The Quarter Dollar is a United States coin worth 25 cents. It has been produced on and off since 1796 and consistently since 1831.
The Capped Bust design (also known as the Liberty Cap Quarter) was the second type of quarter dollar issued into circulation, replacing the Draped Bust quarter in 1815. It features a new eagle reverse on which the value is given as "25 cents" again and not as "quarter dollar" as on later coins. The obverse design - common for the half dime, dime, quarter and half dollar of the time - shows a new concept of the portrait of Liberty where she wears a soft cap; it was designed by John Reich and modified by Chief Engraver of the Mint, William Kneass. It proved to be a popular design and lasted from 1807 to 1839 on the half dollar, 1815 to 1838 on the quarter, 1809 to 1837 on the dime, and 1829 to 1837 on the half dime. All four of these coin were struck in 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper initially; the quarter changed to 90% silver in 1837.
After 1828, there was a change in design which is minor according to some numismatic sources, or major according to others which classify the later coins as a new type. Earlier coins have a diameter of approximately 27 mm, which varies slightly. With new equipment installed at the Philadelphia Mint (which is the only mint where these coins were struck), a uniform diameter could be maintained; it was reduced to 24.3 mm. The design was changed to a wider border and a smaller date, and the motto on the reverse was removed.
After 1838, the type was replaced by the Seated Liberty design. In later years, there were also changes in composition (the quarter is now made of copper-nickel), but these coins have never been demonetised and are still legal tender. This, of course, is of academic interest only, as their numismatic value is enormously higher than their face value.
The main device on the reverse is an eagle, perched, with open wings, looking to left. On its breast, the Union Shield at centre, with thirteen vertical stripes, white and red, with a blue horizontal bar on top. The colours are represented by heraldic hatching (thin lines indicating the colour - horizontal stripes for blue, vertical for red, no stripes for white). From the eagle's perspective, it holds a bundle of three arrows in its left talon, and an olive branch in its right talon.
The arrows and olive branch together symbolise that the United States has "a strong desire for peace, but will always be ready for war". The eagle has its head turned towards the olive branch, to symbolise a preference for peace.
Around above, a scroll inscribed with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM ("Out of Many, One").
Around the outer rim, the name of the country: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Below the eagle, the abbreviated value and denomination 25 C. (Twenty-five Cents).
The rim is beaded.