The $5 Gold Indian Head gold coin, also known as a Half-Eagle, is nearly identical in design, save for it's 5 dollar denomination, to it's $2 1/2 counterpart. Both were designed by Bela Lyon Pratt. Pratt was a protege of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and this is where the embroiled history of this coin's design begins. Augustus was commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt to redesign the gold coins being produced as currency for the United States. Roosevelt felt that the current coins were lacking in design and beauty commensurate with the power and stature that the United States had achieved.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens finished the design for the $20 Double Eagle, but died of cancer before he could design a new $5 piece and the powers in place at the U.S. Mint did not find the design for the $20 Double Eagle suitable to be resized to the smaller $5 and $2 1/2 coins. Pratt was the second artist to design a coin for the U.S Government that was not a U.S. Mint employee, Saint-Gaudens being the first. Pratt's original design was modified before production by Charles E. Barber who was the Chief Engraver at the U.S. Mint, and these alterations led Pratt to declare that he was "Ashamed" of the final product of his design.
Nevertheless, many from novice to experienced collectors find the coin quite striking and beautiful and this has led to very high premiums (And therefore profits), over the value of the gold contained in the coin. The 1929 strike of this coin can be very valuable, especially in excellent condition, however the more common dates allow those with even a modest budget to own a fine piece of American History.