The coinage reform in the reign of George III made no provision for a quarter-sovereign, the denomination of five shillings being satisfactorily served by the large silver crown piece. By 1853, however, there was a perceived need for a more conveniently-sized coin of five shillings and, in initial trials, attractive little quarter-sovereigns were struck as pattern pieces.
The quarter-sovereign pattern pieces of 1853 bore the lovely Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria while two different reverse designs were considered.
The first reverse design features a Crowned Royal Shield of Arms with the text 'QUARTER SOVEREIGN 1853' around the edge.
The second reverse design features the text of the proposed denomination and text in the center - 'FIVE SHILLINGS 1853' whilst a crown features at the top and a thistle, rose and clover features at the bottom of the reverse.
The proposal was abandoned probably because the coin was so small it could far too easily be lost between a thumb and forefinger. There was also likely to be the problem that it would wear too fast in circulation as was indeed the case with the half sovereign.