In 1916, the Standing Liberty quarter replaced the Liberty Head quarter, more widely known as the Barber Quarter (for its namesake designer, Charles Barber). While both the last Barber quarters and the first Standing Liberty quarters were made during the same year, 1916, there were 8,328,800 Barbers made versus a tiny 52,000 Standing Liberties.
The extremely low mintage of the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter has resulted in that piece becoming a significant rarity that today commands prices of more than $3,000 for a specimen in a grade of Good-4. For a base-level uncirculated 1916 Standing Liberty quarter, prices exceed $15,000. The 1916 Standing Liberty quarter draws heavy attention for several reasons:
It is a first-year type coin
It has a low mintage
It features a risqué design
What about that “risqué design”? Well, In 1916 and during the first months of 1917, the Standing Liberty quarter had a featured something on the obverse that made many people in 1916 blush – an exposed breast. That’s right – Miss Liberty’s right breast is completely exposed on the obverse of the early Standing Liberty quarters. The Hermon A. MacNeil design drew some controversy, and in 1917 the design was modified to fully cover Liberty’s front side.
The reverse design, a flying eagle surrounding by 13 stars and the legends UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, QUARTER DOLLAR, and E PLURIBUS UNUM proved much less controversial.