The Standing Liberty Quarter

Specifications, Details and General Information

standing liberty quarter

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Background and History

The United States Mint made the first Standing Liberty quarter in December of 1916. Before that, the Barber quarter had been in existence for more than 25 years from 1892 until 1916. This new design was part of the Treasury Department's overhaul of United States coinage designs for the dime, quarter and half dollar.

In March of 1916, Hermon Atkins MacNeil's designs for both the obverse and the reverse were chosen to replace Charles E. Barber's stoic design on the quarter. The original designs that MacNeil submitted had Lady Liberty standing between two piers inscribed with "In God We Trust," thirteen stars (seven on the left pier and six on the right) and McNeil's initial "M" in the lower right.

Lady Liberty is holding a shield in one arm to symbolize protection and an olive branch in the other hand symbolizing peace. The first subtype of this coin has drapery across Liberty's body exposing her right breast. Approximately halfway through 1917, a second design was introduced that covered her upper body with a coat of chainmail.

In 1925 the date was recessed to help protect it from wearing away prematurely. The original reverse has an eagle in flight with seven stars on the left side and six stars on the right side. When the United States Mint redesigned the obverse, the reverse was also modified to place the eagle higher on the coin and move three of the stars beneath it.

There are quite a few mint errors and die varieties that make this an exciting series of coins to collect. Unfortunately, 1916 has a mintage of only 52,000 coins. This makes it extremely rare and expensive in any grade. In 1917, almost 12 million coins were minted with the original design showing lady liberty's right breast exposed. The design was modified to put a coat of chain mail on Lady liberty and cover her breasts.

Coin Values and Prices: Standing Liberty Quarter Values & Prices

Three Different Types of Standing Liberty Quarters

About halfway through 1917, the mint changed obverse and the reverse design on the Standing Liberty quarter. On the obverse, Lady Liberty's exposed breast was covered with a coat of chainmail. The reverse redesign included changing the seven stars on the left side of the coin and six stars on the right side of the coin to having five stars on each side of the coin with three stars underneath the eagle.

Looking at the reverse is the easiest way to tell Type 1 from Type 2. Beginning in 1925, the date was recessed below the rim so that the numerals are protected and less likely to wear away. The recessed date subtype is known as a Type 3 Standing Liberty Quarter.

Detailed Specifications

Issuing Government United States of America
Denomination $0.25 (quarter dollar)
Coinage Type Standing Liberty Quarter
Mintage Dates Type 1: 1916 - 1917; Bare-Breasted or No Stars Below Eagle
Type 2: 1917 - 1924; Chainmail Covered or Stars Below Eagle
Type 3: 1925 - 1930; Recessed Date
Production Facilities Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco
Mint Mark Location Above and to the left of the date.
Composition 90% Silver; 10% Copper
Weight 6.250 grams
Weight Tolerance (+/-) 0.097 grams
Actual Gold Weight ( ) 0.0000 Troy Ounces (contains no gold)
Actual Silver Weight ( ASW ) 0.1808 Troy Ounces
Actual Platinum Weight ( ) 0.0000 Troy Ounces (contains no platinum)
Specific Gravity 10.340
Diameter 24.26 mm
Thickness 1.75 mm
Edge Type Reeded
Obverse Description Type 1: Liberty standing in a gateway, right breast exposed, holding a branch in right hand and shield in left. LIBERTY above, IN GOD WE TRUST is lettered on the parapet on each side. The date is on a pedestal beneath her feet.
Type 2 and 3: Liberty standing in a gateway, torso covered armor or mail, holds a branch in right hand and shield in left. LIBERTY above, IN GOD WE TRUST is on the parapet on each side. The date is on a pedestal beneath her feet. It was recessed in 1925 so that the numerals in the date were below the rim of the coin.
Obverse Designer Hermon A. MacNeil
Reverse Description Type 1: Eagle flying to the right, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM above, with QUARTER DOLLAR below. Seven stars are to the left and six to the right.
Type 2 and 3: Eagle flying to the right, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM above. Five stars are to the left and right, three stars below. QUARTER DOLLAR at the bottom.
Reverse Designer Hermon A. MacNeil
(Krause-Mishler Catalog No.) Type 1: 141
Type 2 and 3: 145
Notes Since the design change that recessed the date occurred at the beginning of 1925, some resources do not recognize Type 3 as a separate type or variety.

Production Years, Mints and Types

The Standing Liberty quarter was minted as indicated in the following table.  The table lists the years, strike type, mint facility where made, the mint mark used on the coin and a description of any type differences in coins minted for that year. 

