United States currency/25¢

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A quarter dollar is a coin worth 1/4 of a United States dollar, or 25 cents. The quarter has been produced since 1796, and is the highest denomination U.S. coin commonly in circulation.

It is sometimes referred to as two bits because two bits of a Spanish Reales coin, which was often used in the early years of the United States, made up a quarter of a dollar's value.

25¢ Of The United States Of America[edit | edit source]

  • Value: 0.25 U.S. dollar

  • Mass: 5.670 g (0.182 troy oz)
  • Diameter: 24.26 mm (0.955 in)
  • Thickness: 1.75 mm (0.069 in)

  • Edge: 119 reeds
  • Composition: 91.67% Cu, 8.33% Ni

  • Years of Minting: 1796, 1804-1807, 1815-1828, 1831-1930, 1932–present


  • Design: George Washington
  • Designer: John Flanagan (1932 version) / William Cousins (modification to Flanagan's design)
  • Design Date: 1999


Design: State Designs Designer: Various Designers Design Date: 1999–2008

List Of Designs[edit | edit source]

Silver Quarters[edit | edit source]

  • Draped Bust, Small Eagle 1796
  • Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle 1804–1807
  • Capped Bust (Large Size), With Motto 1815–1828
  • Capped Bust (Small Size), No Motto 1831–1838

Seated Liberty[edit | edit source]

The "Seated Liberty" designs appeared on most regular-issue silver United States coinage during the mid- and late-nineteenth century, from 1836 through 1891. The denominations which featured the Seated Liberty design included the half dime, the dime, the quarter, the half dollar, and the silver dollar. Another coin that appeared exclusively in the Seated Liberty design was the twenty cent piece. This coin was produced from 1875 to 1878, and was discontinued because it looked very similar to the quarter. Seated Liberty coinage was minted at the main United States Mint in Philadelphia, as well as the branch mints in New Orleans, San Francisco, and Carson City.

Basic Design[edit | edit source]
Obverse[edit | edit source]

The basic obverse design of the Seated Liberty coinage consisted of the figure of the goddess Liberty clad in a flowing dress and seated upon a rock. In her left hand, she held a pole surmounted by a liberty cap, which had been a pre-eminent symbol of freedom during the movement of Neoclassicism. Although it had fallen out of favor in Europe by 1830, Neoclassicism remained in vogue in the United States until after the American Civil War. Liberty's right hand rested on the top corner of a striped shield with a diagonal banner inscribed with the word "LIBERTY." The shield represented preparedness in the defense of freedom. The date of the coin appeared on the bottom below Liberty.

Reverse[edit | edit source]

The basic reverse design of Seated Liberty coins depended on the denomination. The size of half dimes and dimes necessitated a smaller array of elements. On these coins, the reverse consistently featured a wreath around the words "HALF DIME" or "ONE DIME". Before 1860, this wreath consisted of laurel leaves, a traditional Neoclassical image, but beginning that year, the wreath was enlarged and was filled not only with leaves, but also traditional American agricultural products, such as corn and wheat. On quarter, half dollars, and silver dollar coins, the reverse featured a central eagle about to take flight, with a striped shield upon its breast. The eagle clutched an olive branch of peace in its right talons and a group of arrows in its left talons. Above the eagle around the rim were the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and below the eagle around the rim lay the coin denomination. Beginning in 1866 the coins featured a ribbon with the motto "In God We Trust" above the eagle.

Modifications[edit | edit source]
Stars[edit | edit source]

When the first Seated Liberty half dimes and dimes appeared in 1837, the obverse contained no stars. The next year, the coins featured thirteen six-pointed stars around the rim, commemorating the original thirteen colonies.

Drapery[edit | edit source]

The Seated Liberty coins featured a few minor design changes over the years. Around 1840 (the exact date depends upon the denomination), extra drapery was added to Liberty's left elbow.

Arrows And Rays[edit | edit source]

In 1853 and 1873, the U.S. Mint changed the weight of each denomination of silver coins. Both times, arrows were added to the coins on each side of the date. These were removed from coins in 1856 and 1875, respectively. In 1853, the mint also placed rays around the eagle on the reverse of half dollars and quarters, a feature which endured for that one year only.

Legend And Mintmarks[edit | edit source]

In 1860 the U.S. Mint eliminated the stars on the obverse of Seated Liberty half dimes and dimes, replacing them with the legend "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," which had previously appeared around the wreath on the reverse of the coins. Before this time, half dimes and dimes minted in New Orleans and San Francisco had featured their mintmarks inside the wreaths. Afterwards, the "O" and "S" (and, later, the "CC" for Carson City) mintmarks were located below the wreath next to the rim. On quarters, half dollars, and silver dollars, the mintmarks were always placed below the eagle but above the coin currency on the reverse.

Barber[edit | edit source]

Liberty Head ("Barber") designs appeared on United States minor silver coinage (the dime, quarter, and half dollar) from 1892 to 1916. They derive their common name from their designer, Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber.

