The quarter is the United States’ twenty-five-cent coin. Because of all the recent quarter programs, you’re probably used to seeing lots of quarter designs. You’re also used to seeing George Washington on the front. But his face has been there only since 1932, the 200th anniversary of his birth.
The first quarters, made in 1796, not only lacked Washington’s picture, they also lacked a denomination. It was probably easy to tell a quarter from a dollar because a dollar had to weigh four times as much.
There was no value marked on quarters until 1804, when “25c” was added to the reverse. In 1838, “QUAR. DOL.” was used, then finally spelled out in 1892, still on the back of the coin. It wasn’t until the first of the new quarters was made in 1999 that “quarter dollar” was moved to the front, where you know it today.
Instead of being made of silver, today’s quarters are “clad,” which means coated. The inner core is pure copper and the outer covering is copper mixed with nickel.
The president who proudly graces the front of the quarter is our first: George Washington. If you see the initials “JF” at the base of his neck, they belong to the coin’s sculptor, John Flanagan. Since Washington’s bust is smaller on new quarters, you’ll also see the initials of William Cousins, the Sculptor-Engraver who made the changes.
- 50 State Quarters
- District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarters
- America the Beautiful Quarters