated the reopening of the branch mint in New Orleans, which resumed coinage operations in 1879.

However, the New Orleans Mint’s days were nonetheless numbered. In 1904, coinage of Morgan silver dollars was discontinued and construction was begun on a modern, high-capacity branch mint in Denver, Colorado. Silver and gold coin production at the Louisiana branch dwindled after 1906, when the Denver Mint opened, and by 1909, the need for continued operations at the Southern facility was virtually dissolved. On April 1, of that year, coinage was suspended, and in 1911, the dismantling of the outdated machinery was begun.

Coinage in the first three months of 1909, prior to operations suspension, consisted primarily of dimes, with more than 2.2 million pieces struck; quarter production amounted to only 712,000 coins, and halves to just 945,400 pieces. The only gold coinage at New Orleans in 1909, consisted of a paltry 34,200 half eagles. Interestingly, this was the first issue of this denomination struck there since 1894.

In addition to its popularity as the only O-mint issue of Pratt’s Indian Head type, the 1909-O half eagle is also a significant key date within the series. The 1929 is rarer in the absolute sense, but in Mint State, the 1909-O is the less often seen coin.

Offered at $16,700 delivered

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