Unlike many other coin series, the Standing Liberty quarter has undergone many different design changes over the years that it was produced. These changes have resulted in about three different variations in design that collectors attempt to find and add to their collections.
When the Mint started opened design submissions for the next quarter in 1915, Hermon MacNeil submitted his entry. This design would be tweaked by both MacNeil and Mint officials before it would finally be put into production in 1916. Design changes would occur through the upcoming years and were focused on making the design more durable when in circulation.
Centered on the obverse of the coin is Lady Liberty striding forward through a gate, holding a shield and olive branch. The gate has the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” split across the two sections. Date of mintage can be found centered below and “LIBERTY” centered above.
The reverse has a soaring American bald eagle centered, facing left. Mottos of “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be found centered above the eagle. The denomination of the coin “QUARTER DOLLAR” is found centered at the bottom of the reverse.
If you would like to learn more about collecting all types of quarters, including the Standing Liberty quarter, please read our Ultimate Guide To Rare Quarters.
History of the 1926 Standing Liberty Quarter
Because of the booming economy in the mid to late 1920s, mintage numbers for almost all coinage was increased greatly to help supply the overwhelming demand. The increased mintage production was also an attempt to help replace the old Standing Liberty coins whose dates would wear away slowly when in circulation.
The Mint at Philadelphia reports striking a total of 11,316,000 Standing Liberty quarters dated 1926. This mintage number was much higher than earlier years but typical of the time period.
Despite this high mintage, most examples had very weak strikes or the detail transfer from the die to the finished coin was not complete. Very few uncirculated 1926 Standing Liberty quarters have great strike qualities, and those that do command a premium.
Standing Liberty quarters are composed of a 90% silver and 10% copper mix and weigh 6.25 grams. Each coin has a diameter of 24.3 millimeters and a reeded edge.
Standing Liberty Quarter Strike Issues
A recurring theme in the Standing Liberty quarter story is the production problems and how the coin’s design caused in issues during mintage and circulation. Despite the Mint’s best efforts to correct these problems, the issues would never be completely resolved.
During the first production run of the Standing Liberty quarter, Mint officials noticed that the coin’s strikes were not always very strong. As these coins went out into circulation, it quickly became clear that the weak strikes and the coin’s design resulted in fast erosion of the date.
Design updates would try to correct the issue of weak strikes and wear troubles but ultimately would come up short.
Today, many, if not most, remaining Standing Liberty quarters have average or below average strikes. Very few examples have full and strong strikes. Those that do have strong strikes tend to command a premium in the collector market.
Currently, several third-party graders offer a designation that shows that a Standing Liberty quarter has a superior strike. Collectors of Standing Liberty quarters tend to look specifically for this designation as it means that the coin has a strike better than most others.
Valuing the 1926 Standing Liberty Quarter
Many 1926 Standing Liberty quarters still exist today, with many still in uncirculated condition. The bulk of the surviving Standing Liberty quarters are worn and priced at a point that most collectors can afford. Even in the lowest grade, Standing Liberty quarters will always be worth their value in silver.
In grades Good 4 and Very Good 8, a 1926 Standing Liberty quarter is worth around $5. A grade increase to Very Fine 20 sees an increase to $21. Extremely Fine 40 examples are valued at $46.
Uncirculated examples are valued at a much higher price compared to circulated examples. MS-60 examples realize a price of $145, a huge jump from examples in lower grades. A price of $230 is given to MS-63 examples, and a price of $490 is assigned to MS-65 coins.
With an above average strike designation, such as the Full Head designation by NGC, the price for most grades almost doubles. For example, the MS-63 price for a Full Head designation 1926 Standing Liberty quarter is $425.