About 1916 Standing Liberty Quarters Full Head
The 1916 Standing Liberty quarter is not only a first-year type, but it's also one of the scarcest regular-issue quarters since the year 1900. With a production run of only 52,000 pieces, the 1916 Standing Liberty is the second-lowest mintage quarter of the 20th century, ahead of only the rare 1913-S Barber quarter, with a mintage of 40,000. Of course, mintage figures alone don?t tell the whole story behind the rarity and value of the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter. Professional Coin Grading Service estimates there are just 10,000 surviving 1916 Standing Liberty quarters across all grades, and among these only 500 exist in grades of MS60 or better.
Why were the numbers for these coins so low? They were struck at the Philadelphia Mint during the last two weeks of 1916, the year when the last of the Barber quarters were being produced by the millions. The first 1916 Standing Liberty quarters were released shortly later in January 1917, with many folks in the public taking offense at the appearance of Miss Liberty's exposed right breast on the obverse of the coin. The design, by Hermon A. MacNeil, was modified partway through 1917, with the addition of a chain mail over Miss Liberty's chest. There were also some changes made to the reverse in the arrangement of the stars surrounding the flying eagle motif. These changes are well recognized by numismatists and resulted in the creation two distinct subtypes for the Standing Liberty series. Type I, in production from 1916 to early 1917, shows Miss Liberty's exposed breast; Type II, in production from 1917 on through the end of the series in 1930, depicts Miss Liberty adorned in the chain mail, along with three stars under the eagle on the reverse.
1916 Standing Liberty quarters are scarce in all grades, with even well-worn examples trading well above $1,000. Mint State examples are also scarce, but not necessarily rare as many examples were saved of this first-year Philadelphia Mint issue. Many 1916 Standing Liberty quarters exhibit soft strikes, but Full Heads are not necessarily rare among the surviving uncirculated specimens and can be encountered with some frequency among Gem specimens.
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