1804 Quarter Eagle, 13 Star Reverse

The 1804 Draped Bust Quarter Eagle with 13 stars on the reverse is an extremely rare variety created through an unusual set of circumstances.

In the early days of the Mint, there was often an effort made to conserve steel for dies, which resulted in dies being reused across multiple years. Since the size of the dime and quarter eagle were approximately the same, the same reverse dies were often used for both denominations. One particular die was used to strike 1802 quarter eagles, 1804 dimes, and eventually a small portion of the 1804 quarter eagles. These coins carried 13 stars on the reverse, as opposed to 14 stars, which would appear on the vast majority of the mintage.

Although the exact mintage of the 1804 “13 Stars” Quarter Eagle is unknown, fewer than a dozen pieces are known to have survived. None of the known examples are in uncirculated condition, with a few about uncirculated coins listed in population reports. Potentially the finest known example graded AU58 by PCGS realized a price of $322,000 at auction in July 2009.