Early United States
The Mint Act is passed. Along with the other denominations, the quarter dollar is specified for the first time.
Joseph Wright engraves 1792 dated pattern dies for the quarter denomination. After several trial strikes, the dies cracked during hardening and no regular production coins were made from these dies. Wright would fall victim to the annual visit of Yellow Fever in September of 1793, cutting short a promising career as our first Mint Engraver.
Silver coins are struck for the first time for general circulation, as the Assayer and Chief Coiner were finally able to post bonds to be able to handle the bullion. Quarters were not needed and more than likely were unwanted, due to the large amounts of Spanish Colonial 2 Reales that were already in circulation, therefore none were struck at this time.
Chief Engraver Robert Scot, along with assistant engraver John Smith Gardiner, engrave new quarter master dies and produce working dies for the first time. These dies, as spelled out in the Mint Act, consist of a representation of liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. They also contain 15 stars on the obverse, to reflect the admission of the state of Kentucky as the 15th state to enter the union in 1792, but do not state a denomination on the reverse.
The first United States quarters were delivered by Chief Coiner Henry Voigt, 1,800 pieces on warrant #61.
The last quarters for the year were delivered by the Chief Coiner.
A small amount of quarters (only 252, all dated 1796) were delivered on warrant # 81. This brought the final total of 1796 dated bust quarters produced to 6,146 coins. Bust quarters would not be struck again until 1804.
6,738 quarters were delivered by Chief Coiner Henry Voigt. These 1804 dated coins now show the standard 13 stars on the obverse and incorporated a new reverse die, that along with a heraldic eagle most likely taken from the Great Seal of the United States, now had a denomination stated as “25 C.”. This was more than likely due to the public having some confusion in using and making change with the previous 1796 quarters that had no denomination stated. The quarter denomination was the first to include a stated value on the reverse of the coin in the silver series. (The 1796 & 1797 half dollars are the only unexplained exception. as the halves produced before 1795 and from 1801 through 1807 did not state a value on the reverse only on the edge of the coin.)
A new obverse master die was engraved by Robert Scot and for the first time included the dentils. This advance in technology would only be used until 1807 and would not become a permanent part of the die making process until 1838.
The first delivery of bust quarters for the year, 80,300 pieces, may have been dated 1806, as the total struck in 1807 exceeds those struck in 1806. However, there are only two die marriages known with the 1807 date versus ten known with the 1806 date. This discrepancy leads one to suspect the striking of 1806 dated quarters in 1807 to account for this.
The last bust quarters struck for 1807 were delivered by the coiner. From late 1806, Congress had been debating a bill that proposed a new two-cent and a new twenty-cent denomination be struck. This would make the continued striking of the quarter denomination somewhat redundant. Due to the large amount of Spanish Colonial 2 Reales in circulation and possibly in anticipation of this bill passing, no more quarters were produced again until 1815.
A letter written by Bailly Blanchard, a cashier at the Planters Bank in New Orleans, asking that the whole amount of the bank’s silver deposit (worth a little over $14,371 after assaying) be struck in to “Quarter Dollars only”, is sent to the Mint Director. Patterson tries to persuade him to accept dimes or half dimes, but Blanchard persistently requests quarters in return for the bank’s deposit. After much trepidation, Mint Director Patterson finally acquiesced and had assistant Mint engraver John Reich engrave a new set of master dies for the quarter denomination. With this one request, the 1815 large capped bust quarter was born.
69,232 coins of the new design were finally struck and delivered by the coiner. 56,934 of these coins were shipped to New Orleans in payment to the Planters Bank for their bullion deposit, minus freight, insurance and portage.
20,003 more 1815 dated quarters were delivered by Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt. The next day a fire broke out in the building containing the planchet rolling and drawing machines, destroying this necessary equipment. This event would prevent the Mint from issuing any silver or gold coins for the next full year and bust quarters for over two years.
Quarters were struck once again and in larger numbers than ever before. With 10 die marriages, 1818 is tied with 1806 for the largest number of different die combinations found in a single dated year.
(Early in the year)
The reverse master die sustains damage on the scroll under the last S in PLURIBUS after three reverse working dies were produced.
(Early in the year)
The reverse master die sustains further damage, as the eagle’s center claw is broken off at the arrow shaft.
(Late in the year)
A new smaller size star punch is introduced for the obverse dies.
(Late in the year)
More damage occurs on the reverse master die with a section of the upper arrow shaft and the lower half of the lowest arrowhead breaking off. The blundered reverse working die showing a 25 over 5 over 50 in the denomination, first engraved in early 1818, is used for the first time.
The only delivery of 1823/2 dated quarters, 1,800 pieces, is made, creating an instant rarity.
Chief Engraver Robert Scot dies after a tenure of 30 years. Mint Director Robert Patterson temporarily hires Christian Gobrecht to work on coin dies. Due to this work, Gobrecht is most likely the one responsible for all of the over-dated dies found throughout all denominations in 1824 and some in 1825.
A 16,000 coin delivery from Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt on the last day of the year, most likely contained all 1824/2 dated quarters, as there are no delivery warrants for quarters in 1824.
William Kneass was commissioned as the new Chief Engraver to replace Robert Scot, more than likely based on the recommendation of Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt.
Chief Engraver William Kneass engraves new quarter dies for the first time (2 reverses). He over-dates two obverse dies with a 5, which were previously over-dated by Gobrecht with a 4, over a die already dated 1822. This created a jumble of digits consisting of a 5/4/2.
No quarters were struck for the first time since 1817.
A new screw press was purchased from Rush & Muhlenberg. Sometime this year the Mint struck off nine 1827/3/2 Proof Bust Quarters, but they were never released for public circulation.
4,000 quarters were delivered by the coiner (warrant #1133), however they were most likely all dated 1828.
The blundered reverse working die showing a 25 over 5 over 50 in the denomination, is used for the last time.
The last of the large capped bust type quarters were delivered by the coiner.
The cornerstone for a new mint building was laid. No bust quarters were struck in 1829 or 1830.
Mint Director Samuel Moore requests that the scroll motto on the reverse die be removed as being redundant. Permission was granted after Kneass had already produced several reverse working dies.
The first of the all new reduced size capped bust quarters utilizing the new “close” collar die technology are struck and delivered by Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt.
A new reverse master die is created showing a very different style eagle. Only one working die is made from this master and it has only two stripes in the shield instead of the normal three. Along with this, the reverse legend is heavily re-punched. This new reverse was more than likely the work of Christian Gobrecht and not William Kneass. This reverse die was used again in 1834 to create the very common 1834 B-1, listed in the Red Book as the O over F variety.
Another new unique reverse master die is created, most likely to strike the 1834 quarters for the "diplomatic gift sets" ordered by the State Dept. and delivered by envoy Edmund Roberts and partially distributed by the Spring of 1836. The reverse die was then used to strike the remainder of the 1834 B-2's, 1834 B-5's, and 1835 B-2's.
A Mint Act creating the new Branch Mints was passed. The dies for these mints would however, remain the responsibility of the Chief Engraver at the Mint in Philadelphia.
Chief Engraver William Kneass suffers a debilitating stroke. New Mint Director Robert M. Patterson requests the immediate hiring of Christian Gobrecht as a “Second” Engraver. Gobrecht begins work in early September.
The first quarters of the seated liberty type are struck, ending the era of the bust quarter. Before production of the new seated quarters began, 366,000 of the bust type were struck in 1838.