In 1834, Mint officials changed the design on the Quarter Eagles to comply with the new Coinage Act of June 28, 1834, which law reduced the weight of the Quarter Eagles to prevent melting. On the obverse, Liberty no longer wore a cap; rather the design was a copy of that seen on Classic Head Half Cents of 1809-1836 and Large Cents of 1808-1814.
1834 Quarter Eagles are found with two, slightly different obverse designs. The first, called "Small Head" by Water Breen and others, has tight curls that appear in a near-horizontal arrangement at the back of Liberty's head. The second, called "Large Head" or "Booby Head" by Breen, has looser curls with deep indents between the curls. Breen claimed six different reverse varieties of the Large Head alone, but subsequent researchers have identified only four different reverse dies for both types combined (either Breen was mistaken or there are some varieties awaiting re-discovery) and only four different die combinations in total.
Numerous Mint State 1834 Classic Head Quarter Eagles exist, but most are MS61 to MS64. Gems are very rare, and the finest example appears to be a single PCGS MS66.
Oliver Jung Collection - American Numismatic Rarities 7/2004:87 - D. Brent Pogue Collection
John Albanese - Scott Travers - Stack's 6/2007:1638 - Stack's 10/2008:1152 - Larry Hanks (as agent?) - D. Brent Pogue Collection