In 1891, the Chief Engraver of the Mint, Charles E. Barber, was ordered to prepare new designs for the Dime, Quarter and Half Dollar. The Mint Director liked the designs of the currently circulating French coinage which had an allegorical representation of Miss Liberty on the obverse. He also wanted the requisite American eagle on the reverse. Barber designed the Half Dollar coins first since the Dime and Quarter would have similar designs.
The approved design for the Quarter had an allegorical depiction of Miss Liberty, facing right on the obverse. She wears a crown composed of olive branches with a headband inscribed with the word "LIBERTY". The motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" surmounts her head, while 13 six-pointed stars with seven in front of her face and six behind her and the date is below her.
The reverse depicts a heraldic style American eagle. She has a scroll in her beak on which is inscribed “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” In her left talon are 13 arrows indicating she is ready for war and in her right talon is an olive branch indicating she is ready for peace as well. Above the eagle are 13 five-pointed stars and the inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” surmounts the design with the denomination “QUARTER DOLLAR” below her.
As the coins were distributed, merchants began to complain to the Mint that the coins were not stacking properly as all coinage is supposed to do. The Mint surveyed the situation and Barber made some adjustments to the reverse die to reduce the thickness of a portion of the design which remedied the problem. Throughout the life of the Barber coinage, Charles Barber would modify the designs over and over again aiming to always improve the coinage that bears his name.