$5 Liberty Head Gold Half Eagle
Chief Engraver of the US Mint, William Kneass, suffered a stroke and was incapacitated. So Christian Gobrecht assumed the Chief Engraver’s duties in the Fall of 1835, In 1839, he was asked to redesign the $5 Gold, Classic Head, No Motto Half Eagle. Gobrecht designed a younger, thinner, more youthful Miss Liberty. Like her predecessor, she faced left, but her hair was not tousled locks. It was now neatly positioned on her head in a bun, with a braid at the end. She was still surrounded by 13 six-pointed stars with the date underneath her.
The eagle on the reverse became thinner but not scrawny. She still held arrows and an olive branch in her talons with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around. The denomination was now spelled out as “FIVE D.” below the eagle. The eagle’s wingspan now reached from rim to rim.
This design remained unchanged until 1866, when a scroll with “E PLURIBUS UNUN” was added above the eagle on the reverse. The coins bearing that modification are known as “Variety 2 – With Motto.”
The Variety-2 coins were minted from 1866 until 1908 when an entirely new design replaced them.