When the Seated Liberty Quarter was first introduced, the obverse of the coin featured an image of Liberty seated on a rock. She held a pole in one hand, while the other hand was placed on a union shield bearing the inscription "LIBERTY". There were thirteen stars surrounding the image with the date positioned below.
The reverse design featured a bald eagle similar in appearance to the prior series. It had a shield at its chest, with its talons grasping an olive branch and bundle of arrows. The words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" appeared above with the denomination expressed as "QUAR. DOL." appearing below.
The first design change would occur in 1840, when drapery was added below Liberty's elbow. The next change would occur in 1853 when the weight of the coin was reduced and arrows were added at the date and rays around the eagle to signify the change. Slightly following in 1854, the rays would be removed and in 1856 the arrows would also be removed.
In 1866, a scroll would be added to the reverse of the coin positioned above the eagle and reading "E PLURIBUS UNUM". The final changes took place to signify an increase in weight. From 1873 to 1874, arrows were placed at the date. From 1875 to the end of the series the previous design resumed.
Seated Liberty Quarters:
Category: Seated Liberty Quarters (1838-1891)
Designer: Robert Ball Hughes/Christian Gobrecht
Six design types were used over the lifetime of the series
1838-1840 Liberty Seated, No Drapery Type
1840-1853, 1856-1866 Liberty Seated, No Motto Type
1853 Liberty Seated, Arrows and Rays Type
1854-1855 Liberty Seated, Arrows Only Type
1866-1873, 1875-1891 Liberty Seated, With Motto Type
1873-1874 Liberty Seated, With Arrows Type