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Capped Bust Quarters (1815-1838)

Capped Bust Quarters

Variety 1 - Large Diameter (1815-1828): Designer: John Reich. Weight: 6.74 grams. Composition: .8924 silver, .1076 copper. Approx diameter: 27 mm. Reeded edge. Mints: Philadelphia.

Variety 2 - Reduced Diameter (1831-1838), Motto Removed: Designer: William Kneass. Weight: 6.74 grams. Composition: .8924 silver, .1076 copper. Approx Diameter: 24.3 mm. Reeded Edge. Mints: Philadelphia. Changed to 6.68 grams, .900 fine in 1837.

The Capped Bust Quarter was designed by John Reich. It is similar to his Capped Bust half dollar. The quarter shows a plump, capped head of Liberty in profile facing left. She wears a LIBERTY inscribed headband. Seven six-pointed stars are to the left and six are to the right with the date below. The reverse shows the heraldic eagle looking left with wings raised. Above the eagle, on a banner, is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The required inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the coin, and the denomination written as 25 C. is below.

John Reich, a skilled engraver, was born in Bavaria and came to the United States around 1800. In order to finance his passage, he sold himself into servitude. President Thomas Jefferson recommended that Reich be hired as an engraver at the Mint in 1801. When he was serving in Washington’s Cabinet, Jefferson was in charge of the Mint as Secretary of State. While in France, Jefferson developed a working knowledge of the minting process.

Reich was hired for other duties, but he eventually became an engraver. He had a superb eye for the complicated aesthetics of coin engraving. At this time his freedom was purchased by an unknown mint official. Although Chief Engraver Robert Scot designed most of the coins at the mint since 1794, it was said that Reich had much more talent and ability than Scot.




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