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Liberty wearing a Native American headdress

The Indian Head eagle was an American ten-dollar gold piece, or eagle, produced from 1907 until 1916, and then irregularly until 1933. Beginning in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt proposed the introduction of more artistic designs on US coins, prompting the Mint to hire the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create them. Roosevelt chose a design for the obverse of the eagle (pictured) that the sculptor had meant to use for the cent, and for its reverse he selected a design featuring a standing bald eagle, which had been developed for the twenty-dollar piece designed by Saint-Gaudens. Following the sculptor's death on August 3, 1907, Roosevelt insisted that the new eagle be finished and struck that month, and new pieces were given to the President on August 31. The omission of the motto "In God We Trust" on the new coins caused public outrage, and prompted Congress to pass a bill mandating its inclusion. The Indian Head eagle was struck regularly until 1916, and then intermittently until President Franklin Roosevelt directed the Mint to stop producing gold coins in 1933; many were later melted down. Its termination ended the series of eagles struck for circulation begun in 1795. (Full article...)

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