Stack’s Bowers is Proud to Present the Deer Grove Collection of Indian Head Half Eagles for Direct Purchase

Built over a dozen years, the Deer Grove Collection of Indian Head Half Eagles is the Current #2 PCGS Registry Set, and #7 All Time PCGS Registry Set for the series, with a weighted GPA, of 63.935, and grades ranging from MS-63 to MS-65+. To put this in perspective, the all-time finest set, the Simpson Collection, has a weighted GPA of 65.32.

The collector was involved in numismatics for a time as a youth, giving it up to follow other pursuits. After a break of about 30 years, he decided to get back into collecting. Looking through the Guide Book, he focused on the uniquely American designed Indian Head half eagles. With the assistance of Gene Nesheim, he carefully selected the coins that are now being offered as a set, for direct purchase from Stack’s Bowers Galleries. The set will be on display in our retail gallery at 123 West 57th Street in Manhattan for interested parties to view. The Deer Grove name comes from the collector’s hometown where his interest in coin collecting began.

Indian Head half eagles (along with the quarter eagles of the same name), feature the only design struck incuse, where the highest points of the design are the fields. At the time, this proved to be unpopular, with many in the public fearing that germs would get stuck in the crevasses, spreading disease. The coins were designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and a contemporary of Adolph Weinman, Victor David Brenner, Laura Fraser, and Herman MacNeil. These sculptors, from 1907 to 1921, together created the “Renaissance of American Coinage.” In this period older, more mundane motifs were replaced with more aesthetic designs. The Indian Head gold coins by Bela Lyon Pratt were struck, with some interruptions, from 1908 to 1929. Most collectors can complete the quarter eagle set. The scarcest coin, the 1911-D, is available in most grades up to and including MS-64; most of the other dates are common, even in Gem states of preservation (only the 1912, 1914, and 1914-D are scarce in Gem). By contrast, the half eagle represented a good deal of money during the years of issue, and many were not saved by collectors when gold was recalled in 1933. Despite most mintages being well into the hundreds of thousands, most dates are considered rare in Gem Mint State, and some dates are scarce to rare, regardless of grade. There are currently 39 sets registered under PCGS’s Indian Head $5 Gold, Circulation Strikes (1908-29).

The Deer Grove Collection, features two coins that are among the top graded by PCGS — 1910 at MS-65+, tied with one other, and the 1912 at MS-65, tied with 51 other grading events (which more than likely includes duplication). Nearly a dozen other dates have fewer than 10 grading events in a higher grade.


The full list of coins and grades follows:

1908 MS-65. PCGS Population: 217; 25 finer (MS-67 finest).

1908-D MS-64. PCGS Population: 362; 22 finer (MS-67 finest).

1908-S MS-65. PCGS Population: 48; 21 finer (MS-68 finest).

1909 MS-65. PCGS Population: 97; 10 finer (MS-66 finest).

1909-D MS-65. PCGS Population: 116; 7 finer (MS-66 finest).

1909-O MS-64. PCGS Population: 7; 3 finer (MS-66 finest).

1909-S MS-64+. PCGS Population: 2; 4 finer (MS-67 finest).

1910 MS-65+. PCGS Population: 2; none finer.

1910-D MS-64. PCGS Population: 47; 18 finer (MS-67 finest).

1910-S MS-63. PCGS Population: 21; 27 finer (MS-66 finest).

1911 MS-65. PCGS Population: 57; 4 finer (MS-66 finest).

1911-D MS-64. PCGS Population: 18; 2 finer (MS-65+ finest).

1911-S MS-64. PCGS Population: 22; 9 finer (MS-66 finest).

1912 MS-65. PCGS Population: 52; none finer.

1912-S MS-63. PCGS Population: 13; 21 finer (MS-65 finest).

1913 MS-65. PCGS Population: 52; 1 finer (MS-66 finest).

1913-S MS-63. PCGS Population: 49; 19 finer (MS-66 finest).

1914 MS-64. PCGS Population: 270; 52 finer (MS-66 finest).

1914-D MS-64+. PCGS Population: 15; 18 finer (MS-66+ finest).

1914-S MS-63. PCGS Population: 48; 8 finer (MS-65 finest).

1915 MS-65. PCGS Population: 44; 5 finer (MS-65+ finest).

1915-S MS-63. PCGS Population: 41; 10 finer (MS-64+ finest).

1916-S MS-65. PCGS Population: 10; 4 finer (MS-66+ finest).

1929 MS-64+. PCGS Population: 6; 8 finer (MS-65 finest).


Because this series is full of condition rarities, the difference of a point in grade can mean many thousands of dollars difference in value.

For numismatists who wish to have a complete Indian Head half eagle set, such a feat is uncommon. With the high price of the key dates, many collectors have steered away, happy to own a nice example for type. In years past, when such sets were made available, the grade range of the specimens varied widely, from coins with problems for the key issues to Gems for the common dates, and all levels between. To start with a fairly well matched set grade-wise is an accomplishment. For many collectors, having the set would be enough, but for someone who is ambitious, and would like to compete in the set registries, there is some room to upgrade.

For more information about this set, including the price, contact Gene Nesheim at 1-800-458-4646 ext. 219 or by email at The set is on display at our flagship Manhattan storefront at 123 West 57th Street. If you are in New York City and would like to see the set, contact Greg Cohen (1-800-566-2580 or for more information.   

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