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    Description

    1916 Pattern Standing Liberty Quarter, PR61
    Judd-1989, A Remarkable Discovery
    The First Offering of a Monumental Rarity

    1916 25C Standing Liberty Quarter Dollar, Judd-1989, formerly Judd-1795, Pollock-2050, R.8, PR61 NGC. Great numismatic rarities can still be found. In the case of this Judd-1989 pattern Standing Liberty quarter, the term "rare" does not even fully describe the importance of the discovery. Pattern Standing Liberty quarters are some of the rarest trial coins known, residing only in the Smithsonian Institution and the most prestigious private collections. They are the ultimate acquisition for collectors of the Standing Liberty quarter series, but one that most enthusiasts never even have a chance to see, let alone own. This newly discovered Judd-1989 example is destined to become one of the single most sought-after coins among Standing Liberty quarter specialists.

    Silver patterns of the Standing Liberty quarter were struck on at least two separate occasions, representing two different stages of the design's evolution. The first patterns represented the original models that Hermon MacNeil submitted to the Mint, and the later patterns represented the culmination of the Mint's efforts to conform the design to its mechanical requirements. These monumental rarities are relics of the most chaotic coin designing process that ever occurred at the United States Mint.

    June 1916 -- The First Patterns Are Struck
    Bronze casts of Hermon MacNeil's original quarter designs were accepted at the Philadelphia Mint on May 23rd, 1916. The goal was to make reductions, strike patterns, and have the new coin in production by July 1st, the start of the new fiscal year. A press release dated May 30th, stated:

    "In the new design Liberty is shown as a full length figure, front view, with head turned toward the left, stepping forward to the gateway of the country, and on the wall are inscribed the words 'In God We Trust,'... . The left arm of the figure of Liberty is upraised, holding the shield in the attitude of protection, from which the covering is being drawn. The right hand bears the olive branch of peace. On the field above the head is inscribed the word 'Liberty,' and on the step under her feet, '1916.'

    "The reverse of the coin necessitates by law a representation of the American Eagle and is here shown in full flight with wings extended, sweeping across the coin. Inscription 'United States of America' and 'E Pluribus Unum,' and 'Quarter Dollar' below. Connecting the lettering above on the outer circle are olive branches with ribbon that is stirred by the breeze as the bird flies."



    At least two patterns of this design were struck between May 29th and June 21st, and were presented to Mint Director Robert Woolley and the Secretary of the Treasury, William McAdoo. Numismatic researcher Roger W. Burdette documents these events in detail in Renaissance of American Coinage, 1916-1921. Director Woolley, upon viewing the new patterns, was displeased with the sharpness of the obverse. On June 24th, he wrote to Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Adam Joyce, saying that the obverse would "have to be made over."

    Reworking the design meant a long delay in the commercial production of the new coins. The July 1st target for commencement of coinage was abandoned, and a new schedule was prepared with a target release date of September 1st.

    The quarter patterns struck in early June 1916 are today designated Judd-1988. Two examples are in the Smithsonian Institution, and a third is in a private collection. It is graded AU50 PCGS and last sold in 2012 for $193,875.

    October 1916 -- New Patterns Are Struck
    Mint Director Robert Woolley resigned in July 1916, and was replaced at the beginning of September by F.H. von Engelken. By this time, MacNeil had radically reworked his obverse design, taking into account not only the complaints of the former Mint Director but also the evolution of his own artistic vision. He remodeled Liberty's figure, rearranged or modified several design elements, and added dolphins along the lower left and right borders. In Woolley's absence, Treasury Secretary McAdoo enthusiastically approved MacNeil's new obverse model on August 19th, and MacNeil promised bronze casts to be delivered to the Mint by September 9th.

    MacNeil's new obverse was in much higher relief than his previous model, the sculptor having no knowledge that such definition was not within the mechanical requirements of the Mint. Throughout July and August, the engraving department had been struggling to conform the new dime and half dollar designs, submitted by Adolph Weinman, to the mechanical requirements of mass coinage and commercial use in coin operated machines. In a letter to Assistant Secretary William P. Malburn, dated September 6th, newly appointed Mint Director von Engelken addressed the delays with the dime and half dollar designs, and added: "The twenty-five cent piece is not as yet available for our examination, but I am informed in the Mint at Philadelphia that from the designs so far submitted we can reasonably expect to be faced with the same situation."

