The gold quarter eagle, worth $2.50 face value, was licensed by the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, though the first cash of this denomination didn’t seem till 1796. In a bit of an odd twist, nowhere on the coin is the face worth denoted.
The first gold quarter eagle was the Capped Bust to Proper type of 1796-1807. The obverse exhibits Liberty carrying a head turban modern with women of the late 18th century. For a long time, the turban was incorrectly thought by many to be a liberty cap derived from historical Rome, as was the case with other United States coinage. Analysis later uncovered the 1825 writings of Mint Director Samuel Moore, who verified the true nature of Liberty’s head attire. For that reason, numismatists also call this the Turban Head type. An instance is seen straight below.
Less than 20,000 Turban Head Quarter Eagles had been minted. Tensions between the U.S. and Europe throughout the 1790s and early 1800s drove European gold prices higher. Bullion sellers exploited this case by acquiring American gold coinage in trade for comparatively cheap Mexican silver and exporting it to abroad melting pots at a considerable profit. The chance of instant doom vastly curtailed production of all U.S. gold coins through the earliest years underneath the Constitution.
The Mint hired John Reich as Assistant Engraver in 1807. Reich was a extremely reputed German die sinker who arrived in the United States as an indentured servant in 1801. After six years of failing to secure everlasting employment at the Mint because of inside politics (apparently, nobody wished to offend the sensibilities of Chief Engraver Robert Scot), Reich started making plans to return to Germany. By way of the intervention of President Thomas Jefferson, the assistant’s position was created for Reich to retain his talent.
Reich instantly set out to improve the appearance of United States coinage, together with a new gold quarter eagle, released in 1808. Reich depicted Miss Liberty going through left, carrying a mobcap embellished with the word LIBERTY. The Capped Bust to Left, typically generally known as the Capped Draped kind, featured a somewhat life like eagle extending its wings sitting atop an olive department, while holding arrows suggesting pressure, if essential, to defend itself. Reich’s eagle reverse would stay a fixture on U.S. coinage for the next 100 years.
The Capped Bust to Left Quarter Eagle was in production for the year 1808 only. A single set of 1808 dies had been made, and numismatists theorize it broke after only 2710 pieces had been made. Thereafter, quarter eagle gold coinage was suspended due to the continued risk posed by international bullion dealers.
Quarter eagle manufacturing resumed in 1821. Though gold coinage nonetheless had hassle remaining in circulation due to its excessive intrinsic metallic worth, a number of banks deposited gold bullion from Mexico and requested quarter eagles in return beneath the Mint’s “Free Coinage” policy. Reich resigned from the Mint in 1817 in disgust over his stagnated wage of $50/month, so the duty of resurrecting the quarter eagle fell to Robert Scot.
Scot’s Capped Head to Left sort was nothing more than a barely modified version of Reich’s 1808 design. At age seventy seven and with failing eyesight, Scot was probably lower than the task of originating a brand new design from scratch. Probably the most noticeable distinction was a 1.5 mm (.059 inches) lower in diameter. The weight remained constant, so the 1821 quarter eagle edition was thicker than its predecessors. In 1829, the diameter was lowered by one other .three mm. The Capped Head to Left was minted in small numbers practically yearly until 1834, however by no means gained a foothold in American society because its gold content was worth greater than its face value, making it topic to exportation and melting.