$2 1/2 Capped Head Quarter Eagle: 1821 - 1834


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1821-1834
Mints: Philadelphia
 Composition: 0.9167 Gold, 0.0833 Silver & Copper
Diameter: 18.2 mm (1829-34), 18.5 mm (1821-27)
Weight: 4.37 grams (0.1289 ounces of gold)
Total Mintage: 42,065 (circulating strikes)
Edge: Reeded


Designed by John Reich, the $2.50 Capped Head ¼ Eagle was produced from 1821 to 1834 with each coin containing just over an 1/8th ounce of gold.     

The obverse design features an idealized bust image of Lady Liberty facing left wearing a cap with “LIBERTY” emblazoned. Encircling the bust design are 13 stars to represent the original states or colonies.  

The reverse features an eagle holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other. Above the eagle is a ribbon with the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. On the outer periphery above the eagle is the legend "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and just below the eagle design is the denomination "2 ½ D." There were no mint marks for the series as all coins were produced at the Philadelphia Mint (the only U.S. mint that existed at this time).

Obverse Reverse
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Major Varieties

Two major varieties exist based on coin diameter size

  • Variety 1 Large Diameter - 18.5 mm diameter from 1821-1827
  • Variety 2 Small Diameter - 18.2 mm diameter from 1829-1834

General Market Notes

The key to the series is the 1834 issue.  The semi-key to the series is the 1826 issue.

For the value investor you cannot go wrong with any coin from the series. Gold production at this time in the U.S. was minimal. Significant gold discoveries in Charlotte North Carolina and Dahlonega Georgia would not be discovered until the late 1820's and significant yields for coinage did not appear until the mid 1830's. With gold at a premium it kept mintages low for each issue. The entire series only had a total mintage 42,065 making every coin a value investment regardless of year.

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