I. R. Bama's Blog

17 Oct 2020

The Capped Bust Quarter

Coins-United States | I. R. Bama

The inspiration for my decision to buy the four Capped Bust Half Dollars that I wrote about last week was due to my acquisition of a capped bust quarter last year. I really liked the design of the coin and it was affordable for me at the time. It was obtained by a private sale from a listing on Craigslist. I had a little trepidation about meeting someone in a town 50 miles away, so I made arrangements to see the coin and make the transaction in a local restaurant in a shopping center to reduce the risk. I was not worried about the coin being a counterfeit because it was slabbed and graded by NGC. This particular coin is a variety 2 1835 quarter in XF 40.

The history of the coin is interesting in that it was the first issue of a quarter since the Draped Bust Quarter series ended in 1807. No Quarters were minted from that date until the beginning of the Capped Bust series series began in 1815. This seems surprising and somewhat shocking if you think of our more modern era of the usage in quarters in daily commerce. Too often we view history by today's standards and fail to understand to accurately interpret history in view of standards and practices of that time. The reason that quarters were not needed for such a long period of time is that most commercial purchases were made in half cents and cents. They, along with half dimes and dimes were the most frequently held coins by the hoi polli (the common folks). Banks traded wealth for holdings in half dollars and to some extent quarters. So these coins represented quite a bit of wealth to be holding for an individual and generally not needed in daily life.

According to Redbook, Deluxe First Edition, the Capped Bust Quarter was designed by John Reich. Its design was preceded by Reich's Capped Bust Half dollar first introduced in 1807. There were two varieties, both had reeded edges and were minted in Philadelphia. Variety 1 has a larger diameter (~ 27 millimeters) and has the motto "E Pluribus Unum" on a scroll above the eagle's head on the reverse. These were minted from 1815 to 1828. The reason for the variation in diameter is that these coins were minted with an open collar. They weighed 6.74 grams, containing 0.8924 silver and 0.1076 copper.

After a two year gap in production, Variety 2 was introduced. Minted from 1831-1838, it was smaller. Its diameter was exactly 24.3 mm due to the introduction of the closed collar. It did not have the "E Pluribus Unum" motto. It weighed 6.74 grams and contained 0.8924 silver and 0.1076 copper through 1836. From 1837-1838 it weighed 6.68 grams and contained 0.900 silver and 0.100 copper.

Large diameter varieties vary in quality of strike while small diameter varieties are sharply struck. With the large varieties there can be confusion between identifying proof strikes from business strikes and a number were falsely attributed as proof by Walter Breen. Key dates for the Large Diameter are 1823/2 and 1827. All Small diameter varieties are readily available, while the large diameter coins are somewhat more difficult to obtain.



Level 5

Nothing quite some early 1800's silver. That looks like an excellent specimen. I only have 1 for my type set and it isn't as nice as that one.

The XF coins from early America are beautiful. The designs are what people would call "pretty" but holding that much wealth for an individual, and the history carries is worth far more than the beauty of the coin.


Level 4

These are really beautiful coins. We sometimes need to be reminded about values of different types of coins. I forget sometimes just how much money a quarter dollar was at that time. Thanks for the blog and photos, Later!


Level 5

Beautiful coin. I've never tried craigslist for coins. Quite the find though. Would love to have a few, but I dont.


Level 4

Great coins! I just worked my way to buy a capped bust half from @Big Nub Numismatics, Blog on that soon.


Level 5

Those old Bust coins are quite beautiful. I have a few myself and am always looking to add to them. Thanks for sharing.

Long Beard

Level 4

Your correlation on practices then and now brings a fresh insight to my thinking. Enjoyed that. The Capped Bust, to me, look more appealing in natural tones of gold and browns with some wear. Not to say that I wouldn't buy one otherwise mind you. Great coin and blog!


Level 5

You have some nice coins. It is always nice to have a passion for a coin series.


Level 4

These are some great coins, and have some great history! Cheers, NM


Level 6

I love this design. Just what I need, a new series to collect. Good plan for Craigslist. Can't be too careful. Great blog and photos. Thanks.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Just updated to include my XF 40 example graded by NGC

Mike B

Level 6

Great blog. Your going to get me spending again. I like the design. I like the history. But for me to buy it they have to catch my eye. They have done that. It's always good to look at books like the red book. You see a coin and bingo I want that I like that. To diversify I was told to do by my mentor I did. Sometimes it takes a while.But the coin will grow on you. Thanks for the help and information.

I love this design, I just wish I could get a Gold "Capped Bust" 🤑

We use cookies to provide users the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you agree to receive all cookies on money.org. You may disable cookies at any time using your internet browser configuration. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more about how we use cookies and to review our privacy policy, click here.