Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to produce the $5.00 gold coin, or Half Eagle, on April 2, 1792. The first design of the $5.00 Liberty gold coin, referred to as the Capped Bust to Right, Small Eagle, was the first gold coin minted by the United States government. It is also the only coin in U.S. history to have been struck at all seven U.S. Mints that were operating during its circulation. The $5.00 gold piece had several design changes throughout its history. One of the final designs of the $5 gold coin, the Liberty, or Coronet, design by Christian Golbrecht, was minted from 1839 until 1908 when the $5 Indian gold coin was introduced.
Design of the $5 Liberty Gold Coin - The obverse (front) of the $5 Liberty gold coin is very similar in design to the $2.50 and $20 Liberty gold coins. As with these Liberty coins, the obverse features Lady Liberty whose tight bun of hair is adorned with a string of beads. A coronet inscribed with the word "LIBERTY" rests on top of her head. The date and one star for each of the 13 original colonies encircle Liberty's portrait.
The reverse (back) features a proud bald eagle with wings spread, standing among olive branches. The eagle clinches three arrows in his talons, and has a shield featuring stars and stripes upon his chest. The words 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA', the denomination, and the Mint Mark surround the eagle. Coins minted from 1839 through 1866 do not feature the motto 'IN GOD WE TRUST.' In 1866 the reverse was modified by adding the Motto on a ribbon above the eagle.
$5 Liberty Coin Minting Information - The Philadelphia Mint produced these gold coins throughout their production run, although minting was partially shifted to the San Francisco Mint during the Civil War years. The $5.00 Liberty was also minted in Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans. After the motto was added, these coins were struck at Carson City, and in 1906 and 1907 at the newly opened Denver Mint.