Coin Specifications

Category: Standing Liberty Quarters (1916-1930)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 52,000
Catalog: KM-141
Obverse Designer: Hermon A. MacNeil
Reverse Designer: Hermon A. MacNeil
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 6.2500g
ASW: 0.1808oz
Melt Value: $3.79 (7/22/2014)
Diameter: 24.3mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1916 STANDING 25C MS obverse 1916 STANDING 25C MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

Few issues demonstrate the deleterious effect of political aspiration on coinage history better than the Type One Standing Liberty quarter. Pursuant to the Mint Act of September 26, 1890, the federal government began to take action in the mid-1910s with the desire to replace Charles E. Barber's quarter design. Following an open competition, the Treasury Department approved Hermon Atkins MacNeil's design on December 28, 1915. The usual refinement period, exacerbated by Barber's notorious lack of cooperation, chewed up the majority of the following year. Although the Philadelphia and Denver Mints had coined more than 8 million 1916-dated Barber quarters, the parent facility was apparently impressed enough with MacNeil's Standing Liberty motif to begin production as rapidly as possible. Accordingly, Mint employees coined a mere 52,000 1916 Standing Liberty quarters between December 16 and 31. Another 12,201,200 pieces followed from all three Mints in the first half of 1917. By the middle of the year, however, political forces had arrayed against MacNeil's groundbreaking design. Numismatic scholars have shed much ink on the demise of the Type One Standing Liberty quarter. More often than not, Liberty's exposed breast has been cited as the reason behind the federal government's modification of MacNeil's original work. While this is essentially true, novice historians have tended to overstate the role of the Society for the Suppression of Vice in this process. In actuality, someone with considerably more political clout was stirring the coinage design cauldron. On April 16, 1917, Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo had written to Representative William Ashbrook of Ohio in protest to the Type One quarter design. On April 30, Ashbrook introduced McAdoo's bill before Congress. The document called upon the Mint to modify the original design by increasing the concavity of the fields and repositioning the eagle with relation to the stars. To support this aspiring law, McAdoo asserted (albeit erroneously) that the Type One coins would not stack properly. This proposal became Public Law 27 on July 9, 1917 and specified that no major changes should be made to the design other than those specifically stated. Since the approved modifications would have had a definite effect on the stacking qualities of the quarters, why did the Mint circumvent the law and further modify MacNeil's original design? While many numismatists see the jealous hand of Chief Engraver Barber at work, the real culprit was actually McAdoo himself.

Although not known to casual historians, McAdoo had married President Woodrow Wilson's daughter in 1914. Through this familial alliance, as well as his position as Secretary of the Treasury, McAdoo hoped to springboard himself into the White House after Wilson stepped down. However trivial the complaints from the Society for the Suppression of Vice may have seemed to many Americans, an aspiring politician such as McAdoo could not afford to ignore them. Accordingly, the Treasury Secretary fabricated the charge of improper stacking to mask his real intentions. While the Mint did carry out the authorized modifications, it also significantly altered the basic design by using a chain mail vest to cover Liberty's exposed breast. The Treasury Department did not even attempt to modify Public Law 27 to reflect this change, but it did enter into the Congressional Record the fact that McAdoo did not like the Type One design-the only statement of truth in the entire process. While McAdoo's presidential hopes were dashed in the elections of both 1918 and 1924, the illegal changes he ordered for the Standing Liberty quarter remained in use until the design's eclipse in 1930.

As the first year of the design and one of only four Type One deliveries, the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter is the most important issue in the entire series. With only 52,000 pieces struck, this P-mint quarter is also among the premier rarities of 20th century coinage. Since curious citizens were content to set aside examples of the numerous 1917-dated quarters, many of the 1916 pieces probably perished in the avenues of commerce. Nevertheless, enough of these coins were saved to provide average Mint State specimens for advanced collectors. On the other hand, deep pockets alone will not secure a Superb Gem representative.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 5/21/2014

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1916 STANDING 25C MS
1916 STANDING 25C MS Full Head
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - 13750 14350 15000 15750 16500 17000 18750 23500 27500 38250 49000 145000 - - -
$ - 14250 14750 15500 16250 16900 17500 21300 26000 32000 43150 66000 200000 -
NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 834
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 67


Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
8/9/2014 MS 64   Full Head Heritage Auctions 2014 August 5, 7 & 9 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(4), 1208/Lot# 5573


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
3/20/2005 NGC G 4   Teletrade Auction 2015, 2015/Lot# 1188 $2,475.00
8/8/2007 PCGS MS 64   Full Head Heritage Auctions 2007 Milwaukee, WI (ANA) Signature Coin Auction #444, 444/Lot# 1664 $19,550.00
1/9/2008 PCGS AU 58   Full Head Heritage Auctions 2008 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #454, 454/Lot# 2803 $14,950.00
5/27/2010 NGC F 15   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 483, 489/Lot# 7265 $6,210.00
9/19/2010 PCGS MS 62   Full Head Goldberg September 19-21, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 60/Lot# 1529 $21,275.00
9/6/2012 PCGS AU 50   Heritage Auctions 2012 September 6-9 US Coins Signature Auction- Long Beach Session(2), 1174/Lot# 3918 $11,162.50
10/17/2012 PCGS VF 30   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 1563 $7,755.00
12/22/2013 PCGS   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 12/22/2013, 166/Lot# 159525 $1,870.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1916 STANDING 25C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1969252527542960312633453396344734703486351035253564360136754080499268208200120751179514655
215426012822301531993362341334543475349435153538357636253810438456017280949112075127480
00000034133454347534943515353835763625381043845601728094911207500
000000343034623480350235203551358836503945468862107740107831207500
1916 STANDING 25C MS Full Head
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base3333334063583374737733790381438313872391239914565571174319918143474425274250
3333113734653637375537783798381938443885393841824947628482601139424315542510
000000363737553778379838193844388539384182494762848260113942431500
000000369237643784380638253858389839644373532968579089128703428300
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 3510
Owner: JMWorlock
 
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