Coin Specifications

Production of the Seated Liberty Quarters occurred at the Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and Carson City Mints between 1838 and 1891. The largest number of issues, not surprisingly, came from the Philadelphia Mint. The New Orleans Mint struck quarter dollars from 1839 to 1860, and again in 1891. San Francisco issues were first struck in 1855, a year after the branch Mint opened. Carson City quarter dollars were only struck from 1870 to 1878, with several scarce, low mintage issues included.

Philadelphia issues do not carry a mint mark. For the other issues, the mint mark is located on the reverse, below the eagle. The mint mark can be encountered in various sizes and placements depending on the issue, and often depending on the specific die that was used for striking.

When first produced in 1838, the Seated Liberty Quarter had a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper, which would remain the same until the end of the series. However, the weight was changed on various occasions. The first issues weighed 103 grains (6.68 grams), but this was lowered in 1853 to 96 grains (6.22 grams). In 1873 the denomination saw a small increase in weight, this time to 96.5 grains (6.25 grams). All issues have a diameter of 24.3 mm and a reeded edge.

Because the large number of issues, giving a general indication striking quality and visual appearance is difficult. Generally speaking, the Philadelphia and San Francisco issues usually have better visual appearance than the Carson City and New Orleans issues, but this is not always the case. Some issues from the New Orleans Mint are known for being weakly struck, while others have the same striking quality as coins from other branch Mints. Another problem with many issues is the large circulation and subsequent mishandling from early collectors that many issues experienced. This makes high-quality, original coins with good eye-appeal in the distinct minority, regardless of issue or Mint.