1851 $2 1/2 Liberty PCGS MS63
This version has a more feminine Miss Liberty facing left, wearing a coronet with LIBERTY in relief. Her hair is in a bun tied with a string of pearls, below her is the date, and surrounding her are 13 stars. The design is very simple and very pleasing. The reverse still resembles the design used since 1808. The size of the letters and numbers differ a bit, but it still retains the same basic devices. Like its Classic Head predecessor, this Type does not have the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM displayed.
The Classic Head Type was a stopgap measure meant to put gold coins back into circulation. It was a tremendous success, but was never intended to be a long-term design. The Mint wanted a symbol of Liberty befitting a growing, prosperous nation, and a rehash of the 1808 Large Cent simply would not suffice. Christian Gobrecht had created a new design for the gold eagle in 1838. That design was well received by all and was adapted to the half eagle in 1839 and then the quarter eagle in 1840. It was felt the design would stand the test of time and also bring uniformity to all three circulating gold coin denominations.