The half eagle
is a United States coin
that was produced for circulation from 1795 to 1929 and in commemorative and bullion coins since the 1980s. Composed almost entirely of gold, it has a face value of five dollars
. It was the first gold coin to be minted by the United States, its production being authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792
. The design and composition of the half eagle changed many times over the years, but this version was designed by Christian Gobrecht
and produced from 1839 to 1866. The obverse design depicts a classic portrait of Liberty
facing to the left, and the reverse depicts a modified eagle, with the value changed from "5 D." to "FIVE D.".
Other designs: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History; photographed by Jaclyn Nash