- The Renaissance of American Coinage, an artistic reinvention of United States coins
during the first decades of the 20th century, inspired many beautiful coin series, including several that remain top collector favorites today. But one of the shortest-lived of these beloved early 20th-century United States coins
is the Standing Liberty quarter
. Designed by Hermon A. MacNeil and in production from 1916 through 1930, it ran for only 15 years inclusive yet spawned one of the great numismatic rarities and yielded several other challenging issues, too.The 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter
Standing Liberty quarter, 1916 25C Standing Liberty, FH, PCGS MS67+FH
Ranking as one of the rarest and most sought-after coins of the 20th century is the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter
, a first-year coin that kicked off the series with a fair bit of controversy, too. The likeness of Miss Liberty on the obverse, showing her partially uncovered upper chest, was more revealing than many in the public cared to see. The negative reaction spurred the United States Mint to slightly redesign the quarter in 1917 with a more modest rendition of Miss Liberty wearing a chain mail; the revision also brought some significant changes to the reverse, where the eagle was moved closer to the center of the coin and three of the 13 stars were relocated to just below the national bird.
While the public outcry that befell the early Standing Liberty quarters
prompted changes to the coin, it wasn't the controversy that kept the mintage to a tiny 52,000 for the 1916 issues. In fact, the public never even had the chance to see these coins in-hand the year they were minted. The United States Mint struck the entire run of 1916 Standing Liberty quarters
during the last two weeks of the year, from December 16-31, 1916. They were released into channels of commerce on January 17, 1917, along with the first batch of 1917 Standing Liberty quarters
- which also feature the coin's original (Type I, No Stars Below Eagle) design. Modifications to the design came along during the middle of the year, resulting in the Type II motif with a redesigned Miss Liberty and relocated eagle and stars on the reverse.
According to PCGS
CoinFacts, approximately 10,750 examples of the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter
survive, with the vast majority - perhaps 90% - in circulated grades. About 1,100 are known in uncirculated grades, with 600 uncirculated Full Head (FH) examples showing virtually complete strike in Liberty's hairlines, with minimal breaks. Even G4 examples take around $3,000, while in XF40 they take $9,000. An MS63FH commands nearly $20,000. The record price to date goes to a PCGS
MS67+FH that fetched $195,500 in a 2010 auction.Read the Entire Article