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1821 QUARTER EAGLE - 1821 QUARTER EAGLE CAPPED BUST
1821 Quarter Eagle

1821 Quarter Eagle - After a hiatus of 13 years, quarter eagle production resumed. The 1821 Quarter Eagle issue was redesigned with a Capped Head of Liberty replacing the Capped Bust design. The coin was designed by Robert Scot because John Reich had left the job of assistant engraver in 1817. He had received no raise or promotion in the time he worked at the Mint. Scot, whose eyesight was failing, is credited with making the major punches, Liberty’s head and the eagle. It’s possible that a contract engraver or another assistant added the other design elements.

The coin shows a capped head of Liberty facing left. She is encircled with thirteen six-pointed stars; the date is below the truncation. LIBERTY is inscribed on the headband of her Phrygian cap. Her hair falls beneath her cap in luxurious curls. The reverse is similar to Reich’s design with a heraldic eagle facing left. Its mouth is opened and its wings are outstretched. However, its feathers are more even and less ragged than on the previous type. A banner above its head bears the motto E PLUIBUS UNUM. In its claws it holds the arrows and olive branch, symbols of preparedness and peace. Below the eagle is the denomination written 2 ½ D. The whole is surrounded by the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA interrupted by the wing tips. Dentils are at the periphery of both sides and the edge is reeded.

With a mintage of 6,448, highest for the series, the 1821 quarter eagle would be rare under any circumstances today; however, many pre-1834 gold coins were melted for bullion. The 1834 Coinage Act provided that the value of gold was reduced in its relation to silver. The net effect was that coins minted prior to 1834 were worth a premium when converted to bullion, and it happened by the thousands.

Only one die pair was used to make the 1821 quarter eagle issue. It has small stars in a nearly complete circle around Liberty’s head. The "1s" in the date are both centered over dentils. The reverse has large letters. The fraction is distant with the numerator and denominator away from the fraction bar. The D of the denomination is large.

In total only 40 to 60 pieces are known in all conditions today. The coin has an R5 rarity rating. PCGS has certified 18 in all grades with 11 in Mint State and NGC has certified 20, 8 in Mint State. These numbers do not account for crossovers or resubmissions.

Specifications:
Weight: 4.37 grams
Composition: .9167 gold, .0833 silver and copper
Diameter: approximately 20 millimeters
Edge: reeded

Early Quarter Eagles



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