25 Cent Menu
America The Beautiful Quarters
Overview of U.S. Quarter Dollar
A twenty cent coin made sense with a decimal system of coinage, afterall five coins
would make a dollar. The denomination was first proposed by Thomas Jefferson in 1783.
After much deliberation, Congress found more merit in the twenty-five cent coin which
was aproximately the same value as "two-bits" of the Spanish eight-reales coin (the
eight-reales was the coin upon which the value of a dollar was set). Also, the eight-reales
coin was widely used in the American colonies. The quarter dollar was authorized by
the Mint Act of 1792. Because of the popularity of the Spanish Piece of Eight, the
Quarter dollar would eventually become accepted throughout the world as the equal
to "two bits" of the Spanish coin.
Today, most people fail to understand how seriously coinage was taken two hundred
years ago. Most people of the day knew that a poorly designed coin would reflect
poorly on the country. The opposite was also true, a handsomely designed coin of
proper weight and fineness would be respected worldwide. This, in addition to the
economic aspect, is why so much attention was given to gold and silver coins.
Earlier copper coinage had not been well received by the public, and the Flowing
Hair design of the silver coins was also widely criticized. Thus, the design of
the quarter dollar began with an almost universal dislike for the earlier coin designs.
To avoid such public embarrassment with the new design, Mint Director Henry DeSaussure
commissioned portrait artist Gilbert Stuart to develop a new design. Stuart, who
supposedly used as his model the prominent Philadelphia socialite Mrs. William Bingham
purposed what is now called the Draped Bust Design.
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U.S. Standing Quarters