Thursday, March 29, 2012

Standing Liberty Quarters (1916 - 1930)


The Standing Liberty Quarter was designed by Hermon A. MacNeil in 1916 and his initial M appears to the right of the date. The first design portrayed Liberty with an exposed breast, which was redesigned in 1917. Instead of covering Liberty's breast with the same flowing material of the rest of her dress, the designer clothed her in a coat of chain mail. The left arm of Liberty uncovers a shield as symbol of protection. Her right hand bears an olive branch as symbol of peace. The reverse design was changed in 1917 also: the eagle was moved more to the center of the coin and three of the thirteen stars were placed beneath the eagle. Beginning in 1925, the dates on the coins were recessed, giving them more protection from wear. No Proof coins of this type were officially issued, but well-struck examples exist and they are the most sought out among collectors. Much attention is focused on Liberty's head for the so-called "Full Head" examples with complete details of hair and leaves above ear and full facial features. These quarters bring considerable premiums over poorly struck examples. Collectors also focus their attention on the rivets on the shield. Any coin with a Full Head and full rivets is a true prize. Mintmarks of this type ("D" for Denver or "S" for San Francisco) appear on the obverse just to the left of and above the date.

The 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter had a lot of success among the public, but it also raised many arguments on the grounds of alleged obscenity portraying Liberty. That's why MacNeil asked the Treasury to let him modify the design. The Treasury agreed and assigned Charles E. Barber to chance the coin. Thus, with this opportunity, Barber increased the concavity of the fields, covered Liberty's breast and repositioned the eagle higher in the reverse field. He also re-spaced the inscriptions and placed three of the 13 stars below the eagle, even though MacNeil clearly stated that the dies were untrue to his original conception.

Another change to the Standing Liberty Quarter design came in 1924. After years of noticing that the date would wear too fast on the coins due to Barber's changes, the Mint finally decided to do something about the wear problem. Therefore, from January 1925 until the end of the series, dates are in recess, protected from wear.

The Executive Coin Company is one of the top coin dealers in the United States who offers a variety of Standing Liberty Quarters in different grades: circulated, uncirculated, certified and graded by PCGS, NGC and ANACS. Our wide selection includes the 1916 key date Standing Liberty Quarter, the 1917-D and 1917-S Type 1 Standing Liberty Quarter, the 1917-P and 1917-S Type 2 Standing Liberty Quarter, and other rare examples. Check out our inventory below.