1861 Liberty Head $2.50 quarter eagles are a favorite collector item among numismatists who enjoy 19th-century coins. In 1861, two minting facilities struck the quarter eagle, including the Philadelphia and San Francisco (S) mints. In 1859, the lettering was reduced in size on the reverse of the Philadelphia-minted quarter eagles. However, some Philadelphia quarter eagles were made with the older reverse, which featured large lettering.
Here is a rundown of the mintages and values for 1861 Liberty Head quarter eagle gold coins:
1861 Old Reverse, 1,283,788;
1861 New Reverse, mintage included above;
*Values are for coins grading Very Fine-20, unless otherwise noted.
1861 Liberty Head quarter eagles are made from a composition of 90 percent gold and 10 percent copper, which is the typical “coin gold” alloy for gold coinage of the era. 1861 Liberty Head $2.50 gold quarter eagles weigh 4.18 grams and measure 18 millimeters in diameter, which means they are approximately the breadth of a standard U.S. dime. These gold quarter eagle coins contain a total of 0.1202 ounces of gold.
1861 $2.50 gold coins were designed by Christian Gobrecht, who served as the U.S. Mint’s chief engraver and gained fame for designing the Seated Liberty coinage, which ran from the late 1830s through 1891.