Authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792, the Quarter Eagle was first struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1796. Until 1834, only very small quantities were minted, making Quarter Eagles with earlier issue dates extremely rare.
Like its design, the composition of this coin also changed through the years. The first issue of the Quarter Eagle was struck from .9167-fine gold. In 1834, its composition changed to .8992-fine gold. In 1837, Congress raised the gold-purity of the Quarter Eagle to .900-fine gold and it remained at this level until the coin was discontinued.