The Capped Head $2.5 or the Classic Head $2.5

After the last Capped Bust $2.5 was minted in the year 1834, a new demand for the Quarter Eagle came as a surprise to US Mint officials. To answer the need for $2.5 coins, US Mint Chief Engraver Robert Scot used a design he borrowed from his Half Eagle in 1818. His old age and poor eyesight made him unable to create an original one.

The obverse features Miss Liberty facing left while wearing a mobcap inscribed with the legend LIBERTY across it. The headdress was commonly worn by 19th-century women. 13 stars surround the coin while the date is below Miss Liberty.

For the reverse, the Heraldic Eagle with the Great Seal on its chest is still featured while its talons are clutching an olive branch and three arrows. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles half of the reverse while the denomination 2 1/2D. lays under the Eagle. E PLURIBUS UNUM was purposely removed from the design in order to easily distinguish the ole and new issues.

The Capped Head $2.5 were minted from 1834 up until 1839. It has a reeded edge, weighs 4.37 grams, and is made up of 91,7% Gold and 8.3% Copper. However, there were 2 designers for the Capped Head. From 1821-1828, Robert Scot’s Capped Head Quarter Eagle is 18.5 mm in diameter while William Kneass reduced the diameter down to 18.2 mm for the series dated 1829-1834. Kneass also used smaller letters and stars while creating a beaded border surrounded by raised rims.

Varieties and Mintages of the Capped Head $2.5

US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash), NNC-US-1834-G$2½-Capped Head (reduced), Size by Bonnie Mattie, CC0 1.0

Regular Strike

1834 Classic Head – 112,234 pieces were minted

1835 -131,402 pieces were minted

1836 Script 8 – 547,986 pieces were minted

1836 Block 8 – 547,986 pieces were minted

1837 – 45,080 pieces were minted

1838 – 47,030 pieces were minted

1838-C – 7,880 pieces were minted

1839 – 27,021 pieces were minted

1839-C – 18,140 pieces were minted

1839-D – 13,674 pieces were minted

1839-O – 17,781 pieces were minted

Proofs

1834 Classic Head – 10 pieces were minted

1835 – 8 pieces were minted

1836 – 5 pieces were minted

1837 – 3 pieces were minted

1838 – 2 pieces were minted

1839 – 5 pieces were minted

Collecting Capped Head $2.5

With Capped Head Quarter Eagles, there are no famous rarities noted. However, the 1838-C is noted as the most sought after in the series thanks to its low number of coins produced.

PCGS-graded Capped Head $2.5 coins can be bought in Mint State for as low as $340.00 up to $235,000.00 – the highest grade and price belonging to an MS67 1838 Capped Head Quarter Eagle. For Proofs, the lowest one can buy is at $45,000.00 for 1837 Capped Head $2.5 in PR60 and highest for up to $600,000.00 for the 1836 Capped Head Quarter Eagle in DCAM66.

References:

PCGS, PCGS CoinFacts, USA CoinBook, Rare Coin Wholesalers, NGC Coin