Designed by William Kneass, the $2.50 Classic Head ¼ Eagle was produced continuously from 1834 to 1839 with each coin containing just under an 1/8th ounce of gold. The Classic Head ¼ Eagle was the first series that contained coins minted outside of the Philadelphia Mint for any gold ¼ eagle coins. The coin series is sometimes referred to as the “No Motto” series as none of the coins carried the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” that was present on its predecessor the Capped Head 1/4 Eagle and since both series overlapped mintages in 1834 they are differentiated by the labels "1834 with motto" and "1834 no motto".
The obverse design features an idealized bust image of Lady Liberty facing left wearing a ribbon 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. 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." A mint mark for Charlotte (C), Dahlonega (D), and New Orleans (O), is located at the bottom of the design below the eagle's claws. Coins minted at the Philadelphia Mint carried no mint marks.
General Market Notes
With a mintage of only 7,880 the key to the series is the 1838C issue. The semi-keys to the series are the 1839C & 1839D issues.
For the value investor the 1839O issue looks to be an undervalued coin. With a mintage of 17,781 many coins survived over the years keeping prices below its other 1839 counterparts but as collector interest in the series increases prices may climb from demand.
Due to the high valuations of these coins it is not uncommon to discover altered or counterfeit coins. It is highly recommended NOT to purchase a raw specimen but a certified coin from a reputable seller