About 1893 Isabella Silver Commemoratives
The 1893 Isabella commemorative quarter holds numismatic significance for many reasons, including the fact it was the first United States legal-tender coin to bear the image of an actual female (beyond the many allegorical representations of a female Liberty), was the first to bear the likeness of a foreign monarch (in this case of the queen of Spain), and is also the only 25-cent coin among the body of classic United States commemoratives produced from 1892-1954.
The 1893 Isabella quarter was struck concurrently with the Columbian commemorative half dollars during their last year of issue. It was a fitting gesture, as Queen Isabella of Spain sponsored and supported Christopher Columbus voyages across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World, including his most famous journey in 1492.
The Isabella quarter, sculpted and engraved by Charles Barber and designed by Kenyon Cox, was sold for $1 each at the Women’s Building at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Isabella quarter was authorized for a mintage of 40,000 pieces but just 24,214 were distributed. Examples are widely available through MS66 and become scarce in better grades.
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