NGC Certifies Rare Standing Liberty Quarter Pattern

Posted on 7/2/2018

The extremely rare coin will be part of a Heritage Auctions sale in August.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has certified an extremely rare pattern 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter. Graded NGC PF 61, it is believed to be only the second example in existence.

The coin was originally graded by another third-party grading service, which had identified it as a regular 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter. The error was undetected until a sharp-eyed numismatist at Heritage Auctions noticed that the design differed from the regular issue. It was then submitted to NGC, which verified the discovery.

1916 Standing Liberty Quarter, J-1989 pattern, graded NGC PF 61.
Click images to enlarge.

A pattern is a coin struck with proposed design or composition. US patterns are attributed according to the catalog United States Pattern Coins by J. Hewitt Judd, and this piece is listed as J-1989 (J-1795 in earlier editions of the reference).

The J-1989 pattern differs from the regular 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter in several ways: It is missing the “M” designer’s initial to the right of the date and it has a different style olive branch near the “L” in “LIBERTY”.

Close-ups of the obverse of the J-1989 pattern, graded NGC PF 61 (left), and a regular 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter.
Click images to enlarge.

NGC had previously certified one other J-1989 specimen, an NGC PF 65 example that was sold by Heritage Auctions in January 2004 for $312,000. Heritage Auctions will sell the newly discovered NGC PF 61 example as part of Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night on August 16.

“This year has shown that it is still possible to make great discoveries in US numismatics and that it pays to look closely at every coin,” says Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman and Grading Finalizer. “And the fact that this pattern was missed by another third-party grading service serves as a reminder to ‘buy the coin, not the holder.’”

The Standing Liberty Quarter was introduced amid a dramatic revamp of America’s coinage designs. American sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil was selected to redesign the quarter, and his final design of the allegorical figure of Liberty standing with a shield was ultimately struck in December 1916.

These 1916-dated regular issues are themselves rare with a mintage of just 52,000. Patterns from this era, however, are extremely rare and many inadvertently entered circulation, making identification more difficult.

For more information about the newly discovered 1916 J-1989 Standing Liberty Quarter pattern, visit Heritage Auctions’ website,

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