U.S. numismatist releases book on Indian Head gold quarter eagles, half eagles

U.S. numismatist and author Allan Schein announced the release of his latest numismatic book, The $2½ & $5 Gold Indians of Bela Lyon Pratt.

Eighteen months in the writing, this 415-page book contains more than 700 images of the gold Indian coins and several hundred varieties and anomalies never before written about. A soft-bound, full-colour volume will be formally debuted at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Anaheim, Calif., this month.

The $2½ & $5 Gold Indians of Bela Lyon Pratt is the first comprehensive book ever written exclusively about this popular and unique U.S. coin series. Designed by Boston sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt in 1908, they are the only U.S. coins ever produced with a “sunken relief.” Pratt’s Indian is based upon the image of Brulé Sioux Chief Hollow Horn Bear. The chapter describing his identification is a fascinating and informative factual clarification of its design, the participating characters, as well as a detailed repudiation of other erroneous works published on the topic.

Schein’s book will serve as a reference guide on the Indian Head gold $2.50 quarter eagle and $5 half eagle designed by sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt. (Photo by Allan Schein Rare Coins)

The Gold Indians of Bela Lyon Pratt  includes an extensive biography of Pratt, his education and sculptural history. Much of it is in his own words excerpted directly from an archive of more than 1,000 letters written by his own hand. Numerous images from the Pratt family photo archives are presented in print here, for the first time anyplace in more than 100 years.

Numismatic contents include the most complete and up-to-date information available, with chapters on the coins’ design elements, and comparisons of the changes made from the original plasters to the production issues.  It includes: grading the gold Indians, DATA sheets with specifics about values, rarities, auction records, unusual varieties and attributions, images of some of the finest examples ever encapsulated, numerous charts, a photographic grading section and more. Every date, Branch Mint issue and Proof coin of both denominations is presented clearly and concisely, visually and descriptively. This invaluable reference is designed to be a complete, up-to-date handy guide for every collector and dealer, beginner or professional.

Promotional flier for Allan Schein’s new reference on $2.50 and $5 gold Indian Head coins. (Photo by Allan Schein Rare Coins)

The $2½ & $5 Gold Indians of Bela Lyon Pratt presents this talented sculptor as the artistic giant he truly was until his untimely death at the age of 49, in 1917.  His tremendous talent, sculptural innovativeness and creativity will, once better known in numismatic circles, forever bring BLP out from under the shadow of Saint-Gaudens to stand  in his own right as an immense talent and highly accomplished American sculptor.

Earlier this summer, the Central States Numismatic Society awarded him a grant for Schein’s recent release. For more information, contact the author at allan@taekwondograndmaster.com.


Last month, Schein became the latest honouree of the Alberto Francisco Pradeau Award for his bilingual book Mexican Beauty: Un Peso Caballito.

A formal presentation is scheduled to take place Sept. 2 at the 63rd Sonumex Convention in Mexico City.

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