Classic Head Quarter Eagle or
Classic Head No Motto on Reverse quarter eagles were minted
from 1834 to 1839. William Kneass created the Classic Head
motif by using an earlier design by John Reich for the 1808
Kneass’ design shows
a youthful portrait of Liberty in profile facing left, her
curly hair bound with a LIBERTY inscribed ribbon. She is
surrounded by thirteen six-pointed stars with the date below.
The reverse shows the heraldic eagle perched on an olive
branch holding three arrows, its head facing left with its
wings upraised. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM that was on earlier
issues is no longer present. The required inscription UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA is around the edge of the design, and
the denomination written as 2 ½ D. is below. Dentils
are around the peripheries of both sides of the coin.
Because gold quarter eagles
did not circulate at face value, the Mint lowered the weight
requirement for gold coins in June 1834. Now at a weight
of 4.18 grams and a fineness of .8992 gold with a reduced
diameter, the quarter eagle circulated widely until the
beginning of the Civil War.
Specifications: Weight: 4.18 grams Composition: .8992 gold, .1008 silver and
copper (changed to .900 gold in 1837) Diameter: 18.2 millimeters Edge: reeded