Can You Collect Rare US Gold With a Budget of $2,500-5000 Per Coin?

When I speak to new collectors, they are often under the impression that most of the coins I sell are in the five and six figure range. While my company does sell a good number of expensive US gold coins, the bread and butter items in my inventory are typically pieces in the $2,500-5,000 range. Given this statement, I can answer the question which this blog asks with an emphatic “YES!!”

Let’s look at all six major denominations of US gold and briefly analyze where a per coin budget of $2,500-5,000 goes a long way. *Every photo included is from our recent inventory, and every coin shown is was priced under $5000.


   1862 $1.00 PCGS MS66 CAC

1862 $1.00 PCGS MS66 CAC

First, let’s look at gold dollars. This is a denomination where our proposed budget range will actually go quite far. While we will not be able to purchase any of the really rare Charlotte and Dahlonega issues, the more obtainable issues (especially in the Type One design of 1849-1854) can be purchased in Extremely Fine and About Uncirculated within our price parameters. Every New Orleans and San Francisco issue is obtainable (often in comparably high grades), and most Philadelphia issues are within this budget as well. While gold dollars are small and sometimes crude, they are an interesting alternative for the collector on a $2,500-5,000 budget.


   1836 Script 8 $2.50 PCGS AU55 CAC

1836 Script 8 $2.50 PCGS AU55 CAC

Next up is quarter eagles. The early issues in this denomination (1796-1834) are all expensive due to their rarity, but the Philadelphia Classic Head issues (1834-1839) are well within range of the collector on a $2,500-5,000 per coin basis. In fact, a really nice set can be put together with all of the coins grading AU. The mintmarked Classic Head issues are another story and will have to be left to those collectors on a bigger budget.

   1849-D $2.50 PCGS AU50 CAC

1849-D $2.50 PCGS AU50 CAC

The Liberty Head issues (1840-1907) offer a wide range of options for collectors on a $2,500-5,000 budget. Many of the more available Charlotte and Dahlonega issues can be purchased in this price range, as can all of the New Orleans quarter eagles struck between 1840 and 1857. The Philadelphia and San Francisco issues offer a host of undervalued coins in the EF/AU grade range, and the common dates from the 1890’s and 1900’s can be purchased in very high grades (up to MS65 or even MS66).

   1908 $2.50 PCGS MS65 CAC

1908 $2.50 PCGS MS65 CAC

The Indian Head quarter eagle series (1908-1929) is currently out-of-favor, but it offers many possibilities for the collector on a budget of $2,500-5,000 per coin. More than maybe any other denomination of US gold, quarter eagles seem especially well-suited to this budget range.


   1883 $3.00 PCGS AU58

1883 $3.00 PCGS AU58

Three Dollar gold pieces were made from 1854 through 1889. Many issues can be purchased in the $2,500-5,000 and this includes common dates in grades up to MS63 and scarcer dates in the lower Uncirculated dates.


   1838 $5.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

1838 $5.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

Early half eagles are not buyable in the sub-$5,000 range but the Philadelphia Classic Heads (1834-1838) are all affordable and nice high end AU coins can be purchased $2,000-3,000 each.

   1847-C $5.00 PCGS AU53 CAC

1847-C $5.00 PCGS AU53 CAC

The Liberty Head series (1839-1908) features a seemingly array of issues with two major types: the No Motto (through 1866) and the With Motto (1866 until 1908). A collector who can afford to spend $4,000 or $5,000 per coin can purchase some exceptional Southern branch mint issues, with many dates available in the EF40 to AU55 range. Any Philadelphia No Motto half eagles offer a tremendous amount of bang for the buck with virtually every pre-Civil War date obtainable in the $1,000-4,000 per coin range.

   1870-S $5.00 PCGS EF45 CAC

1870-S $5.00 PCGS EF45 CAC

With Motto half eagles offer a good range of possibilities. There are a number of scarce to rare Philadelphia and San Francisco issues from the first two decades of this design which can be obtained for less than $5,000. The more available Carson City half eagles from the 1880’s and 1890’s are also possibilities, as are common dates from the 1890’s and early 1900’s in high grades (MS63 to MS65).

