Standing Liberty Quarter
Standing Liberty Quarters
At the turn of the 20th Century, President Theodore Roosevelt had sought to create a renaissance in American coinage. Roosevelt wanted coins that were emblematic of the coinage of the Greeks and Romans. Coinage designs could be changed without Congressional approval every 25 years and the Barber coinage had been produced for more than 50 years. There were three current coins that met that requirement. The Liberty Head Dime, Quarter and Half Dollar, all designed by Charles E. Barber.
Designs submissions were open to those artists qualified to submit them. Of the many designs submitted, the works of two skilled sculptors were selected for the three coins. Adolph A. Weinman’s designs were selected for the dime and half dollar. Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s design for the quarter dollar was approved by Treasury officials in February of 1916.
World War I was raging in Europe and America had remained neutral up to that point. MacNeil’s design depicted Miss Liberty standing between two large pedestals, an olive branch in her right hand, and a shield in her left. She was wearing flowing robes and sandals. The motto “LIBERTY” was above Miss Liberty, “IN GOD WE TRUST” was split between the two pedestals and the date was below her. MacNeil’s design demonstrated that America, through Miss Liberty’s symbolism, was ready for peace, or for war. There were 13 stars adorning the pedestals – six to Miss Liberty’s left and seven to her right
The reverse of the coin displayed the American bald eagle in full flight, surrounded by the 13-star motif again. The mottoes “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” are above the eagle and “QUARTER DOLLAR” is below.
Some numismatic authors have related that there were objections by the press and the public to Miss Liberty not being fully clothed, bearing a breast. However, no changes were made to the 1916-dated coin of which 52,000 were minted, all at Philadelphia. The coins that were struck in early 1917 also faced no design changes. These 1916 and early 1917 coins, of all three mints)are called Variety 1 coins.
But changes to the design were demanded and the most noticeable change was that now Miss Liberty, in preparation for war, wore a chain of mail on her upper torso effectively covering her up. This was now 1917 and the United States had just entered the War in Europe. Miss Liberty should be clad in the appropriate garb to defend America. The number of rivets on her shield was reduced. The Eagle on the reverse was raised and, for symmetry, three of the 13 stars were moved to beneath the eagle. This created the Type-II Standing Liberty Quarter.
Later in 1925, the Treasury Department noticed that the dates of these Standing Liberty Quarters were wearing away too quickly. So, the Treasury ordered a further modification, and the date was recessed, and a line was placed about the numerals in the date. Standing Liberty Quarters were minted every year between 1916 and 1930, except in 1922.
Some collectors attempt to collect Standing Liberty Quarters labeled with the “Full-Head” designation by the third-party grading services. This special designation is awarded to coins grading AU-50 or higher and show full detail of Miss Liberty’s hair (on Variety-1 coins) or helmet (on Variety-2 coins).