    High relief on MacNeil's new bronze casts could explain why the Mint never progressed his modified design into a pattern stage, which would have been the normal procedure. Instead of having MacNeil rework the obverse yet again, further delaying the coinage of the new quarter, the Mint disregarded his new bronze casts and reverted to his original models, submitted back in May, with the goal of modifying them to conform to the requirements of coinage. From this point forward, MacNeil was left in the dark about progress on the new quarter dollar.

    The quarter design went through numerous modifications under von Engelken's supervision. The Director examined several lead impressions of design variations in mid-October, and he had at least two meetings with Superintendent Joyce regarding modifications that he wanted. These events culminated in a request for Joyce to send the Director silver samples of the final product. On October 20, 1916, Joyce sent von Engelken four silver patterns:

    1) A uniface silver die trial of the most recent reverse design
    2) A pattern from MacNeil's original models (either one of the June patterns or a new striking of the same design)
    3) A finished pattern embodying the recent alterations requested by the Director, with the luster "taken off for the purpose of ready comparison with the sample coin first submitted"
    4) A second finished pattern of the newest design variation but with its luster intact "as will be the natural product of the press"



    Von Engelken examined the patterns and replied to the Superintendent two days later:

    "I am returning to you herewith two of the four sample quarters you sent me, one being blank on one side with the reverse design on the other, the other being your No. 4 as submitted in your letter of October 20th.

    "With one slight alteration, the design as it appears on coin No. 4 is acceptable. The slight alteration referred to is the elimination of the two leaves in the angle of the letter 'L' in the word 'Liberty.' You will notice that I have scratched these two leaves off the coin I am returning to you. With this slight change you may go ahead and make up the dies for the finished coin. I have kept No. 2 and No. 3 which you can charge to me."



    Shortly thereafter in early November, upon request, Joyce also submitted samples of the new coins to Treasury Secretary McAdoo for approval. No documentation exists to suggest additional silver patterns were struck for this shipment, so it is likely that one of the samples sent to McAdoo was the same silver pattern off which von Engelken had scratched two olive leaves.

    The two new patterns referenced in the October Mint correspondence are today designated Judd-1989. Compared to Judd-1988, the letters in LIBERTY are significantly sharper and the date numerals are thinner. The inner shield is also less well-defined. On the reverse, the eagle is lower in the field and it is flanked by 13 stars rather than olive branches.

    Of the two pieces referenced in the October 1916 Mint letters, one (pattern #4) was sent back to the Mint with two olive leaves scratched off, and an old school of thought suggests that it later ended up in the estate of William McAdoo. The other (pattern #3), Mint Director von Engelken kept, and until recently it was not believed to have survived.

    The Hayes Specimen
    The Jimmy Hayes Collection (Stack's, 10/1985), lot 48, was the first public offering of a Judd-1989 pattern. Believed to be unique at the time, the coin showed two olive leaves covering the L in LIBERTY scratched off the obverse. That characteristic matched the description of the #4 pattern referenced in Mint Director von Engelken's October 22, 1916, letter to Superintendent Joyce: "You will notice that I have scratched these two leaves off the coin I am returning to you." The connection between the Hayes piece and the coin referenced in the October 1916 Mint letters is so convincing that it has never been challenged. It is likely that this specific coin was later among the samples submitted to McAdoo for examination in November.

    The Hayes coin has long been the Holy Grail of Standing Liberty quarters. It last appeared at public auction in Heritage's 2004 FUN Signature, where it garnered $312,000 -- the highest price ever realized for any Standing Liberty quarter. It is currently in a tightly held private collection.

    The New Discovery
    Great numismatic rarities can still be found, often where one would least expect. The Judd-1989 pattern quarter presented here was discovered by this cataloger on Thursday, June 7, 2018, masquerading as an ordinary 1916 Standing Liberty quarter. When first consigned to Heritage, it was filling the 1916 date slot in an ordinary Standing Liberty quarter album, alongside regular issues of other dates, apparently unrecognized as to its true identity.

