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The quarter, short for quarter dollar, is a United States coin worth 25 cents, one-quarter of a dollar. It has a diameter of .955 inch (24.26 mm) and a thickness of .069 inch (1.75 mm). The coin sports the profile of George Washington on its obverse, and its reverse design has changed frequently. It has been produced on and off since 1796 and consistently since 1831.[1]

The choice of a quarter-dollar as a denomination—as opposed to the ​15 more common elsewhere—originated with the practice of dividing Spanish milled dollars into eight wedge-shaped segments, which gave rise to the name "piece of eight" for that coin.[2] "Two bits" (that is, two eighths of a piece of eight) is a common nickname for a quarter.

The reverse prior to the State Quarter Program

The current clad version is two layers of cupronickel, 75% copper and 25% nickel, on a core of pure copper.[3] The total composition of the coin is 8.33% nickel, with the remainder copper. It weighs 0.2000 avoirdupois oz, 1/80 of a pound, 0.1823 troy oz, (5.670 grams). The diameter is 0.955 inches (24.26 mm), and the width of 0.069 inches (1.75 mm). The coin has a 0.069-inch (1.75 mm) reeded (or milled) edge.[4] Owing to the introduction of the clad quarter in 1965, it was occasionally called a "Johnson Sandwich" after Lyndon B. Johnson, the US President at the time.[5] As of 2011, it cost 11.14 cents to produce each coin.[6] The U.S. Mint began producing silver quarters again in 1992 for inclusion in the annual Silver Proof set. Early quarters (before 1828) were slightly larger in diameter and thinner than the current coin.

The current regular issue coin is the Washington quarter, featuring George Washington on the obverse. The reverse featured an eagle prior to the 1999 50 State Quarters Program. The Washington quarter was designed by John Flanagan. It was initially issued as a circulating commemorative, but was made a regular issue coin in 1934.

In 1999, the 50 State quarters program of circulating commemorative quarters began. These have a modified Washington obverse and a different reverse for each state, ending the former Washington quarter's production completely.[7] On January 23, 2007, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 392 extending the state quarter program one year to 2009, to include the District of Columbia and the five inhabited US territories: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The bill passed through the Senate and was signed into legislation by President George W. Bush as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Pub.L. 110–161 (html) (pdf), on December 27, 2007.[8][9] The typeface used in the state quarter series varies a bit from one state to another, but is generally derived from Albertus.

On June 4, 2008, a bill titled America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, H.R. 6184, was introduced to the House of Representatives. On December 23, 2008, President Bush signed the bill into law as Pub.L. 110–456 (html) (pdf). The America the Beautiful quarters program began in 2010 and will continue for 12 years.[10]

List of designs

Silver quarters