Obverse. Image Courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS.com)
  • 25 Cents 1853, KM# 78, United States of America (USA)
  • 25 Cents 1853, KM# 78, United States of America (USA)
  • 25 Cents 1853, KM# 78, United States of America (USA), New Orleans Mint

The Seated Liberty Quarter represented the face of the denomination for much of the 19th century, with pieces struck from 1838 until 1891. Six different subtypes were produced during this period, due to multiple changes to the designs and specifications that took place throughout the series.

At the time the new design for the quarter dollar was introduced, the same basic obverse design had already been in use for the half dime and dime since the previous year. The design would later be adopted for the half dollar in 1839 and the silver dollar in 1840. The “Seated Liberty” design was an old concept that was based on Britannia, who had been featured on British coins. Artist Thomas Sully made a number of sketches, which assistant engraver Christian Gobrecht would modify to become suitable for coinage.

"Without Motto", on Seated Liberty Quarter Dollars, refers to the absence of the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" (which did not appear on the reverse of these coins until 1866). Along with the other silver denominations, quarters were reduced in weight in 1853 as a measure against the hoarding and melting of newly released pieces. The authorized weight, previously 103.125 grains, was lowered to 96 grains. To signify this reduction, an arrowhead was placed on either side of the date on the obverse, and rays were added around the eagle on the reverse.


Depicts the figure of Liberty clad in a flowing dress and seated upon a rock. In her left hand, she holds a Liberty pole surmounted by a Phrygian cap, which had been a pre-eminent symbol of freedom during the movement of Neoclassicism (and in fact traces its roots back to Ancient Greece and Rome). Liberty's right hand rested on the top corner of a striped shield with a diagonal banner inscribed with the word "Liberty". The shield represented preparedness in the defense of freedom. The date of the coin appeared on the bottom below Liberty. Arrows are on each side of the date. Thirteen six-pointed stars around the rim, commemorating the original thirteen colonies.



A left-facing bald eagle about to take flight, with a striped shield upon its breast. The eagle clutched an olive branch of peace in its right talons and a group of arrows in its left talons. Rays are around the eagle. Above the eagle around the rim were the words "United States of America" and below the eagle around the rim lay the coin denomination.

The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting. Bald eagles are not actually bald; the name derives from an older meaning of the word, "white headed".

The mint mark appears on the reverse beneath the eagle.
• None (Philadelphia Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
• O (New Orleans Mint in New Orleans, Louisiana)



25 Cents

Seated Liberty Quarter, Without Motto, Date Arrows, With Rays
KM# 78
Material Silver
Fineness 0.900
Weight 6.22 g
Diameter 24.3 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Coin
New Orleans Mint (O)
Philadelphia Mint (no mintmark)

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