The Quarter Dollar is a United States coin worth 25 cents. The denomination was introduced in 1796; the choice of a quarter-dollar as a denomination - as opposed to the one fifth (twenty cents) more common elsewhere - originated with the practice of dividing Spanish milled dollars into eight wedge-shaped segments, which gave rise to the name "piece of eight" for that coin, or into quarters.
The denomination is heavily used for circulating commemorative issues, but to date there has been only one Non-Circulating Legal Tender (NCLT) issue in it - the Isabella Quarter (or Columbian Exposition Quarter) struck in 1893. It was intended as a "show piece" for the World's Columbian Exposition - a world's fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World in 1492; the coin was sold at the event, and by mail order. The exposition had been authorised by Congress two years previously; that legislation created a Board of Lady Managers and a Board of Gentleman Managers to oversee the fair.
U.S. Congress authorised the numismatic piece at the request of the Board of Lady Managers of the World's Columbian Exposition. The quarter depicts on the obverse the Spanish Queen Isabella I of Castile, who sponsored Columbus's voyages to the New World. It was designed by Bureau of the Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber, with the reverse based on a sketch by Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan.
The design was not popular at the time, and the coin did not sell well at the Exposition; its price of $1 was the same as for the Columbian half dollar, and the quarter was seen as the worse deal. Nearly half of the authorised issue was returned to the Mint to be melted; thousands more were purchased at face value by the Lady Managers and entered the coin market in the early 20th century. Today, they are popular with collectors and are valued in the hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on condition.