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Seated Liberty Quarter

Minted over 50 years, the Seated Liberty Quarter is one of the easier coin series to collect. But a rare find would be those that come with a CC mint mark.  In fact, such coins rarely fail to make any collector’s and dealer’s pulse to quicken. It draws attention big time.

The coinage design of the Seated Liberty is the longest-running in the U.S. silver coins. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t interesting twists since change constantly happened while the coins were struck from 1838 to 1891.  Based on a drawing by Thomas Sully, Christian Gobrecht designed the obverse of the Seated Liberty Quarter.

No Motto (1838-1866)

Because it lacked the motto IN GOD WE TRUST, which was only added in 1866, the first type of Seated Liberty Quarter was aptly called No Motto.  Between 1838 and 1850, over 36 million coins were minted, with the same number produced between 1856 and 1865.  Whether or not the coins will bear a mint mark will depend on where the coins were struck. There is no mint mark for coins minted in Philadelphia, while coins minted in New Orleans and San Francisco bore the mark O and S, respectively.  The No Drapery version of the No Motto Seated Liberty Quarter lacked a fold of drapery at the elbow of Liberty.

Arrows & Rays (1853)

Arrows symbolize preparedness. With the addition of Rays placed on the reverse side, the Seated Liberty Quarter went through a change.  A change that was necessary in order to help distinguish the new lower-weight coins from the old ones. It gained the approval of the Treasury Department whose main concern was met by the easily distinguishable new coins. On March 3, 1853, as revealed by Mint records, 5 proof sets were struck. These consist of dimes, half dimes, quarters, and half dollars with the arrows.

With Arrows (1854-1855)

Seated Liberty Quarter with Arrows were struck in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Coins minted in the first location bears no mint mark but those on the other two have the same mint marks as the No Motto Seated Liberty Quarter.  The issues of New Orleans that had a Huge O mint mark are the rarest in the series. Along with the coins issued in 1855 in San Francisco, both types are graded highly.

With Motto (1866-1891)

The motto IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the newly introduced two-cent piece in 1864. It made its way to the Seated Liberty Quarter when Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre modified the dies to accommodate the new motto.  It can be seen on the reverse side of the coin placed on a graceful ribbon that is set above the eagle.

With Arrows (1873-1874)

The addition of the arrows to the existing design of the Seated Liberty Quarter was one of the many cosmetic and technical changes made. On the coinage of 1873 to 1874, the opposing arrows are on either side of the seated Liberty.  More than 2.3 million quarters of this type of coins were minted for circulation. Those minted in Philadelphia do not have a mint mark, while those in San Francisco and Carson City bore the mark S and CC, respectively.  The 1873-CC issued coins are extremely rare.  In 1875, the arrows were omitted.

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