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$1 Gold Type 1

The U.S. Mint produced gold dollar coins only once, in the period between 1849 and 1889. Numismatic historians differentiate between three coins issued during this period. The first, Type 1 — also known as the Liberty Head dollar — was in circulation from 1849 to 1854. It has the unique distinction of being the smallest coin ever released in the U.S. While at the time this led to considerable problems, today it makes the Type 1 a fascinating object of study for collectors. Mint State Gold frequently has Type 1 gold dollar coins for sale in our online store. We take care to maintain a carefully sourced inventory of NGC and PCGS certified products. Explore our current selection on this page, or contact our office for assistance.

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Background and Details

California became a state in 1848. Around the same time, gold was discovered in the town of Sutter's Mill. The discovery of gold shaped both the young state and, with the passage of the 1849 Coinage Act, the country's currency. That act authorized the U.S. Mint to produce both the gold dollar and the $20 Gold Eagle. James Barton Longacre, the Mint's chief engraver, was responsible for the design of the new coins. Both featured an obverse portrait of Lady Liberty wearing a crown, which gave the Type 1 dollar its nickname.

The Philadelphia, Charlotte, Dahlonega, New Orleans, and San Francisco mints all produced $1 Liberty Head gold coins during their six-year circulation period. Except for the Philadelphia coins, collectors can readily identify these by the distinctive mint mark on their reverse.

Criticism and Repeal

The Type 1 dollars were the subject of immediate criticism for one particular reason. Though highly valuable — their worth being roughly equivalent to the average daily salary at the time — their size made them easy to lose. The irony of this is that the Mint's silver dollars attracted nearly the opposite complaint, namely that they were too large and cumbersome to carry around for daily use.

Nevertheless, the Mint took these criticisms to heart and, in 1854, a new coin — the Type 2 dollar — replaced the $1 gold Liberty Heads. Unfortunately, these coins weren't any better-received. With a larger diameter but the same weight at the Type 1s, the Type 2 was exceeding thin and prone to both minting errors and premature wear. The Mint quickly replaced them with the Type 3 dollar, which circulated from 1856 to 1889.

Collecting Liberty Head Gold Dollars

Type 1 Liberty Head gold dollars have historical significance as well as a unique design necessitated by their diminutive size. They are somewhat rare, particularly in MS65 or better condition. As a result, they also have investment potential, especially for buyers who want the privacy benefits of pre-1933 coinage.

Whatever your reason for shopping, Mint State Gold can help. We offer free shipping, as well as a 14-day, money-back satisfaction guarantee on numismatic purchases. Trust our team for value, expertise, and excellent customer service every step of the way. Visit individual product pages to learn more, or contact our office to speak with a team member.

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