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Draped Bust Quarter, Heraldic Eagle (1804-1807) | CoinWeek

1804 Draped Bust Quarter. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1804 Draped Bust Quarter. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

In stark contrast to today, when quarters and pennies are the most commonly used change-making coins, quarters were seldom seen in the early 1800s and infrequently requested by depositors at the United States Mint.

The quarter dollar was the last denomination enumerated in the Mint Act of 1792 to be produced, with the first emission of 6,146 coins taking place in 1796. The 1796 Draped Bust Quarter would be the only quarter to carry the Small Eagle reverse, the only quarter produced in the 18th century, and the only quarter struck until 1804, when a slightly larger mintage of 6,738 coins took place, this time with the new Heraldic Eagle reverse. The Heraldic Eagle design was a medallic interpretation of the Great Seal of the United States, but with the olive branch and bundle of arrows depicted in the opposite (and heraldically incorrect) talons.

After the low mintage of 1804, production increased in each of the next three years, culminating in nearly 250,000 quarter dollars struck in 1807. In spite of this increased production in the later years of the design, quarters still did not circulate extensively. Quarter production again stopped after 1807, and did not resume until the 1815 Capped Bust Quarter was struck in December of that year.

How Much Are Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Reverse Quarters Worth?

Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Quarters are somewhat affordable up to low VF grades, strongly advancing in price above that into Mint State classifications. Mint State coins are generally rare, particularly as Gem and finer. Census/population reports show several hundred certified coins for each year, with the lowest number for the low-mintage 1804. Reflecting mintage totals, coins dated 1804 are expensive in all grades. The 1806/5 overdate is the best known variety, maintaining price parity with regular issues until Mint State where it sells for steadily advancing premiums.

Extended Coverage of the Draped Bust Quarter on CoinWeek

 

In the video above, former American Numismatic Association (ANA) President Gary Adkins discusses the Draped Bust Quarter series and offers some tips to collectors.

Design

Obverse:

The obverse features a right-facing classical portrait of Liberty with long flowing hair tied at the back with a multi-part ribbon. Loosely folded clothing drapes over her shoulders and across the accented bust. Inside a denticulated rim is a concentric ring comprised of the word LIBERTY at the top, the date at the bottom, and 13 six-pointed stars split seven to the left and six to the right.

Reverse:

The reverse displays a centered eagle with outstretched wings, head turned to the right (viewer’s left), clutching a sheaf of arrows in the dexter claw (viewer’s left) and an olive branch in the sinister claw. A shield covers most of the eagle’s body, and a flowing banner looped around the eagle’s lower beak displays the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The banner extends past the eagle’s wings in front of the right wing and behind the left wing. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles inside a denticulated rim, with the 25 C. denomination at the bottom, “25” to the left of the eagle’s tail and “C.” to the right. The tips of the eagle’s wings extend nearly to the rim, separating the words of the legend. Above the eagle are 13 small six-pointed stars, generally arranged in three arcing rows with six in the top row. Between the stars and STATES OF are stylistic clouds, said to represent divine protection. No mintmark is shown on the coin.

Varieties

The best known are an 1806/5 overdate and an 1806 with the “C” of 25 C. punched over an “A”. Other, more minor die variations have been identified.

Coin Specifications

Draped Bust Quarter, Heraldic Eagle
Years of Issue: 1804-07
Mintage (Circulation): High: 220,643 (1807); Low: 6,738 (1804)
Alloy: 89.24% silver, 10.76% copper
Weight: ±6.74 g
Diameter: ±27.50 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Robert Scot
REV Designer: Robert Scot

 

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References

Bowers, Q. David. The Experts Guide to Collecting & Investing in Rare Coins. Whitman Publishing.

–. A Guide Book of United States Type Coins. Whitman Publishing.

Breen, Walter. Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins. Doubleday.

Guth, Ron and Jeff Garrett. United States Coinage: A Study by Type. Whitman Publishing.

Taxay, Don. The U.S. Mint and Coinage. Arco Publishing.

Yeoman, R.S. and Jeff Garrett (editor). The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins. Whitman Publishing.

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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