   1908 $5.00 PCGS MS64+ CAC

1908 $5.00 PCGS MS64+ CAC

The Indian Head half eagle series (1908-1929) includes a number of more available issues which can be purchased in the MS63 to MS64 range within a $2,500-5,000 budget. But most of the rare dates are not within this range and this makes the Indian Head type an unrealistic collecting target.


   1853-O $10.00 NGC AU55 CAC

1853-O $10.00 NGC AU55 CAC

Early eagles (1795-1804) are obviously not available within our proposed coin budget. No Motto Liberty eagles (1838-1866) are, and a nice date run of Philadelphia issues can be assembled on a sub-$5,000 per coin budget. In fact, with just a few exceptions (1838, 1839 Head of 1840, 1844, 1858, and 1862-1865) a really neat collection of nice AU coins could be assembled over the course of a few years. There are also a good number of New Orleans issues of this type available in the $2,500-5,000 range, including some scarcer dates.

   1897-O $10.00 PCGS MS62 CAC

1897-O $10.00 PCGS MS62 CAC

With Motto eagles present collectors on a budget with a number of possibilities. The best of these, in my opinion, is the “short set” of New Orleans issued produced from 1888 to 1906. A few of the more available Carson City issues from the 1880’s and the 1890’s are within this budget as are some scarcer, mostly overlooked issues from Philadelphia and San Francisco.

   1912-S $10.00 NGC MS62 CAC

1912-S $10.00 NGC MS62 CAC

There are a few dates in the Indian Head eagle series (1907-1933) within this budget, but this is not a practical series for our sub-$5,000 endeavor. I would suggest looking at this lovely design more as a type coin, and non-CAC approved common dates are now selling as cheaply as $2,500 or so.


You would think that a $2,500-5,000 per coin budget wouldn’t go far in the Liberty Head double eagle series (1850-1907) but this isn’t true. While you won’t be able to purchase any rarities, there are a surprising number of coins available in this range.

   1861 $20.00 PCGS MS61

1861 $20.00 PCGS MS61

Type One coins were made from 1850 through 1866 and many dates can be obtained in EF and AU grades for less than $5,000. This includes some reasonably scarce Philadelphia issues from the 1850’s, and some of the popular San Francisco issues from the Civil War.

   1876-CC $20.00 PCGS EF45 CAC

1876-CC $20.00 PCGS EF45 CAC

Type Two coins were made from 1866 through 1876 and, again, many dates can be obtained in EF and AU grades for less than $5,000. This even includes the two most available Carson City issues of this type (1875-CC and 1876-CC).

   1877-S $20.00 PCGS MS62 CAC

1877-S $20.00 PCGS MS62 CAC

Type Three coins were made from 1877 through 1907 and a majority of the issues can be obtained for less than $5,000; often in nice Uncirculated. There are at least a half dozen common date CC issues which can be obtained for less than $5,000, as well as virtually every San Francisco date from this design.

   1914-S $20.00 PCGS MS65+ CAC

1914-S $20.00 PCGS MS65+ CAC

A collector with a $2,500-5,000 per coin budget is not likely to specialize in St. Gaudens double eagles, but there are dozens of dates in this series (1907-1933) which can be obtained in the MS62 to MS66 range. You won’t be buying rare dates, but it is a nice way to acquire a “position” in gold at a reasonable price.


In my opinion, it is a common misbelief that you have to have a huge budget to seriously collect US gold coins. As I have pointed out above, every denomination has a wide range of opportunities and it is possible to buy coins which date as far back as 1834 and/or which can be legitimately scarce. Whether your goal is to acquire some nice AU Charlotte and Dahlonega gold or a tall stack of Gem common date double eagles, your budget shouldn’t be a limiting factor.

Are you interested in buying affordable yet high quality US gold coins from America’s leading expert? Contact Doug Winter via email at dwn@ont.com and be certain to visit his website (www.raregoldcoins.com) which always features numerous choice, interesting coins in the $2,500-5,000 range.