Standing Liberty Quarter Overview
The Standing Liberty quarter, though short-lived, is widely regarded as one of the most elegant and attractive pieces of American coinage ever minted and is popular among collectors for this reason.
As part of the initiative started by Theodore Roosevelt to beautify American coins, a new quarter design was commissioned in 1916 to replace the very unpopular Barber quarter that had been in use since 1892.
Hermon Atkins Macneil’s design was ultimately chosen. Macneil’s classical obverse design depicts Lady Liberty standing in the center holding a shield in one hand and an olive branch in the other. Along the upper rim is the legend “LIBERTY,” and at the base is the year of mintage. The walls on the left and right hold the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
The comparatively simple reverse features a flying eagle with the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” in the top field as well as the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” Below the eagle is the denomination “QUARTER DOLLAR.”
The design of the Standing Liberty quarter is divided into two types. The first type was minted in 1916 and part of 1917 and shows Liberty with a bare breast. For reasons not entirely known, although they may be reasonably assumed, this was changed in the second year of mintage.
This second design type fixed the issue by having Liberty wear chain mail on her torso. Type II coins themselves continued to be altered in minor ways (mostly on the reverse) until 1930, when the coin ceased production to make way for the Washington quarter which would be minted two years later.
History of the 1925 Standing Liberty Quarter
1925 saw a modification of the Standing Liberty quarter that some numismatists consider to be a subtype of Type II. Similar to the Buffalo nickel, one major issue with Standing Liberty quarters was that the mintage date had a tendency to wear off quickly with circulation.
In order remedy this, the design was altered, placing the date within a deep recess and thus reducing its rate of wear. This new design feature was continued for the rest of the coin’s production.
Unlike the other years of this coins mintage, in 1925 the Standing Liberty quarter was only minted in Philadelphia, with a total production number of 12,280,000.
Compositionally, this issue is 90% silver and 10% copper, typical for the series. The coin’s mass of 6.25 grams and diameter of 24.3 millimeters is likewise standard.
Grading the 1925 Standing Liberty Quarter
With any coin as intricate and detailed as the Standing Liberty quarter, wear is going to be an issue.
Although the date problem was solved in this year, the rest of the coin was still subject to deterioration, and because of all the fine details present, especially on the obverse face, there are many factors that go into grading this coin.
On the obverse, the most important elements for determining grade are Liberty’s right knee and the center of her shield, which should show a Union Shield icon with distinct vertical lines.
On the reverse, the breast and left wing on the eagle are the crucial points for determining wear.
Although less about wear and more about strike quality, the Full Head designation is a very significant factor in this coin’s quality and, thus, its value. In order to be certified as a Full Head specimen, you must be able to distinguish three elements on Liberty’s head: three leaves in her hair, a complete hairline across her brow, and an ear indentation.
Full Head quarters are hard to come by, regardless of condition, and command a much higher value.
We hope this section can help you get a rough idea of the grade of your coin, but if your intention is to sell, it may be worthwhile to have your coin certified by a professional coin-grading organization.
Valuing the 1925 Standing Liberty Quarter
Most grades of the 1925 quarter are not considered rare, so the coin can be had for a reasonable price. However, even mid-grade specimens carry a nice value, and high quality examples are worth quite a bit.
The minimum value for a 1925 quarter is typically its melt value, or how much the silver content is worth to a precious metals dealer. Based on the current spot price of silver, the melt value for this coin is approximately $2.79.
In terms of numismatic value (a coin’s value to collectors), the 1925 Standing Liberty quarter is worth between $4 and $8 in grades of Good-4 to Fine-12. This should be taken as the average range for these coins.
The value increases to $21 in Very Fine-20, $46 in Extremely Fine-40, $101 in About Uncirculated-50, and $160 in Uncirculated (MS-60). Brilliant Uncirculated (MS-65) examples are valued at $258. Above MS-65, the value increases dramatically, though coins in this condition are very rare.
The Full Head designation drastically raises the value of your quarter, usually doubling it. To illustrate this, let’s take an MS-66 example. Without Full Head, it is valued at $850. With Full Head, the value jumps to $1,950!