Standing Liberty Quarters

1916 Standing Liberty Quarter

Along with the Walking Liberty half dollar, the buffalo nickel, and mercury dime, the standing liberty quarter began the "golden era" of US coins in which the insipid Barber series was replaced by coins that were artistically more pleasing.

The 1896 Five Dollars

Doris Doescher -- the Girl on the Quarter

Doris Doscher served as Hermon MacNeil's model for the coin. Representing Liberty, she held an olive branch in one hand contrasting with a shield in the other. After modelling for the quarter, Doscher was featured in the film "The Birth of a Race" which depicted two brothers at war -- one fighting for Germany and the other for the United States. Before getting to the main point, the film showed Adam & Eve. Doris Doscher played the part of Eve. The film was a flop.

The 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter

In 1916, the Standing Liberty Quarter was released where Liberty had an exposed breast. This should have been nothing new, after all, there were exposed breasts on the 1896 five dollar note. which depicted five semi-naked females. (In 1899, the hussies on the five dollar bill were replaced by an Indian Chief.)

The 1896 Five Dollars

Covering the Breast

1917 Standing Liberty Quarter

Midway through 1917, Miss Liberty became more modest and added chain mail as an undergarment. Although it is well accepted that this was due to public outcry over the exposed breast, it is likely that the chain mail was chosen to be symbolic of the american entry into World War I. A search of newspapers from the era suggests that Americans were preoccupied by World War I and the University of Oregon's defeat of Penn in the Rose Bowl and were unconcerned about the design of the quarter. Doris Doescher's right breast did not get nearly the reaction of Janet Jackson's right breast in the superbowl in 2004. In addition to adding the metallic underwear, the reverse of the coins was altered by adding stars underneath the eagle. The new design is known as a Type 2 Standing Liberty Quarter.

Preserving the date

1925 Standing Liberty QuarterOn the early standing liberty quarters, the date was the highest point on the coin, and therefore the first to wear off. In 1925, the date was recessed, thus preserving it from wear. Dr. Planchet refers to these as Type 3 Standing Liberty Quarters (although the term does not yet seem to have caught on elsewhere).

Collecting Standing Liberty Quarters

Considered a beautiful coin, the standing liberty quarters are highly collectable. The rarest date was the first date, 1916, in which a paltry 52,000 were produced. Because most of the pre-1925 standing liberty quarters had their dates wear off, most are scarce,with the scarcest being 1923-S. The quarters circulated widely, so that even the most common date becomes quite valuable in uncirculated condition.