The quarter was established by the Mint Act of April 2, 1792 along with four other silver coin denominations: half dimes, dimes, half dollars and silver dollars. These coins were gradually rolled out, with dimes and quarters first appearing in 1796. Because of low demand, quarters were not produced again until 1804.
There have been seven basic designs of the U.S. quarter. Most of these are known by the design on the obverse of the coin, though one, the Barber, is instead named for its designer, Charles Barber. In 1932, a commemorative quarter was designed to celebrate the 200th birthday of George Washington. The popularity of the coin ensured its longevity; this design continues on the obverse of quarters to this day.
While commemorative quarters have inspired many to collect coins, value is determined by rarity and condition, so the most valuable quarters include several of the oldest that were kept out of circulation, long before coin collecting became a popular hobby.