Ron Guth: Why were arrowheads and rays added to the 1853 Quarter Dollar? To signify a reduction in the weight of the coin. This was a time when silver coins were required to contain their full value in metal. Also, this was the first time that the silver content of the Quarter Dollar had been reduced since its inception in 1796! The result of the reduction in weight was that all of the silver quarter dollars struck prior to the weight change became worth more than their face value. Any quarter dollars without Arrows and Rays would be instantly noticeable in circulation and could be pulled and melted. The massive mintage of 1853 quarter dollars resulted from the conversion of older silver coins. For coin collectors, this means that mintage figures for all pre-1853 quarter dollars are meaningless and their respective survival rates are low.
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