To view more detailed information on the collection click hereDie Variety: Only a single die pair was used to produce 1821 quarter eagles. The obverse design is similar to the Reich issue of 1808 but with several changes. It is possible that Robert Scot created these master hubs and thus the design itself, although the design may have been done by a contract worker as Scot's eyesight was failing by this time. Liberty's head is notably smaller than previously seen; her cap is smaller as well. Her facial features and neck are thicker. The obverse stars are evenly placed all around Liberty, save for the area reserved for the date below. In prior obverse designs the stars were separated by the upper portions of Liberty's cap and head, or the word LIBERTY itself. This new design type offers a fresh and well balanced appearance on the obverse. A small centering dot, used as a compass point to lay out the die, is located left of Liberty's earlobe; a similar compass point on the reverse is noted within the horizontal shield lines.The reverse underwent a modification as well, although most of the design elements of the Reich style were retained. The feathers under the eagle's wings have been smoothed with smaller notches when compared with the quarter eagles of 1808 where the feathers show deep notches. The letter sizes are uniform and attractive in the legend. The production of this type was limited to the years of 1821 through 1827. Two reverse dies were used to produce the 17,000+ coins of this type. This first reverse die is easy to distinguish as the digits in the fraction 1/2 are distant from the fraction bar; they touch the bar on the other reverse.Die State: a/a. No clashing, no lapping, and no cracks are found on this variety.Mintage: 6,448 coins.Estimated surviving population: 50 to 60 coins.Strike: The strike is sharp throughout as expected, with each of the stars showing full radial lines and with all of Liberty's curls fully defined. On the reverse the eagle shows all its feather definition and the lettering is complete on both the ribbon as well as the peripheral legend. Minor striking softness is noted on the left (facing) wing of the eagle near the junction with the shield, nearly always seen on these as this area is opposite Liberty's cheek. Surfaces: Smooth surfaces offer a satiny appearance on the devices while the fields show the usual mirror finish as these dies were scarcely broken in before coinage for the year came to a halt. Most known examples have this reflectivity in the fields when found in high grades. The color is pleasing orange-gold on both sides.Commentary: By 1821 it cost more than face value in gold bullion to make a quarter eagle. Accordingly, they did not circulate in commerce and were available only by paying a premium in terms of silver coins or paper money. The diameter was reduced for the quarter eagle in 1821 from the previous 20 millimeters to 18.5 millimeters. The gold alloy and weight remained the same, so the planchets were necessarily slightly thicker starting in 1821.Q. David Bowers: In terms of absolute rarity the quarter eagles of the 1820s and early 1830s are surprisingly affordable.