OverviewThe first $2.50 Quarter Eagle was authorized by Congress April 2, 1792, when the $5 Half Eagle gold coin was also authorized.It has gone through several design changes. In 1840 Christian Gobrecht redesigned the $2.50 gold coin to create the $2.50 Liberty, also referred to as the $2.50 Coronet. Struck from 1841-1907, this is the longest-term design without a major alteration in American coinage history, though some small changes were made to the reverse.
Design$2.50 Liberty design matches the larger gold coins of the day, such as the $10 and $20 Liberty gold coins. Like the other Liberty gold coins, the obverse (front) features Lady Liberty, whose hair is worn in a tight bun secured by a string of beads, and who has loose curls hanging draping her neck. Her coronet is inscribed “Liberty,” and 13 stars for the 13 original colonies and the issue date surround her.The reverse shows a bald eagle with spread wings, standing among olive branches. The eagle clutches three arrows in his talons and has a shield with stars and stripes over his chest. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” the denomination and the mint mark surround the eagle.
MintingThe Philadelphia Mint produced $2.50 Liberty gold coins during the coin’s entire circulation, 1840-1907. Before the Civil War, additional pieces were struck at Charlotte, Dahlonega and New Orleans. The San Francisco Mint struck $2.50 Liberty coins occasionally in 1854 and later.
Special IssueIn 1848, the military governor of California sent 230 ounces of pure gold to his secretary of war. This gold was minted into Quarter Eagles with “CAL” above the eagle on the reverse.