Authorized by Congress in 1792, the $5 Liberty Gold Coin was the first coin minted by the U.S. and the first to be produced at each of the seven U.S. mints. It went into circulation from 1795 to 1929 and underwent several design changes during that time. One of the final designs commonly seen is the Liberty Head (1839–1908), designed by Christian Golbrecht.
One of the first designs of the $5 Liberty coin was the Capped Bust (1807-1812), designed by John Reich. When the coin was issued, Reich received a lot of criticism for Lady Liberty’s European looks. Reich is credited for being one of the first designers to engrave the denomination on gold and silver coins.
The obverse of the $5 Liberty Head coin designed by Golbrecht has Lady Liberty facing right. The issue date of the coin and 13 stars representing the 13 original colonies encircle her profile. “LIBERTY” is displayed on the coronet, which sits on her head.
On the reverse, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “FIVE D” surround a magnificent eagle, wings spread, arrows and an olive branch held in the bird’s talons. Above the eagle’s head on a flowing ribbon are the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”, which was not added to the $5 Liberty coin until 1866.
The $5 Liberty was minted in Philadelphia throughout its production. However, the coin was also minted in San Francisco during the Civil War and later in Charlotte, Dahlonega, Georgia and New Orleans. In 1866, after “IN GOD WE TRUST” was added to the coin, production of the $5 Liberty took place in Carson City and then later in Denver.