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Lot
5562

1916 25C MS67 Full Head NGC. The 1916 Standing Liberty quarter is a curious issue. Few examples (in absolute terms) were se...

2005 June New York, NY Signature Auction #380

 
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Auction Ended On: Jun 29, 2005
Item Activity: 11 Internet/mail/phone bidders
2,375 page views
Location: New York, NY
Description:
Amazing MS67 Full Head 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter
1916 25C MS67 Full Head NGC. The 1916 Standing Liberty quarter is a curious issue. Few examples (in absolute terms) were set aside at the time of issue, making this a seldom-encountered date in all grades. However, because of the high prices this issue commands in all grades, it is generally available in major auctions, which makes it seem more available than it really is. In the ultimate grade of MS67, though, there can be no doubt about the rarity of the 1916 quarter. Heritage handles tens of millions of dollars in rare coins each year, and it has been five years since we have offered an MS67 1916 quarter for sale at public auction. Only six pieces have been certified as MS67 by the two major services--two by NGC and four by PCGS, and none are finer (5/05).
Much has been speculated about the redesign of the Type One Standing Liberty quarter. Most of that speculation centers around the alleged "indecency" of the exposed breast of Liberty, speculation that persists to this day. Novice historians (including Walter Breen) have tended to overstate the role of the Society for the Suppression of Vice in the redesign process. In reality, someone with considerably more political clout was responsible for the design change. 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 legislation, 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, who 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 1920 and 1924, the illegal changes he ordered for the Standing Liberty quarter remained in use until the design was retired in 1930.
This is a truly amazing 1916 quarter. It is, in fact, a truly amazing Standing Liberty quarter regardless of date. Brilliant throughout, the surfaces exude a thick mint frost that rolls around each side unimpeded by the post-striking defects one would expect on a lower graded coin. The striking details are especially notable, especially for a 1916 quarter, with strong horizontal shield lines, unusually sharp definition on the ear, neck, and throat of Liberty, and a sharp line separating the hair. This is a very rare opportunity for the specialist that should be carefully considered as this date is seldom offered for sale in such a superior state of preservation.(#5705) (Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 242Y, PCGS# 5705)

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