Series notes: Liberty Seated Quarters
Liberty Seated quarters were minted from 1838 through 1891 and designed by Christian Gobrecht. The Liberty Seated design was shared across several United States silver coins and became one of the longest-running motifs on United States coinage. However, the design saw some modifications throughout the course of more than half a century.
The Liberty Seated quarter varieties include:
- Variety 1 ? No Motto Above Eagle (1838-1853)
- Variety 2 ? Arrows at Date, Rays Around Eagle (1853)
- Variety 3 ? Arrows at Date, No Rays (1854-1855)
- Variety 1 Resumed, With Weight Standard of Variety 2, 6.22 Grams (1856-1865)
- Variety 4 ? Motto Above Eagle (1866-1873)
- Variety 5 ? Arrows at Date (1873-1874)
- Variety 4 Resumed, With Weight Standard of Variety 5, 6.25 Grams (1875-1891)
While most Liberty Seated quarters are readily available in lower circulated grades, several issues are quite scarce across the grading spectrum. These include the 1849-O, 1851-O, 1852-O, 1857-S, 1859-S, 1860-S, 1861-S, 1862-S, 1864-S, all issues from 1865 through 1869, 1871-S, 1875-CC, 1878-S, all dates from 1879 through 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, and 1891-O.
The keys are 1870-CC, 1871-CC, 1872-CC, 1872-S, and 1873-CC. The rarest date is the 1873-CC, which has six known survivors and took $460,000 at a 2012 auction. In addition to the regular-issue rarities, the Liberty Seated series offers a bevy of varieties, including the 1842-O Small Date, 1854-O Huge O, and 1856-S S Over Small S. Needless to say, the complexity of this series, its numerous keys, and array of varieties means one can spend decades building a comprehensive collection of Liberty Seated quarters.