The Standing Liberty Quarter

Specifications, Details and General Information

standing liberty quarter
Close-Up of a Standing Liberty Quarter. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, www.ha.com

Background and History

The first Standing Liberty quarter was minted in December of 1916. Prior to that, the Barber quarter had been in existence for 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 obverse was redesigned 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, the 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:

Type 1, 2 and 3

About halfway through 1917 the obverse and the reverse design on the Standing Liberty quarter was changed. On the obverse, Lady Liberty's exposed breast was covered with a coat of chainmail. The reverse was changed from having 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 Type 3.

  • Photo Comparing Standing Liberty Quarter Type 1, 2 and 3

Detailed Specifications

Issuing GovernmentUnited States of America
 $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, 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) 
 10.340
Diameter24.26 mm 
Thickness 1.75 mm 
Edge TypeReeded
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. 

YearMintMint MarkType
Type 1 - Bare Breasted, No Stars Below Eagle on Reverse
1916Philadelphia  
1916 ProofPhiladelphia  
1917Philadelphia  
1917 ProofPhiladelphia  
1917DenverD 
1917San FranciscoS 
Type 2 - Covered Breast,  Three Stars below Eagle on the Reverse
1917Philadelphia  
1917DenverD 
1917San FranciscoS 
1918Philadelphia  
1918DenverD 
1918San FranciscoS 
1919Philadelphia  
1919DenverD 
1919San FranciscoS 
1920Philadelphia  
1920DenverD 
1920San FranciscoS 
1921Philadelphia  
1923Philadelphia  
1923San FranciscoS 
1924Philadelphia  
1924DenverD 
1924San FranciscoS 
Type 3 - Recessed Date
1925Philadelphia  
1926Philadelphia  
1926DenverD 
1926San FranciscoS 
1927Philadelphia  
1927DenverD 
1927San FranciscoS 
1928Philadelphia  
1928DenverD 
1928San FranciscoS 
1929Philadelphia  
1929DenverD 
1929San FranciscoS 
1930Philadelphia  
1930San FranciscoS 

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.

YearMintMint MarkError/VarietyNotes/Description
1918 Covered Breast (Type 2)San FranciscoS18 over 171918-S Doubled Die Obverse Photo

Mintage Figures

The following table lists mint production numbers for the number of Standing Liberty quarter produced at each mint facility. 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.

YearMintMint MarkMintage  Notes
Type 1 - Bare Breasted, No Stars Below Eagle on Reverse
1916Philadelphia 52,000 
1916 ProofPhiladelphia 5Mintage figure is approximate
1917Philadelphia 8,740,000 
1917 ProofPhiladelphia 10Mintage figure is approximate
1917DenverD1,509,200 
1917San FranciscoS1,952,000 
Type 2 - Covered Breast,  Three Stars below Eagle on the Reverse
1917Philadelphia 13,880,000 
1917DenverD6,224,400 
1917San FranciscoS5,552,000 
1918Philadelphia 14,240,000 
1918DenverD7,380,800 
1918San FranciscoS11,072,000 
1919Philadelphia 11,324,000 
1919DenverD1,944,000 
1919San FranciscoS1,836,000 
1920Philadelphia 27,860,000 
1920DenverD3,586,400 
1920San FranciscoS6,380,000 
1921Philadelphia 1,916,000 
1923Philadelphia 9,716,000 
1923San FranciscoS1,360,000 
1924Philadelphia 10,920,000 
1924DenverD3,112,000 
1924San FranciscoS2,860,000 
Type 3 - Recessed Date
1925Philadelphia 12,280,000 
1926Philadelphia 11,316,000 
1926DenverD1,716,000 
1926San FranciscoS2,700,000 
1927Philadelphia 11,912,000 
1927DenverD976,000 
1927San FranciscoS396,000 
1928Philadelphia 6,336,000 
1928DenverD1,627,600 
1928San FranciscoS2,644,000 
1929Philadelphia 11,140,000 
1929DenverD1,358,000 
1929San FranciscoS1,764,000 
1930Philadelphia 5,632,000 
1930San FranciscoS1,556,000 

Suggested Books on Standing Liberty Quarters

  • 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
    Compare Prices
  • 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
    Compare Prices
  • Standing Liberty Quarters, 4th Edition; Cline, J.H.;  Zyrus Press, Irvine, CA, 2007; ISBN-10: 1933990007; ISBN-13: 978-1933990002
    Compare Prices
  • Standing Liberty Quarters: Varieties & Errors; Knauss, Robert H.; Brooklyn Gallery; 2nd edition (2014)  ISBN-10: 0692207333; ISBN-13: 978-0692207338
    Compare Prices

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