1892-1893 World's Columbian Exposition Isabella Quarter

1892-1893 World's Columbian Exposition Isabella Quarter


To raise funds for the Board of Lady Manager's projects at the Columbian Exposition and commemorate Isabella, Queen of Castile, who sponsored the voyage of Columbus.


Maximum Number Authorized: 40,000 pieces.

Sale Price: $1.00


    Obverse – Charles Barber

Crowned bust of Queen Isabella of Spain, facing left. The date 1893 is located in the right field behind Isabella's head.

Online Resource: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Isabella-I-queen-of-Spain 

   Reverse – George Morgan

A kneeling woman holding a distaff in her left hand and a spindle in her right hand. The inscription “BOARD OF LADY MANAGERS COLUMBIAN QUAR. DOL.” is located inside a beaded border. 


Of the 40,000 coins minted for purchase, a very small amount were actually sold at the Exposition. Mrs. Potter Palmer, head of the World's Columbian Exposition's Board of Lady Managers purchased 10,000 pieces at face value to eventually be distributed by coin dealers. Just under 16,000 of the quarters were returned to the Mint to be melted.

Columbian Exposition Online Resource:  



  • The exposition was over 600 acres in size.

  • Over 27 million people (about half the U.S. Population) attended the fair.

  • Walt Disney's father, Elias Disney, was employed as a construction worker at the exposition.

  • The first Ferris Wheel, built by George Ferris was  constructed. The wheel had 36 cars with each car holding up to 60 people. A band occupied one car and would play whenever the wheel was in motion.

  • Elongated coins were introduced.

  • Cream of Wheat debuted.

  • The Pabst Brewing Company named its beer Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer after winning the award of “America's Best” at the Columbian Exposition.

  • The Isabella quarter was the first U.S. Coin to portray an actual woman as opposed to the emblematic Lady Liberty. 

  • Queen Isabella was the mother of Catherine of Aragon. Catherine was the first wife of King Henry VIII.

For more information:

Encyclopedia of the Commemorative Coins of the United States by Anthony J. Swiatek    

 KWS Publishers (2012)

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

 Crown Publishing (2002)

Contesting Images, Photography and the World's Columbian Exposition by Julie K. Brown

 The University of Arizona Press (1994)


Encyclopedia of the Commemorative Coins of the United States by Anthony J. Swiatek

KWS Publishers (2012)

The Encyclopedia of United States Silver & Gold Commemorative Coins 1892 to 1954 by Anthony Swiatek and Walter Breen

Arco Publishing, Inc. (1981)


 1893 Isabella Quarter Obverse     1893 Isabella Quarter Reverse

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