Monday 25th July 2016

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Liberty Head (Coronet) Quarter Eagle 1840 - 1907

Christian Gobrecht's redesign goal was "to both standardize the design and find an acceptable representation that could be used for a long period of time." The change in the reverse design was small. On the obverse, the depiction of Liberty and the earlier rendering of Liberty are quite different, but the general presentation is very similar.

Vital Specs.

Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Content: 90% gold 10% other
Diameter: 18 millimeters
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 4.18 grams
Mint Mark Location: On the reverse below the eagle.
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Liberty Head Quarter Eagle (1840 - 1907)

1879  Coronet $2 1/2 Quarter Eagle coin - Obverse 1879 Coronet $2 1/2  Quarter Eagle coin - reverse

The "Coronet Liberty", often said to have made her first appearance on the 1838 gold eagle, actually made a couple of appearances before that, the "Braided Hair" half cent, and the "Matron Head" large cent. Therefore, this was more of an adaptation of an older design.

An unusual development took place in 1848, the military governor of California sent 230 ounces of gold to the Secretary of War who had it coined at the Philadelphia mint, but with "CAL" on the reverse.

To this day, a controversy still looms over the coins: was this the first commemorative coin (many years before the 1892 Columbian half dollar), or is this simply another variation of the quarter eagle?

1848 "CAL" Quarter Eagle

1848 CAL Coronet $2 1/2 Quarter Eagle coin - Obverse 1848 CAL Coronet $2 1/2  Quarter Eagle coin - reverse

Because of the recovery of many coins of those dates from European caches some low mintage quarter eagles from the 1880's are more available than you may have expected. Tens of thousands of business strike Liberty Head quarter eagles have been certified, including a number of proof like pieces.

  • Early 20th century Philadelphia prices are generally modest up to MS60 (expensive if higher).
  • 1840s examples and Civil War era pieces are expensive at AU55 and higher.
  • 1848 CAL. Above the Eagle are expensive to extremely expensive.
  • All Charlotte and Dahlonega quarter eagles generally are expensive to very expensive at XF40 and higher.
  • San Francisco issues are generally expensive at AU55 and higher.

  • Mint Mark Mint Date of Operation
    None Philadelphia, PA 1793-present
    C Charlotte, NC (gold only) 1838-1861
    DDahlonega, GA (gold only) 1838-1861
    O New Orleans, LA 1838-1861 & 1879-1909
    SSan Francisco, CA1854-1955; 1968-present

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