In 1863, not long after his defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee mailed his letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Davis replied that he would not accept Lee’s resignation as there was no one more fit to take his place. This 1863 quarter recalls an event that nearly changed the face of the second half of the Civil War.
After the Mint Act of February 21, 1853 reduced the weight of the Quarter from 6.68 grams to 6.22 grams, the United States Mint felt that a modified design was needed to distinguish the new coins from their old tenor predecessors. In 1853, Mint personnel decided that a pair of arrows at the obverse date and a glory of rays around the reverse eagle would allow the general public to readily identify the lighter-weight Quarters in circulation. The latter feature, however, created too clutered of a design that led to early reverse die breakage. Since the Mint was under tremendous pressure to turn out large number of the new light-weight Quarters, extended working die life was an absolute necessity. The rays had to go, therefore, although the obverse arrows remained as a distinguishing feature through 1855.
Popular as a two-year type, the Arrows, No Motto Quarter of 1854-1855 enjoys a strong following among specialists in Seated coinage as well as more general numismatic buyers. The type is also significant in that it includes the rare 1854-O Huge O variety and the first San Francisco Mint Quarter in U.S. coinage history: the 1855-S.