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$5 Half Eagle

$5 Half Eagle

Its production was authorized by The Act of April 2, 1792, the $5 denomination has the distinction of being the only denomination for which coins were minted at all eight US mints. Prior to 1838 all half eagles were minted in Philadelphia because there were no other operating mints. In 1838, the Charlotte Mint, and the Dahlonega Mint produced half eagles of the Coronet type in their first years of operation, and would continue to mint half eagles until 1861, their last year of operation. The New Orleans Mint minted half eagles from 1840 to 1861. The San Francisco Mint first produced half eagles in 1854, its first year of operation, as did Carson City in 1870, and Denver in 1906. In 1908, the final type, designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, was first produced. Production of the half eagle was suspended during World War I and not resumed until 1929, the final year of issue.

The idea of recessing the coins' features came from William Sturgis Bigelow, a Boston physician and art lover who happened to be a close friend of Roosevelt's. Bigelow had seen incuse relief in Egyptian art works at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and he piqued the president's interest with his notion of adapting this technique to U.S. coinage. With Roosevelt's blessing, he engaged a fellow Bostonian, noted sculptor Bela-Lyon Pratt, to prepare coinage models, and Pratt developed designs pairing an Indian brave on the obverse with an eagle in repose on the reverse.

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