A quarter dollar, commonly shortened to quarter, is a coin worth ¼ of a United States dollar, or 25 cents. The quarter has been produced since 1796. The choice of 25¢ as a denomination, as opposed to 20¢ which is more common in other parts of the world, originated with the practice of dividing Spanish Milled Dollars into eight wedge shaped segments; at one time "two bits", i.e. two pieces of eight, was a common nickname for a quarter.
The current clad version is two layers of cupronickel (75% Copper, 25% Nickel) on a core of pure copper giving a total composition of 8.33% Ni with the remainder Cu, weighs 5.670 grams (0.2000 avoirdupois oz, 0.1823 troy oz), diameter 0.955 inches (24.26 mm), width 1.75 millimeters (0.069 in) with a reeded edge. Owing to the introduction of the clad quarter in 1965, it was occasionally called a "Johnson Sandwich" after Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. President at the time. It currently costs 7.33 cents to produce each coin (as of 2004). Before 1965, quarters contained 90% silver, 10% copper. The U.S. Mint began producing silver quarters again in 1992 for inclusion in the annual Silver Proof set. Early quarters (before 1828) were slightly larger in diameter and thinner than the current coin.
The current regular issue coin is the George Washington quarter (showing George Washington) on the front. The reverse featured an eagle prior to the 1999 50 State Quarters Program. The Washington quarter was designed by John Flanagan. It was initially issued as a circulating commemorative, but was made a regular issue coin in 1934.
In 1999, the 50 State Quarters program of circulating commemorative quarters began; these have a modified Washington obverse and a different reverse for each state, ending the former Washington quarter's production completely. On January 23, 2007, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 392 extending the state quarter program one year to 2009, to include the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories large enough to merit non-voting Congressional representatives: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The bill passed through the Senate and was signed into legislation by President Bush on December 27, 2007. The typeface used in the state quarter series varies a bit from one state to another, but is generally derived from Albertus.
Full article ▸