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Image of United States, 5 Dollars, 1838
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United States, 5 Dollars, 1838


In 1834, the size and gold content of the $5 Half Eagle was reduced. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM ("out of many, one") was omitted to distinguish the old coins, which had become worth more than face value, from the new ones.


Half Eagles were among the first gold coins struck by the U.S. From 1795 to mid-1807, the denomination was not indicated on the coin itself. Beginning in 1807, the value of the coin was listed as "5 D." on the reverse.


Eagles, familiar design features on American coins, fall into two broad categories of style: the naturalistic eagle and the heraldic eagle. The naturalistic eagle shown here grasps an olive branch and arrows, symbolizing both America's desire for peace and its capability for war. A good example of the heraldic eagle is the reverse of the 1838 ten dollar coin.


Legendary Firsts The following objects are in this section.
Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling, "1652" (struck 1667-1674)First United States Silver Dollar, 1794Great Britain, Sovereign, 1838
Massachusetts, "twenty shillings," 1690Brasher Doubloon, 1787United States, 5 Dollars, 1838
Pewter Continental Dollar, 1776United States, 20 Dollars, 1854United States, 10 Dollars, 1838
Copper Pattern Dollar, 1794Portrait Medal of James Smithson, 1817 
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