The United States quarter has had quite the history. There have been many different designs over the years and changes are still continuing today. Despite the fact that the production of the first United States quarter was approved in 1792, the US mint did not begin producing the coin until 1796. There have been many different quarter designs over the years, but the first one was remarkably beautiful and simple and is most commonly referred to as the the “draped bust” design.
The first U.S. quarter was pounded and released by the mint in 1796. There was not much
need for a quarter dollar, so in the first release the US mint only produced 6,000 coins. Until 1796 no other countries used coins that were 1/4th the value of their main denomination; most other countries used coins that were 1/5th the value. Quarter production increased steadily in the 1800′s when people began to get more comfortable with seeing and using quarters. The initial design with the “draped bust” was only used from 1796 until 1804. The bust side of the coin was kept the same but the eagle side was changed slightly with the most noticeable difference being the addition of a scroll held in the Eagle’s mouth which read “E Pluribus Unum”.
In 1815, quarters were minted with yet another new design which was known as the “capped bust”. The new design started the beginning of several minor changes to the design of US quarters over the next 70 years. In 1892, a new and much different design was introduced. Quarters produced between 1892 and 1916 are known as “Barber” quarters, named after the designer and Chief US mint engraver Charles Barber. The design that most of us are most familiar with, George Washington on one side, an eagle on the other, was first produced in 1930 and has only undergone only minor design changes since.
A mint condition 1794 quarter can be worth up to $100,000 while more worn examples can fetch around $7,500.
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