Draped Bust Quarter: 1796-1807


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1796-1807
Number of Types: 2
Mints: Philadelphia
Composition: 0.8924 silver, 0.1076 copper
Diameter: 27.5 mm
Weight: 6.74 grams (0.1935 ounces of silver)
Total Mintage: approx. 561,045
Edge: reeded


Designed by Robert Scot, the quarter had a composition of 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper.

The obverse design depicts an idealized head of Liberty facing right, with flowing hair secured by a ribbon and the inscription LIBERTY appearing above the bust surrounded by 15 stars (13 stars from 1804 on).

The 15 stars were representative of the number of states in the Union during that time. Mint director Elias Boudinot, realized that they couldn't go on adding stars so starting with the 1804 obverse only thirteen stars became the standard representation of the original founding states of the union.

In 1796 the reverse design features a delicate or "small" eagle perched on a cloud, within an open olive wreath and the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Variety 1 Small Eagle).

From 1804 to 1807 the reverse was redesigned and features the Heraldic Eagle with arrows in one claw, an olive branch in the other and a banner in it's beak with the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM". Above the eagle design are 13 stars with an arc of clouds above the stars and the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" (Variety 2 Heraldic Eagle).

There were no mint marks as all the coins were minted at the Philadelphia mint.


General Market Notes

Few coins have survived over the years and have thus created a rarity among collectors today but not an impossible feat to obtain a low grade specimen of the Type 2 designs. The Type 1 design will prove more difficult both financially and finding one that is available. Additionally, they Type 1 design is the key to the series. The key to the Type 2 designs is the 1804 issue.

If you have a limited budget then try a low grade (AG or G) specimen from 1805 or 1807.

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