Origins[edit | edit source]

In 1887, Mint Director James P. Kimball included a statement in his annual report to the United States Congress requesting a coinage redesign. He proposed a process whereby distinguished artists would be invited to participate in the design process, and, in 1890, the United States Department of the Treasury asked ten eminent American artists to submit design proposals for minor silver coinage. However, this plan proved unworkable when the artists made financial demands that the Treasury was unwilling to meet. The next effort was a contest open to the public, but none of the designs submitted in this manner were satisfactory to the Mint. Ultimately, it fell to Charles Barber to create new designs for silver coinage. He did so, and the designs were first placed into production in 1892.

Basic Design[edit | edit source]
Obverse[edit | edit source]

The basic obverse design of the Barber silver coinage consisted of a Liberty head with a cap and wreath. This figure was inspired both by classical Greek and Roman models and by the designs of various 19th-century French coinage. The word "LIBERTY" appeared on the headband in incuse; since it wears relatively quickly in circulation, it is often used by numismatists to help determine the condition of circulated coins. The Liberty head is flanked by six stars on the left and seven on the right, and the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" appears above it. The date is centered below the figure.

Reverse[edit | edit source]

There were two basic reverse designs on Barber coinage. The dime featured a wreath of American agricultural products with the words "ONE DIME" in the center. The mint mark, if any, was positioned below the wreath. This reverse design differed little from that of the old Seated Liberty dime.

On the quarter and half dollar, a heraldic eagle, similar to that featured on the Great Seal of the United States, is the central design element, with "QUARTER DOLLAR" or "HALF DOLLAR" and the mint mark (if any) located beneath it. As on the Great Seal, the eagle carries a banner in its beak reading "E PLURIBUS UNUM", and the amount of the motto visible is helpful to numismatic graders in determining the condition of circulated specimens. A field of 13 stars (the same number as on the obverse, representing the 13 original American colonies) appears above the eagle, and on the top edge, "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" is inscribed.

Collectible Barber coins[edit | edit source]

Although the Barber series contains few mint marks or other aberrations, the 1894-S Barber Dime is one of the most valuable coins ever produced by the United States. Only 24 were produced. Of those, only nine remain, one of which sold for $1.9 million in 2007.

Standing Liberty[edit | edit source]

The Standing Liberty Quarter was issued from 1916 to 1930 by the United States Mint. The Standing Liberty Quarter was designed by Hermon Atkins MacNeil, who won a competition to redesign the coin. Type One (1916–1917) featured Liberty on the obverse and an American eagle in flight on the reverse. Liberty carries an upraised shield in her left hand and an olive branch in her right hand; most notably, this coin was the only circulating coin to feature Liberty with a bared breast.

The following year, a Liberty, Type 2 (1917–1930) was issued with several design changes, most notably covering Liberty's chest with chain mail and the addition of three stars on the reverse under the eagle. A popular numismatic story is that the design was changed because of a public outcry regarding Liberty's bared breast. However, very little historical evidence supports this.

Early Standing Liberty quarters had the date too high and so it quickly wore off, although chemical treatment can sometimes bring back the numbers. For the collector this creates particular problems for the two rare issues of the series, the 1916 and the 1918/7-S. While the 1917 Type One issue is quite common, the previous year there was a very low mintage of only 52,000. Although some of these early pieces were quickly saved from circulation, this was not the case with the overstruck date issued two years later. In higher grades this is one of the most expensive circulating U.S. coins of the 20th century. In 1925 the date was recessed into the step, allowing the coin rim to protect it from wear. Evidently this modification did cause the dates to withstand circulation better, since pre-1925 dates fetch prices many times higher than post-1925 dates, even given roughly equal mintage numbers in the same state of preservation.

  • Standing Liberty (Type 2) 1917–1930
  • Washington 1932–1964, 1992–present (Proof Only)
  • Washington Bicentennial 1975–1976 (all were dated 1776-1976) (40% Silver-clad Proof, not intended for circulation)
  • Washington Statehood special silver quarters

Copper-Nickel (Clad) Quarters[edit | edit source]

  • Copper-nickel quarters
  • Washington 1965–1974, 1977–1998
  • Washington Bicentennial 1975–1976 (all were dated 1776-1976)
  • Washington statehood 1999–present

Current Design[edit | edit source]

The current clad version is cupronickel (8.33% Ni and the balance Cu), weighs 5.670 grams (0.2000 avoirdupois oz, 0.1823 troy oz), diameter 0.955 inches (24.26 mm), width 1.75 millimeters (0.069 in) with a reeded edge. Owing to the introduction of the clad quarter in 1965, it was occasionally called a "Johnson Sandwich," after Lyndon B. Johnson, U.S. President at the time. It currently costs 4.29 cents to produce each coin. Before 1965, quarters contained 90% silver, 10% copper. Early quarters (before 1828) were slightly larger in diameter and thinner than the current coin.

The current regular issue coin is the Washington quarter (showing George Washington) on the obverse. The reverse featured an eagle prior to the 1999 50 State Quarters Program. The Washington quarter was designed by John Flanagan. It was initially issued as a circulating commemorative, but was made a regular issue coin in 1934.