Year Mint Mint Mark Type
Type 1 - Bare Breasted, No Stars Below Eagle on Reverse
1916 Philadelphia
1916 Proof Philadelphia
1917 Philadelphia
1917 Proof Philadelphia
1917 Denver D
1917 San Francisco S
Type 2 - Covered Breast, Three Stars below Eagle
1917 Philadelphia
1917 Denver D
1917 San Francisco S
1918 Philadelphia
1918 Denver D
1918 San Francisco S
1919 Philadelphia
1919 Denver D
1919 San Francisco S
1920 Philadelphia
1920 Denver D
1920 San Francisco S
1921 Philadelphia
1923 Philadelphia
1923 San Francisco S
1924 Philadelphia
1924 Denver D
1924 San Francisco S
Type 3 - Recessed Date
1925 Philadelphia
1926 Philadelphia
1926 Denver D
1926 San Francisco S
1927 Philadelphia
1927 Denver D
1927 San Francisco S
1928 Philadelphia
1928 Denver D
1928 San Francisco S
1929 Philadelphia
1929 Denver D
1929 San Francisco S
1930 Philadelphia
1930 San Francisco S

Errors and Varieties

The following are popular errors and varieties that Standing Liberty quarter collectors look for. These coins usually carry a premium and are valued above a common coin.

Year Mint Mint Mark Error/Variety Notes/Description
1918 Covered Breast (Type 2) San Francisco S 18 over 17 1918-S Doubled Die Obverse Photo

Mintage Figures

Mintage figures for the Standing Liberty quarter by mint facility are detailed below. Some numismatic scholars and researchers disagree that proof coins were produced in 1916 in 1917. At best they will agree that these coins were special mint strikes. Where possible, production numbers by strike type are noted.

Year Mint Mint Mark Mintage Notes
Type 1 - Bare Breasted, No Stars Below Eagle on Reverse
1916 Philadelphia 52,000
1916 Proof Philadelphia 5 Mintage figure is approximate
1917 Philadelphia 8,740,000
1917 Proof Philadelphia 10 Mintage figure is approximate
1917 Denver D 1,509,200
1917 San Francisco S 1,952,000
Type 2 - Covered Breast, Three Stars below Eagle
1917 Philadelphia 13,880,000
1917 Denver D 6,224,400
1917 San Francisco S 5,552,000
1918 Philadelphia 14,240,000
1918 Denver D 7,380,800
1918 San Francisco S 11,072,000
1919 Philadelphia 11,324,000
1919 Denver D 1,944,000
1919 San Francisco S 1,836,000
1920 Philadelphia 27,860,000
1920 Denver D 3,586,400
1920 San Francisco S 6,380,000
1921 Philadelphia 1,916,000
1923 Philadelphia 9,716,000
1923 San Francisco S 1,360,000
1924 Philadelphia 10,920,000
1924 Denver D 3,112,000
1924 San Francisco S 2,860,000
Type 3 - Recessed Date
1925 Philadelphia 12,280,000
1926 Philadelphia 11,316,000
1926 Denver D 1,716,000
1926 San Francisco S 2,700,000
1927 Philadelphia 11,912,000
1927 Denver D 976,000
1927 San Francisco S 396,000
1928 Philadelphia 6,336,000
1928 Denver D 1,627,600
1928 San Francisco S 2,644,000
1929 Philadelphia 11,140,000
1929 Denver D 1,358,000
1929 San Francisco S 1,764,000
1930 Philadelphia 5,632,000
1930 San Francisco S 1,556,000

Suggested Books on Standing Liberty Quarters

  • A Guide Book of United States Coins (The Red Book); Yeoman, R. S., (Kenneth Bressett, Editor); Whitman Publishing, Atlanta (annual).
  • Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins; Walter Breen; Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (May 1, 1988); ISBN-10: 0385142072; ISBN-13: 978-0385142076
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  • Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins: Volume II; Fivaz, Bill and J.T. Stanton; Publisher: Whitman Publishing, Atlanta (2006); ISBN-13: 978-0794820534
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  • Standing Liberty Quarters, 4th Edition; Cline, J.H.;  Zyrus Press, Irvine, CA, 2007; ISBN-10: 1933990007; ISBN-13: 978-1933990002
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  • Standing Liberty Quarters: Varieties & Errors; Knauss, Robert H.; Brooklyn Gallery; 2nd edition (2014)  ISBN-10: 0692207333; ISBN-13: 978-0692207338
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