The Standing Liberty Quarter has always been one of the favored coin designs from the twentieth century by the American people, collectors specifically. This piece could be the crown jewel of your collection if the coins you have so far weren't as aesthetically pleasing as the Standing Liberty Quarter. It would be definitely worth diving into the history of this coin and its design process.
The Standing Liberty Quarter
The Standing Liberty Quarter is a 25-cent coin, struck by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1930. It replaced the uninspiring, if not provocative, Barber Quarter, which got discontinued in 1892. But what was so special about this newly designed, amended version of the Barber Quarter? Let us dig deep into the design process to find out.
The Exquisite Design
Robert W. Woolley had been the Director of the United States Mint for less than a month in April 1915. According to Section 31 of the United States Code, subsection 5112 (d) (2), "the Secretary [of the Treasury] may alter the design or die of a coin only once within 25 years of the first adoption of the design, model, hub, or die for that coin." Woolley took this to mean that he had to alter the design of all coins that had been in circulation for at least 25 years. At the time, there were three designs by the United States Mint's Chief Engraver, Charles E. Barber, that he felt required new designs. The obverse of the dime, quarter, and half dollar were all identical. The quarter and half dollar reverse shared a common reverse, while the dime differed. Woolley wished to alter Barber's coin designs.
Applications were open to competent individuals to submit designs. The works of two qualified planners were chosen for the three coins out of the many applications received. For the dime and half dollar, Adolph A. Weinman designs were chosen. Following that, in February 1916, Treasury officers approved Hermon Atkins MacNeil's quarter-dollar design.
Hermon Atkins MacNeil was born in 1866 in Everett. After he mastered artistic representations in Paris, he returned to America and made sketch outlines for the World Columbian Exposition. MacNeil was mainly a sculptor who made many Native American sculptures. In 1904 the Louisiana Purchase Exposition contracted him to do the Fountain of Liberty.
The original designs presented by MacNeil included an image of Lady Liberty between two piers enclosed with the engravement 'In God We Trust', the thirteen stars, and MacNeil's initial "M" in the lower right pier. In Europe, the First World War raged, and so far, America was neutral.
In the 1916 re-election president, Woodrow Wilson even campaigned on the topic "He kept us out of war." But MacNeil's design showed that America was ready for peace or war, through the symbolism of Miss Liberty.
The date in 1925 was recessed to prevent premature wear. There is an eagle on the original reverse with seven stars on the left and six stars on the right side. The reverse is also adjusted to raise the eagle higher on the coin and move three of the stars beneath it when the United States Mint redesigned the front.
A Valuable Coin
There are many mint mistakes and various dies that make this an intriguing collection of coins. Sadly, only 52,000 coins have been minted since 1916. Hence, in any degree of quality, these
coins are exceptionally rare and costly. For instance, in the 1917 edition, the original Lady's right breast was engraved on almost 12 million coins. The design has been changed to cover Lady's breasts and to put a chain cover. However, the few remaining bare-breast versions are some of the most expensive rare coins on the market.
Later, the faces of the Mint and the reverse design of the Standing Liberty Quarter altered approximately mid-1917. On the front, chainmail covered the exposed breast of Lady Liberty. Contrarily, the seven stars on the left-hand side of the coin and six stars on the right side of the coin were replaced by five stars, with three stars on either side underneath the eagle. The best way of telling the different types of The Walking Liberty Quarter apart is contemplating on the reverse's details. The date was recessed below the rim in 1925 to protect numerals and avoided wear, making for an unparalleled rare coin.
While the impeccable design of the Standing Liberty Quarter is what makes it so special and stunning, its initial mint mistakes are what makes it so valuable and a collector’s must-have because of its scarcity and uniqueness. At The Franklin Mint, we offer an unmatched collection of Standing Liberty products such as pendants, guitar picks, keychains, and much more. Check them out on our website right here.