Quarter Eagles: Coin Library

You have arrived at the Quarter Eagle section of our Coin Library. Below you will find additional information about the different designs of this coin.

The quarter eagle is a rather odd coin denomination. Most people have never seen or heard of this coin. Even during the time it was actively minted, the quarter eagle saw very little regular use. Its utility was further diminished by the existence of $1, $3, and (briefly) $4 gold coins in the U.S.

Liberty Head Quarter Eagle (1840–1907)

coronet liberty head $2.50 gold quarter eagle

Image via USA CoinBook

The Liberty Head (or Coronet) quarter eagle gold coin was designed by Chief Engraver Christian Gorecht in 1840 This was the longest-running design for America's $2.50 gold coin, running from 1840 to 1908.

Indian Head Quarter Eagle (1908–1929)

1925-D indian head $2.50 gold quarter eagle

Image via USA CoinBook

The $2.50 quarter eagle and $5 half eagle were supposed to be redesigned by eminent sculptor Augutus Saint-Gaudens. When Saint-Gaudens died of cancer in 1907, the task of redesigning the coins fell to Bela Lyon Pratt. A protege of Saint-Gaudens and an award-winning sculptor in his own right, Pratt's controversial design for the quarter- and half- eagle elevated the fields of the coin to portray a realistic Native American and Bald Eagle in sunken relief (incuse).

The Pratt cons were the first U.S. coins to feature a proper Native American portrait. Until this time, "Indian Head" coins had simply been a white Liberty wearing an imaginary headdress.

Production of the Indian Head quarter eagle ran from 1908 to 1929, with a nine-year gap between 1915 and 1925. The stock crash of 1929, which heralded the Great Depression, permanently ended quarter eagle and $5 half eagle production.

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