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4 Fascinating Facts about $2.50 Gold Quarter Eagle Coins

4 Fascinating $2.50 Quarter Eagle Gold Coin Facts

The gold quarter eagles minted between 1796 and 1839 are perhaps less well-known to the general public than later coins. Collectors, on the other hand, know and appreciate these $2.50 gold coins and seek to assemble sets and individual coins to add to their collections. Among these coins are four main designs with many varieties. Here are the basics you need to know if buying or selling these gold coins.

History of Gold Quarter Eagle Coins

The Coinage Act of 1792 set up the plan for minting ten-dollar eagle coins, as well as derivatives, such as the gold quarter eagles. In 1796, the first gold quarter eagles were struck. These coins were produced from 1796 to 1808 and then from 1821 to 1839, using four different designs.

After that, the Mint continued to produce gold quarter eagles – the Liberty Head and the Indian Head quarter eagles. However, this article focuses on the earlier-minted quarter eagles produced from 1796 to 1839.

Four Coins to Sell or Add to Your Collection

If you are looking to add variety to your coin collection, the gold quarter eagles minted between 1796 and 1839 are great options. These coins range dramatically in their value so that they can fit various budgets. In addition, assembling a complete collection can be extremely challenging.

That means anyone selling these coins should be able to find a willing buyer. Each of these main types of coins below is well worth spending the time to properly research before buying or selling.

$2.50 Capped Bust Right

Robert Scot created the design referred to as  Capped Bust to Right or Turban Head to Right. Scot used an image of Lady Liberty facing right and wearing a turban-like cap. In 1796 only, the Capped Bust to Right coin had no stars on the obverse. Later that year, the stars were added. The Capped Bust to Right coins had a total mintage of 19,487 coins during their eight-plus years. The most valuable of these coins is the 1804 13-Star reverse with an unknown mintage with values beginning in the solid five figure range.

Draped Bust 2.50 quarter eagle gold coin
$2.50 Draped Bust Left

$2.50 Draped Bust Left

In 1808, the gold quarter eagles got their first major redesign. The new image, called the Draped Bust to Left or Capped Bust Large Size, featured Lady Liberty wearing a more traditional cap. This design, created by John Reich, would only last a year before the production of gold quarter eagles was discontinued until 1821. A total of 2,710 coins were produced in 1808.

$2.50 Capped Bust

1821 Capped Bust $2.50 gold coin
1821 2.50 Capped Bust Gold

A final version of the Capped Bust was created by Robert Scot for the new gold quarter eagle coins in 1821. These coins had a reduced size and weight, and in 1829, it was altered again to reduce the size of the letters and stars. The lowest minted, and subsequently most valuable of the $2.50 Capped Bust gold coins was produced in 1826 with a mintage of only 760 coins.

$2.50 Classic Head

William Kneass designed the Classic Head gold quarter eagle coins. This image of Lady Liberty depicts her as a young woman with a ribbon in her long, curly hair. Interestingly, these are referred to as “No Motto on Reverse” since E Pluribus Unum was omitted from the design.

Eventually, there was a push to make coin designs more uniform between denominations. So, this coin type was discontinued to make way for the 1840 Liberty Head gold quarter eagle coins. For those interested in learning more about $2.50 Liberty Head gold coins, we recommend that you read Liberty Head Quarter Eagles: Facts for Buyers and Sellers of $2.50 Gold Coins.


Basic Coin Facts for These Four $2.50 Gold Coins


Capped Bust to Right Draped Bust to Left (Capped Bust, Large Size) Capped Head to Left (Large Diameter) Classic Head


1796-1807 1808 1821-1834 1834-1839


Robert Scot

John Reich

Robert Scot

William Kneass and Christian Gobrecht







4.5 grams

4.5 grams

4.37 grams

4.18 grams


.9167 fine gold

.9167 fine gold

.9167 fine gold

.8992 fine gold in 1834-1836, then

.900 fine gold






Mintmarks No Mintmark (Philadelphia) No Mintmark (Philadelphia) No Mintmark (Philadelphia)

No Mintmark (Philadelphia), C (Charlotte) 1838-1839, O (New Orleans) 1839, D (Dahlonega) 1839

Key Date Gold Quarter Eagle Coins

Gold quarter eagle coins have value no matter what year they were minted. However, the values of certain $2.50 gold coins minted between 1796 and 1839 can be exceedingly great. The following are a few additional key date coins to watch for as you build your collection or prepare to sell your coins.

1796 With Stars/No Stars

1796 no stars vs stars
1796 no stars vs stars

The 1796 Capped Bust to Right had two different varieties. One has stars on the obverse while the other does not. Interestingly, although there was only one year when the coins contained no stars, the No Star variety is actually more common than the With Stars variety.

1803 Gold Quarter Eagles

1803 Quarter Eagle

The year 1803 was a very low mintage year, with only 423 quarter eagle gold coins being produced. This makes it a rare and valuable find.

1808 Capped Bust to Left Gold Quarter Eagle Coins

As a one-year design, the 1808 Draped Bust to Left, a.k.a. Capped Bust to Left, has an incredibly high degree of rarity. At present, experts believe only 132 of these coins still survive in any grade, with only nine surviving at MS-60 or better and only one at MS-65 or better. In fact, the highest known example of this coin received an MS-65 grade and sold at auction in 2015 for $2,350,000.

1808 Capped Bust Quarter Eagle
1808 Quarter Eagle

The 1808 gold quarter eagle coins not only have a unique and interesting design, but their rarity ensures that they will always be well worth having in your collection.

Gold Quarter Eagle Varieties and Errors

Among these gold quarter eagle coins, there are some notable varieties and errors.

  • In 1804, some of the gold quarter eagle coins had 13 stars, while others had 14 stars on the reverse.
  • 1806 coins had two overstrikes – 6 over 4 and 6 over 5.
  • 1824 had a 4 over 1 overstrike, while 1826 had a 6 over 6 overstrike.
  • 1836 has both script 8 and block 8 varieties.

    1806 6 over 6 and 6 over 5
    Example of 6 over 4 and 6 over 5 error

While these differences can add to the value of gold quarter eagle coins, remember that any coin from within the years 1796 to 1839 is going to be valuable and will be in demand when the time comes to sell it. As pre-1933 coins, they are sure to be in short supply and in high demand for the long term.



For help recognizing or an appraisal, talk to us at Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers. We can help you determine what you have and what it is worth if you are considering a sale. Buyers are also welcome to contact us about these gold quarter eagle coins. If we do not currently have any in our inventory, we may be able to source the coin that you’re looking for.

Give us a call or email today to schedule an appointment!

Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers







Tony Davis
Tony Davis