The quarter began at 100 percent because it was a full-bodied coin, but in 1853 it became a subsidiary coin
, overvalued relative to its silver content.
The coin, called the trime, had a metallic value worth only about 2 1/2 cents, but was legal tender for sums up to 30 cents, making it our first money with a content in precious metal worth less than its legal value in trade (sometimes called a "subsidiary coin.") The trime was 20 percent smaller than our modern dime, and only about one-third of its weight (figure 1).
They decided to make all silver coins denominated in values less than a dollar subsidiary coins, just as they had with the trime.
(T)he banks shall redeem their outstanding notes only in Reserve Bank notes or in subsidiary coin
Shadows of the traditional, commodity-based dollar lasted into the 1960s, when commodity inflation finally drove the silver value of the silver dollar, and subsidiary coins
, above face value in the late 1960s.
Token coins are subsidiary coins
that have lower intrinsic value than the value at which they can be exchanged with the monetary authority for full-bodied coins.