Quarter Eagle - In 1834, 4,000 Capped
Head quarter eagleswere minted. Despite a
mintage nearly equal to others in the series, 4,000 for
1834 up to 4,540 for 1830, the last issue, the 1834 quarter
eagle, is the rarest date. Obviously the vast majority of
pieces were destroyed when the weight was reduced with the
Classic Head No Motto issue. Almost all Capped Head survivors
are in high grade with none certified below XF45. Like the
others in the series, only one die pair was used making
only one variety. It has 147 obverse dentils and 149 reverse.
John Reich designed the coin. It 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 the previous 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.
In its population report, PCGS shows 9 pieces
certified in all grades with 4 in Mint State, the finest
of which is a single MS63 example. NGC also has 9 certified
and its finest is an MS63 as well. These numbers do not
account for crossovers or resubmissions; however, they do
show why the 1834 quarter eagle has an R6 rarity rating.
Neither of the grading services has certified
a proof coin of this date, yet the specimen from the
Bass collection may have been a proof. The question that
has been raised is whether the coin is a proof or a deep
prooflike piece like many in the series.