    This piece is from the same dies that produced the Hayes coin. Mint-made striations on both sides of the coin align perfectly with those seen in high resolution images of the Hayes piece. However, the coin differs from the Hayes example in that all of the olive leaves are intact and the luster is somewhat muted. Rather than pose a concern, these characteristics serve to authenticate the coin and reveal its origin, as they seem to fit the description of the long lost pattern #3, referenced in Superintendent Joyce's October 20, 1916 letter to Mint Director von Engelken:

    "#3 is a finished piece embodying the suggestions received from you upon the occasion of your last visit, the natural luster having been taken off for the purpose of ready comparison with the sample coin first submitted."



    Von Engelken returned the #4 pattern after scratching off two olive leaves. He kept the #3 counterpart, which was from the same dies but had had the luster "taken off" -- dulled in some way -- by the Mint. This Judd-1989 specimen is almost certainly the long forgotten #3 pattern referenced in the late October 1916 Mint letters. Perhaps no other modern numismatic discovery is as important, at least for collectors of Standing Liberty quarters.

    Physical Description
    Struck in silver with a reeded edge. The design elements are struck to the full extent of the dies, as was the purpose of producing a silver pattern for the Mint Director to examine. The shield is indistinct, but this detail was lacking in the die (the Engraving Department sharpened the inner shield on the commercial issue). The surfaces are finely textured and show extensive die striations, which are diagnostic of the Judd-1989 dies. Luster is muted, apparently the product of the Mint dulling the surfaces of the pattern so that its detail could be easily compared to earlier die trials that also lacked natural luster. Both sides show light golden toning with varying degrees of intensity, complemented by flecks of russet around the borders. No significant surface problems are present, and the PR61 grade is hardly a knock of the coin's quality in light of its monumental rarity.

    In addition to the striated surfaces, extra leaves on the olive branch and the lack of the designer's initial differentiate this piece from circulation-strike 1916 Standing Liberty quarters. The obverse also shows indistinct detail on the inner shield, and Liberty's head is more three-dimensional and lacks the linear strands of the commercial coins.

    Although this piece is one of two Judd-1989 representatives known, the fact that all of the olive leaves are intact makes it functionally unique. The Hayes Judd-1989 pattern maintains its status as the Holy Grail of Standing Liberty quarters, but it must make room for this piece on equal footing. The coins are a pair, and this half of the duo has been more than a century in waiting for recognition.

    Roster of 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter Patterns

    Judd-1988
    1.) AU50 PCGS. Waldo C. Newcomer; King Farouk (Sotheby's, 2-3/1954), in lot 2018; Abe Kosoff Estate (Bowers and Merena, 11/1985), lot 1131; Jay Cline Collection (Superior, 10/1990), lot 3561; private treaty via Heritage Auctions (2002); Philadelphia ANA (Stack's Bowers, 8/2012), lot 11364, which realized $193,875.
    2.) Smithsonian Institution, inventory #1985.0551.0758.
    3.) Smithsonian Institution, inventory #1895.0551.0759.
    (A Judd-1988 pattern is believed to have been kept by Mint Director F.H. von Engelken, 10/1916.)

    Judd-1989
    1.) PR65 NGC. Possibly William McAdoo; memo'ed by Lester Merkin to a part-time dealer in Michigan for $5,000 in the early 1970s; dealer offered the coin to Jay Cline at that time, Cline declined; sold to Jimmy Hayes; Jimmy Hayes Collection (Stack's, 10/1985), lot 48, to Jay Cline at $20,900; Jay Cline Collection (Superior, 10/1990), lot 3560; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 2066, which realized $312,000; a southern collection; Simpson. The cover coin of Standing Liberty Quarters, third edition, by J.H. Cline.
    2.) PR61 NGC. Possibly Mint Director F.H. von Engelken (10/1916); unknown intermediaries; a private New Jersey collector. The present coin. (PCGS# 62285)


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
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