1/4 Eagle Menu
Draped Bust Right
Capped Bust Left
Capped Bust Quarter Eagle 1808 - 1834
John Reich's design was struck in just 1808, and of the 2,710 pieces minted fewer
than 2% exist today (35-40 pieces). It is suggested the low survival rate may be
due to the weak borders which exposed the coin to heavy wear. All 2,710 pieces were
probably minted from a single pair of dies.
Designer: John Reich
Content: 91.7% gold 8.3% other
Diameter: 18.2 mm
Weight: 4.37 grams
Mint Mark: None (all were struck in Philadelphia)
Large Bust (1808)
Walter Breen suggested banks simply preferred half eagles to quarter eagles and
this was why such a small mintage in 1808 and a twelve year gap before being issued
again. This would explain the high mintage of the half eagle in the 19th century,
but raises question about production of the eagle.
After the 12-year halt in the production, uncertain world political events
combined with higher gold prices to caused gold coins to disappear from circulation.
For unknown reasons, several Banks requested quarter eagle coins in 1821.
Chief Engraver Robert Scot was responsible for designing the issue, he adapted
a design from a earlier John Reich motif instead of making a new one. On the obverse,
Liberty faces left and her mobcap is smaller than the one on the 1808 pieces, this
made room for the stars along with the date at the bottom to form a circle. The
reverse received only slight modifications (lower wing feathers).
All business strike Capped Head Left, Large Diameter quarter eagles are scare
to rare; census/ population totals are 100+ for only 1825. The only certified proof
date is the 1821 (fewer than 10 coins).
Small Bust, Large Diameter, 1821-1827
After the death of Robert Scot in 1823, William Kneass (appointed his successor)
received a mandate to improve existing designs instead of creating new designs.
Kneass "cleaned up" Scot's design of the quarter eagle, he reduced the size
of the letters, dates, stars, and modifyed Liberty's portrait.
Small Bust, Reduced Diameter 1829-1834
The most significant change was the introduction of the "collar die" in 1828. This
new process added reeding to the edge of the planchet (previously a separate operation)
and ensured uniformity of a coins diameter. Collar dies also produce higher rims
on the coins protecting the surface features.
Because of the melting of gold coins, their weight was reduced in 1834. This made
bullion prices less than face value.
Business strikes of the Capped Head Left, Small Diameter quarter eagles are scare
to rare; census/ population totals never exceed 150 coins for any given year (totals
likely including resubmissions).