Liberty Quarter Eagles

historic gold coin icon USA flag icon Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles - with unchanged design for 67 years

The US Mint produced the $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles from 1840 to 1907. The coins were struck at the US Mint facilities in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Charlotte and Dahlonega. Their composition is 90% gold and 10% copper with each coin containing 0.12094 oz of gold. Close to 12 million Liberty Quarter Eagle gold coins were minted. However, only a tiny amount were minted in proof condition at the Philadelphia facility.

The obverse side of the Liberty Quarter Eagles shows a leftward facing Lady Liberty in profile. An eagle that is holding a shield can be seen on the reverse. These are both common images that appear in some form on many other American pre-1933 gold coins as well. The Liberty version of the Gold Quarter Eagles was succeeded by the $2.5 Indian Gold Quarter Eagles in 1908.

obverse side of the 1877 $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagle coin
reverse side of the 1877 $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagle coin

Coin Fact Sheet

Weight Face Value Purity Diameter
0.12094 oz US $ 2.5 90% 18 mm

Total Mintage: 11,872,378

Design

The obverse side of the $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles depicts a leftward facing Lady Liberty in profile in the style of Greco-Roman sculptures. She wears a pearl crown that has "Liberty" inscribed on it. Thirteen stars appear along the outer edge of the coin, representing the 13 original colonies of the United States of America. The year of mintage is inscribed underneath Lady Liberty's portrait.

The motif on the reverse side of the $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles is derived from the Great Seal of the United States. It shows an eagle with a shield holding an olive branch and arrows. The coin's $2.5 face value (2 ½ D.) and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” are engraved along the coin's edge. Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles that were minted in New Orleans (mint mark: O), San Francisco (mint mark: S), Charlotte (mint mark: C) or Dahlonega (mint mark: D) contain a mint mark just above the face value and underneath the eagle's claws. However, coins that were minted at the main Philadelphia branch of the United States Mint don't have any mint mark.

History

As a result of the Coinage Act of 1792, many gold coins were introduced in the years that followed by the US Mint. The $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles were minted continuously from 1840 to 1907. The Liberty Head design that was created by the US Mint's engraver Christian Gobrecht appears on many other gold coins that were minted during this period.

In 1908, the $2.5 Indian Head Gold Quarter Eagles replaced the $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles.

Even though production of the $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles lasted from 1840 to 1907, only the US Mint in Philadelphia produced them every year during this period (though the number of coins minted in Philadelphia in 1841 is unknown and only proofs were struck in 1863).

Variations of the Coin

A special variety of the coins was minted in 1848, known as the California or CAL issue. These 1.389 coins bear the punched-in letters CAL just above the eagle design on the reverse. The CAL coins were minted in Philadelphia as well but use gold that was mined during the 1848 California Gold Rush.

Rare Dates

Besides the 1848 CAL issue (1.389 coins), coins from several years and/or mint facilities are very rare these days for example the coins minted in Dahlonega in 1840 (3.532 coins), 1854 (1.760 coins), 1855 (1.123 coins) and 1856 (874 coins).

The coins minted in Philadelphia are hard to find for the year 1841 (unknown mintage), 1864 (2.824 coins), 1865 (1.520 coins) and 1875 (400 coins). Proof coins are even rarer to find if at all possible. Proof mintages never exceeded a maximum of 223 pieces per year. In 1863, the mint in Philadelphia only produced 30 proof coins and no 'regular' coins.

Mintages

Annual mintage of $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles at the various US Mint branches varied between 246 coins (San Francisco 1854) and 1,404,668 coins (Philadelphia 1853). Proof coins were exclusively minted at the Philadelphia branch of the US Mint and proof mintage varied between 20 coins and 223 coins (1901). Actual proof mintage for the years 1840 to 1858 is unknown but is estimated to have varied between 5 and 20 coins per year.

obverse side of the 1929 $2.5 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle coin
reverse side of the 1929 $2.5 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle coin

Indian Gold Quarter Eagles

The $2.5 Indian Gold Quarter Eagles succeeded the $2.5 Liberty Gold Quarter Eagles in 1908. The US Mint produced them with a period of interruption from 1908 to 1929. The coins were struck at the US Mint facilities in Philadelphia and Denver. Their composition is 90% gold and 10% copper with each coin containing 0.12094 oz of gold. More than 7 million Indian Quarter Eagle gold coins were minted. However, only a small amount were minted in proof condition at the Philadelphia facility. The obverse of the coins shows a Native American Indian Chief wearing a traditional headdress. An eagle that is standing on a bundle of arrows and an olive branch can be seen on the reverse.

The Indian Gold Quarter Eagle page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.