Standing Liberty Quarter

Posted by on October 14, 2011

Coin Weight (g) Composition Silver Melt Value Full Melt Value
Standing (1916-1921, 1923-1930) 6.25 90% silver, 10% copper

3199465719 4e7d49accd z Standing Liberty Quarter

1917 Type 1 Standing Liberty Quarter (photo by Caveman Chuck Coker*)


The Standing Liberty Quarter was minted in the United States from 1916 to 1930 based on sculptor Hermon MacNeil’s designs of 1916 and 1917.  This silver coin is 24.3mm in diameter, weighing 6.25 grams. It is 90% silver and 10% copper.  The edge is reeded.
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The reverse of this silver coin has a soaring bold eagle with “QUARTER.DOLLAR” encircling below and “UNITED.STATES” encircling the top with “OF AMERICA” directly under. In smaller script “E PLURIBUS UNIM” sits between the eagle's open wings.  In 1916 and part of 1917 (Variation 1) six stars encircled the right and seven on the left of the coin.  In 1917 after a long debate, a coin revision was made to the entire coin and afterwards (Variation 2) five stars are to the left and right with three moved under the bald eagle above the “QUARTER DOLLAR”. The bald eagle is also raised and the letters are spaced and sized to accommodate this.

The obverse depicts a Standing Liberty in a robe holding a shield on the left arm and an olive branch in the her right  hand.  Liberty is between two partial columns.  “IN GOD” is written on the left column and continued with “WE TRUST” on the right.  Seven stars run down the right side of the left column as six run down the left of the right one.  “LIBERTY” encircles the top with Liberty’s head between the “B” and “E”.  If there is a mint mark is at the lowest portion of the left column next to Liberty’s right foot, “S” for San Francisco and “D” for Denver, there is no mint mark for Philadelphia.  The date is underneath Liberty’s feet and in 1925 a minor alteration caused this to be changed.  The date was raised which caused it to wear quickly (like the Buffalo Nickels’) and so it was lowered into the coin later.

There was considerable fuss by MacNeil over the design the Mint had adapted from the designs he submitted. One of the design features that never made it onto the silver quarter coin were dolphins to represent the ocean. A revision that did make it was to add a chain mail vest onto Liberty (Variation 2) thus covering a revealed breast.  Some people thought that this was done because of a public outcry of indecency, however the Mint denied this.  MacNeil had proposed a battle ready Liberty as a warning to the Great War (WWI) going on in Europe. 

This silver coin replaced the Barber quarter which had been in circulation for twenty-five years.  The Barber dimes, quarters, and half-dollars were all designed by Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber.  The designs for these coins were almost identical and the pervasive feeling was of dislike.  Congress had a law that insisted a coin’s design remain the same for no less than twenty-five years.  Over this time a desire to have currency with more artistic appeal had grown.  The “Winged” Liberty (“Mercury”) dime and “Walking Liberty” half-dollar both designed by sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman were also introduced during this transition of United States silver coins.

Congress passed an act to mint a silver coin to celebrate the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth. After a brief respite in 1931 where no United States quarters were produced, in 1932 a new quarter design with George Washington’s profile was released.

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One comment on “Standing Liberty Quarter

  1. Cash For Gold Pittsburgh on said:

    It’s tough to find educated individuals on this matter, but you sound like you know what you’re speaking about! Thanks

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