The first $2.50 Liberty gold coin, or quarter eagle, was authorized by a Congressional act on April 2, 1792. Several design changes were made throughout the history of $2.50 gold coin. In 1840 Christian Gobrecht redesigned the $2.50 gold coin to create the $2.50 Liberty Head, also referred to as the $2.50 Coronet Type. This is the longest spanning design without a major change or alteration (very minor changes were made to the design on the reverse) in American coinage history.
Design of the $2.50 Liberty Gold Coin - The goal of Christian Gobrecht's design was to make the $2.50 gold piece similar to the design of the larger gold coins of the day such as the $10 and $20 Liberty gold coins. Like the other Liberty gold coins, the obverse (front) features Lady Liberty, whose hair is worn in a tight bun secured by a string of beads with loose curls hanging down her neck. She is wearing a coronet inscribed with the word 'Liberty'; 13 stars representing the 13 original colonies and the date of issue surround her.
The reverse (back) features a proud bald eagle with wings spread, standing among olive branches. The eagle clinches three arrows in his talons, and has a shield featuring stars and stripes upon his chest. The words 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA', the denomination, and the Mint Mark surround the eagle.
$2.50 Liberty Coin Minting Information - The Philadelphia mint produced $2.50 Liberty gold coins every year of their circulation from 1840 through 1907. Before the Civil War, additional pieces were struck at Charlotte, Dahlonega and New Orleans. The San Francisco Mint produced $2.50 Liberty Heads for certain years from 1854 and onward. California $2.50 Gold Piece - In 1848, the military Governor of California sent 230 ounces of pure gold to his Secretary of War. It was decided that the coins would be minted into quarter eagles. To distinguish these coins, the letters 'CAL' were punched above the heraldic eagle on the reverse.