Quarter Eagle - The 1829
quarter eagle had an original mintage of 3,403
pieces. Because of the reduced diameter, the size of the design
and lettering had to decrease. For all of the quarter eagles
from 1829 to 1834, there were six obverse dies used with only
two reverses. For the most part, these gold pieces did not
circulate widely, and those that did traded at more than face
value. Since some federal legislators were able to receive
their pay in gold coin, and since some pieces were set aside
as gifts, we have survivors remaining today.
William Kneass, who became
Engraver after Scot’s death, was given the responsibility
of improving the coinage without redesigning it. He modified
the quarter eagle by reducing the size of the letters, dates,
and stars. He also changed the portrait of Liberty.
In 1828 a technical change
came to the Mint. Although no quarter eagles were made that
year, all other coins were made with a collar die, which ensured
a uniform diameter. Prior to this innovation, diameters varied
depending on the pressure of the coining press or the thickness
of the planchet. Previously the edge was finished with either
ornamentation, lettering, or as in the case of quarter eagles,
with reeding that was imparted in a separate process before
actual striking of the coin. The new collar had edge reeding
already cut into it. When the coin was struck, the metal flowed
into the grooves, which simultaneously crated reeding on the
coin. The new collar also gave the struck coins a higher rim
to protect the design. The 1829
quarter eagle was the first of the denomination
to use the new technology. Because the diameter became smaller,
the thickness increased.
Eight to the proofs of this
date are thought to exist; however, most of them are impaired.