Affordable, yet attractive, Indian Head quarter ($2.50) and half ($5) eagles make a good choice for gold coin collecting on a budget.
Mike Fuljenz, owner of Universal Coin & Bullion, Beaumont, Texas, and a specialist on Indian Head gold, said the smaller sized gold coins are easier on the pocketbook but no less in demand with coin collectors.
“At different times, the series will get hot and a lot of people will be selling them,” he said. “Collectors like this design and they are affordable as well.”
He said that even he is a big fan of the series.
“I really like the Indian Head quarter eagles,” he said. “I enjoy the design. It’s a very popular design with the incuse devices.
“The same goes for the Indian Head half eagles and eagles, though the eagles do have a bit more of a premium attached to them.”
Prices for Indian Head quarter and half eagles are a lot less compared to other gold coin series, he said.
“An Indian Head quarter eagle in MS-63, which is a good grade, might be under $600 whereas a double eagle in MS-63 would be around $1,700,” he said.
He explained that a Indian Head quarter eagle is not a terribly difficult set if a collector were to put together a date set of 13 coins. The set would cover 1908 to 1915 and 1925 to 1929.
A complete regular set of date and mintmarks would see an obstacle in the 1911-D where both weak and strong D varieties are well over $1,000 in just very fine grade.
A date set for Indian Head half eagles is feasible if the collector excludes the 1929, which with a mintage of 662,000 where many were melted down, is an expensive coin.
Buying any sort of gold is going to cost money but Fuljenz offered some tips to minimize costs and avoid ripoffs.
“First thing I would say is buy in a state that doesn’t charge sales tax on coins containing silver or gold,” he said. “It makes a big difference. If you purchase $1,600 worth of gold, an 8 percent sales tax would amount to $128. So buy gold coins in a state where you legally do not need to pay sales tax on the coin.
“There are many states that don’t charge a sales tax on coins with precious metals. Some don’t charge tax only if you purchase over a certain amount, so make sure you can afford enough to buy enough gold to go over that threshold.”
He said his next tip is to save up funds to afford the gold coins you want.
“Back in 1966, I bought my first gold coin, a $5 gold Indian in about uncirculated,” he said. “I had won $50 in a bingo game with my grandmother and I saved my money from mowing lawns each week so I could buy it.”
His last tip is to deal with a coin dealer who is knowledgeable and respected in the field.
“Buy from someone who is a specialist in the series and knows all about it,” he said. “They don’t need to have published books about it, but at least they’ve contributed to books and articles about the series.
“I helped out a gentleman who bought a lot of fake gold coins recently from a dealer. That dealer wasn’t a part of any numismatic organization, wasn’t an authorized dealer with a company and hadn’t published or contributed on any works about gold coins.”
If you’re on the market for some gold, especially given recent gold price decreases, take a look into Indian Head quarter and half eagles. By following the tips above, they offer an affordable way to purchase an iconic American coin.