PCGS Coin of the Month: 1917 Standing Liberty Quarter Type II

1917 Standing Liberty Quarter Type II, obverse

The 1917 Standing Liberty Quarter Type II, PCGS MS68FH is the Professional Grading Service’s (PCGS) Coin of the Month.

The 1917 Type II Standing Liberty quarter represents modifications to a design that originally showed the central obverse feature of Miss Liberty standing with an exposed breast, which – according to many numismatic accounts – was deemed offensive by some in the American public. This led to changes for the coin, debuting a year earlier in 1916, with a chain mail to more fully cover Miss Liberty. It also promoted slight modifications to the placement of the flying eagle and floating stars on the reverse of the coin, designed by Hermon A. MacNeil. 

1917 Standing Liberty Quarter Type II, reverse

Standing Liberty quarters aren’t rare in the categorical sense, though all dates are scarce to rare in the conditional sense. The coin was prone to incomplete strikes that rendered a soft-looking or mushy head on Miss Liberty yielding relatively little detail in her hair, cap, or ear. Collectors pay premiums for examples that show a “full head,” a desirable element imparted by way of complete, full strikes. Full Head Standing Liberty quarters are sought after by series enthusiasts and especially those who are working on registry sets. 

Whoever bought this outstanding example graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as a Mint State-68 Full Head will be well on their way to earning top honors if they include it in a set registry. This specimen is, after all, the single finest known for the issue – and sports impeccable surfaces and luscious eye appeal to boot! It’s little wonder that it mustered $114,000 when it was sold by Stack’s Bowers Galleries in August 2022. 

Coin Grading

Grade refers to a coin’s level of preservation: how many nicks or scratches or other imperfections it has. Coins are graded on a scale of one to 70, with higher numbers signifying higher grades.  One represents a coin that is so well worn that it’s barely identifiable as to its type. 70 represents a perfect coin: a coin that when viewed under a five-power magnifying glass has no visible imperfections.

60 through 70 represent the Mint State (MS) grades. A coin graded MS-60 can have so many nicks and scratches and flaws that it might look as if Godzilla used it as a teething ring. MS-65 is the industry standard for “Gem.” MS-66 through MS-69 are the near-flawless super-grade or wonder coin assignations. With each grade level above MS-66, the value might double or triple.

Grade names are used in addition to numerical grades. In ascending order, these word grades are About or Almost Good; Good; Very Good; Fine; Very Fine; Extra or Extremely Fine; About or Almost Uncirculated; and Mint State.

To subscribe to COINage magazine click here.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here