Before Christian Gobrecht’s Liberty Gold Quarter Eagle was introduced in 1840, mintage of the denomination had been sporadic and no design had been able to capture the public’s interest. Gobrecht’s design, however, had already built a following with its appearance on the Liberty Gold Eagle in 1838 and on the Half Eagle the following year.
The Liberty Quarter Eagle was produced with the same design for 33 years, the longest of any U. S. coin. The mints in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Dahlonega, New Orleans, and San Francisco all contributed to the Quarter Eagle’s total mintage that endured through 67 tumultuous years.
Mintage numbers for the Liberty Quarter Eagle, however, fell far short of those for its sister Eagle and Half Eagle. The Philadelphia mintages from 1850 to 1857 and in 1861 were by far the highest with only a few other 19th century issues surpassing 100,000. Production of the branch mints in the years leading up to the Civil War was especially low. Shortly after the government stopped redeeming paper money for gold, production in Philadelphia plummeted as well.
Production of Liberty Quarter Eagles remained anemic even after the resumption of specie payment in 1879. Thanks to European hoarding, however, there is a reasonable supply of post-war Quarter Eagles to hold prices down. Coins graded MS-65 and above are usually found only with dates later than 1892.
The size and denomination of the $2.50 Liberty Quarter Eagle made them very popular while in circulation, yet the vast array of issue varieties include an unusual number of true rarities to challenge even the most intrepid numismatists. Fortunately for investors, there are also many common-date Liberty Quarter Eagles that are well-suited to any portfolio.
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