In 1999, the 50 State Quarters program of circulating commemorative quarters began; these have a modified Washington obverse and a different reverse for each state. The regular Washington quarter's production is temporarily suspended during this program. A redesign is possible after the end of the state quarter program; Congress in recent years has ordered the Treasury to redesign the Lincoln cent, Jefferson nickel, and Sacagawea dollar in addition to the quarter. In all cases, though, the original honoree has been retained either in the redesign or in a parallel issue. Thus, it seems very likely that any redesign would continue to feature Washington.

On January 23, 2007, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 392 extending the state quarter program one year to 2009, to include the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories large enough to merit non-voting Congressional representatives: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The bill passed through the Senate and was signed into legislation by President Bush on December 27, 2007. The typeface used in the state quarter series varies a bit from one state to another, but is generally derived from Albertus.

Silver Series[edit | edit source]

The current rarity for the Washington Quarter silver series are as follows: Branch Mintmarks are; D = Denver, S = San Francisco. Coins without mintmarks are all made at the main Mint in Philadelphia. This listing is for Business strikes, not the Proofs.

  • 1932 D
  • 1932 S
  • 1934 - with Double Die Obverse (DDO)
  • 1935 D
  • 1936 D
  • 1937 - with Double Die Obverse (DDO)
  • 1937 S
  • 1938 S
  • 1939 S
  • 1940 D
  • 1942 D - with Double Die Obverse (DDO)
  • 1942 D - with Double Die Reverse (DDR)
  • 1943 - with Double Die ?
  • 1943 S - with Double Die Obverse (DDO)
  • 1950 D/S Over mintmark ( coin is a '50-D, with underlying S mintmark )
  • 1950 S/D Over mintmark ( coin is a '50-S, with underlying D mintmark )
  • 1955 D

The 1940 Denver Mint, 1936 Denver mint, and the 1935 Denver Mint coins as well as many others in the series, appear as much more valuable than other coins not because of their mintages, but because they are harder to find in high grades. Many of these coins are worth only "melt value" in low grades, or only their notoriety value for some who wish to obtain these coins because they appear too expensive in better condition. Other coins in this list are expensive because of their extremely low mintages, such as the 1932 Denver and San Francisco issues. The overstruck mintmark issues are also scarce and expensive, especially in higher grades, but don't have the same popularity as overdates, which are found in pre-Washington quarter series.

The 1934 Philadelphia strike appears in two versions, one with a light motto (for "In God We Trust"), which is the same as that used on the 1932 strikings, and the other a heavy motto when the dies were reworked. Except in the highest grades the difference in value between the two is minor.

The "Silver Series" of Washington Quarters spans from 1932 to 1964; during many years in the series it will appear that certain mints did not mint Washington Quarters for that year. No known examples of quarters were made in 1933, San Francisco abstained in 1934 and 1949, and stopped after 1955, until it made proofs in 1968. Denver did not make quarters in 1938, and Philadelphia never stopped (except in 1933). Proof examples from 1936 to 1942 and 1950 to 1967 were struck in the Philadelphia Mint and in 1968 switched to the San Francisco Mint.

The mint mark on the coin is located on the reverse beneath the wreath on which the eagle is perched, and will either carry the mint mark "D" for Denver Mint, "S" for San Francisco mint, or be blank for the Philadelphia Mint.

Copper-Nickel Clad Series[edit | edit source]

The copper-nickel clad series of Washington Quarters started in 1965, and as part of the switch Denver and San Francisco did not stamp their mint marks from 1965 to 1967 in any denomination. The switch from silver to copper-nickel clad occurred because the federal government was losing money due to the fact that the silver value of U.S. coins had exceeded their face value and were being melted down by individuals for profit. For the first three years of clad production, in lieu of proof sets, specimen sets were specially sold as "Special Mint Sets" minted at the San Francisco Mint in 1965, 1966, and 1967 (Deep Cameo versions of these spectacular coins are highly valued because of their rarity).

As it is right now there are few examples in the clad series that are valued as highly as the silver series but there are certain dates or examples that stand out. The Deep Cameo versions of proofs from 1965 to 1971 and 1981 Type Two are highly valued because of their scarcity, high grade examples of quarters from certain years of the 1980s (such as 1981-1986) because of scarcity in high grades due to high circulation and in 1982 and 1983 no mint sets were produced making it harder to find mint state examples, and any coin from 1981-1994 graded in MS67 is worth upwards of $1000.

The mint mark on the coin is located on the obverse at the bottom right hemisphere under the supposed date. In 1965-1967 cupro-nickel coins bore no mint mark; quarters minted in 1968-1979 were stamped with a "D" for the Denver mint, a "S" for the San Francisco mint (proof coins only), or blank for Philadelphia. Starting in 1980, the Philadelphia mint was allowed to add its mint mark to all coins except the one-cent piece. Twenty-five-cent pieces minted from 1980 until the present are stamped with "P" for the Philadelphia mint, "D" for the Denver mint, or "S" for San Francisco mint (proof coins only).

-km 12:07, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

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