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Quarters have become one of the most important denominations in the United States’ economy.
But they haven’t been around forever (even though it seems like it).
In fact, the first U.S. quarter was minted in 1796 — 20 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And the next one wasn’t made until 1804!
This fact makes 1796 quarters the only ones made during the 1700s. Therefore, they are extremely sought after. In fact, even a well-worn example of the 1796 quarter will set you back $15,000 to $20,000!
That’s why most coin collectors end up seeking later dates of the Bust Quarter series — which lasted until 1838.
Did You Know?… The first design ever seen on the U.S. quarter was a profile of Miss Liberty commonly referred to as the Bust portrait.
4 Types Of Bust Quarters
There are 4 types of Bust quarters:
- Draped Bust Quarter with Small Eagle Reverse (1796)
- Draped Bust Quarter with Large Eagle Reverse (1804 to 1807)
- Capped Bust Quarter with 27 mm Diameter (1815 to 1828)
- Capped Bust Quarter with 24.3 mm Diameter (1831 to 1838)
The Draped Bust quarters of 1796 through 1804 were designed by Robert Scot.
John Reich was the master behind the Capped Bust quarters of 1815 to 1828.
The Bust quarters of reduced diameter (1831 and on) were designed by William Kneass.
Tips For Collecting Bust Quarters
Now, based on your particular coin collecting preferences, you may elect to collect only 1 representative example of the Bust quarter series — perhaps one of the smaller Capped Bust quarters (which are the cheapest of the 4 above).
Or, you might decide to get one of each of these varieties.
If you’ve got enough money to spend, you might even try to collect one of each date. While that is an extremely expensive endeavor, you wouldn’t be the first to try (and successfully complete) such an ambitious project!
Rare Bust Quarter Values
All in all, Bust quarters — especially those from 1807 and earlier — are scarce. However, even among scarce coins there are those which are yet scarcer.
Let’s take a look at which Bust quarters are the rarest and what they’re worth:
- 1796 – $12,000
- 1804 – $4,500
- 1822, 25 over 50 – $4,500
- 1823, 3 over 2 – $40,000
*Coin values are approximate and based on coins in Good-4 grade.
Any Bust Quarters not on this list aren’t necessarily common, but they are much more plentiful overall than the 4 listed here.
Other Bust Quarter Values
For the Bust quarters not listed above, values are relatively lower.
Here are values for the other Bust quarters, by year:
- 1805 to 1807 – $450 to $3,750
- 1815 to 1828 – $95 to $1,500
- 1831 to 1838 – $70 to $465
*Coin values listed are for coins in a grade of Good-4 to Extremely Fine-40.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!