Between the last of the Heraldic Eagles in 1804 (which were actually minted in 1834) until 1838, no new $10.00 Gold Eagle coins were struck. Eagles, when infrequently available, were often melted as there was a premium on their size and weight. But a gold coin shortage in the United States received some relief with the discovery of gold in both the Carolinas and in Georgia.
As the price of gold had continued to rise and hoarding was rampant, the size and weight of the $10 Gold eagle were reduced. Second Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht designed the new eagle that would be struck in 1838.
Gobrecht’s design depicted a bust of Miss Liberty, with her hair pulled back, wearing a crown with the word “LIBERTY” inscribed on it. Miss Liberty faced left and 13 six-pointed stars encircled her with the date directly beneath her bust. The reverse featured an eagle with wings outstretched and pointed upwards, holding three arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other. Around the eagle was “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” with the denomination “TEN D.” directly below the eagle.
In 1838, the initial year, only 7,200 coins were struck. The coins were struck through 1866. In 1866, the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” was added on a ribbon above the eagle on the reverse. That variety was struck though 1907, when it was redesigned.