Archive for January, 2013

Long May She Rule

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

With the exception of the George Washington Quarters, the Seated Liberty Quarter of 1838-1891 is the longest running quarter dollar issued in the nation’s history. The series can be divided into eight different subtypes, with each containing a number of different mint issues such as coins struck at Philadelphia, San Francisco, Carson City, and New Orleans.

The original series ran from 1838 to 1840 and is distinguished by the lack of drapery hanging down from the arm to the knee of figure of Liberty on the obverse.  From 1840-1853, drapery was added and continued throughout the remainder of the series.

In 1853, a change in the weight of United States coinage led to the addition of a matched set of arrows on each side of the date to denote a change in weight and a background of rays was added to the reverse behind the rampant eagle and shield motif. The third change came in the next year and ran from 1854 to 1855, wherein the reverse side rays were deleted from the design.

From 1856 to 1865, the weight change arrows were dropped from the date on the obverse side of the coin. With the close of the Civil War, a new change was introduced with the 1866 mintings and running until 1873. This was a scroll added over the eagle on the reverse and containing the now familiar motto: In God We Trust.

In 1873, the previously deleted arrows made a sudden reappearance. This change proved short-lived and was dropped after the 1874 issue. Starting in 1874, the Seated Liberty reverted to the 1866 design with motto above the eagle but no arrows on the obverse. This was the final design change and lasted until the introduction of the new Barber Quarter Dollar in 1892.

Considering the various years, designs and mints, collecting Seated Liberty Quarters can involve 54 different specimens, with the rarest being the 1873-CC No Arrows, of which only 6 are known to exist.