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$2.50 Capped Bust Gold Quarter Eagle
The Quarter Eagle Gold Coin was part of the Coinage Act of 1792. Designed by Robert Scot, the Chief Engraver of the US Mint, the coin was struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Scot’s design had Miss Liberty facing right, with the word “LIBERTY” above her and the date “1796” below. The reverse had a heraldic eagle design, with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” above the eagle, a bank of clouds below it, and 16 six-pointed stars below. The eagle’s wings were raised, and it had 13 arrows in the right talon and an olive branch in the right.
Later that year, Scot had to redesign this coin once again. This time he added 16 six-pointed stars to the obverse of this coin, eight to the left of Miss Liberty and 8 to the right. Now the coin displayed a total of 32 stars, 16 on the obverse and 16 on the reverse.
Tiny mintages were struck in 1796. By 1797, the Mint was still unsure of the appeal of the design and again struck less than 500 coins. By 1798, as confidence rose, just over one thousand coins were minted. There were no coins struck between 1799 and 1801.
In 1802 and 1803, a little over 3 thousand coins were struck each year. But even such low numbers created two varieties. They struck coins with 13 stars on the reverse and some with 14 stars. But by 1805, the mintage had decreased under 2 thousand coins.
In 1806, two varieties of these coins were struck. There was an 1806 Over 4, with 8 Stars to the Left of Miss Liberty and 5 to the right variety and also an 1806 Over 5, with 7 stars to the left of Miss Liberty and 6 stars to the right. In 1807, the highest number of coins struck in any one year was achieved with 6,812 coins minted.
Capped Bust $2.50 Gold 1821 - 1834
No $2.50 Gold Liberty Quarter Eagle coins would be struck between 1809 and 1820. But by 1821, the demand would once again rise, but it rose due to the rising price of gold. To compensate, the diameter of the coin was reduced from 20m in 1808 to 18.5mm in 1821.
By 1821, several banks demanded more Quarter Eagles and Chief Engraver Robert Scot could barely see as he was aging. Scot took Reich’s 1808 design, modified the bust of Miss Liberty, re-spaced the stars around her and changed little else. Miss Liberty still faced left, less of her body was displayed, and 13 stars covered the rim of the coin with the date still displaying below Miss Liberty. The reverse of the coin was essentially unchanged from the 1808 design.
The coins had the exact same weight as the previous 1808 issue, but the diameter was slightly smaller (now 18.5MM) but the coin was slightly thicker. Mintages under 5,000 coins were recorded each year between 1821 and 1834.
Capped Bust Quarter Eagles dated between 1829 and 1834 were redesigned yet again by William Kneass, who succeeded Scot as Chief Engraver. The coins were reduced in size with the diameter shrinking from 18.5mm to 18.2mm. The mintages during this period remained very low.
These 1834 coins, of this design, are rare as most were melted at the Philadelphia Mint and never released into circulation.