Q:

How do you determine the date of a 1916 or 1917 Standing Liberty quarter if the date has worn off?

A:

Quick Answer

The so-called bare-breasted Standing Liberty quarter from 1916 and 1917 was minted in two types that can be easily distinguished. Three differences separate the 1916 version from the 1917 version, including a shallow bottom curve to Liberty's gown, one distinct and one blurred bead above her head in the edge design, and a blunt end to the hair's curve at the back of her head.

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Full Answer

In the 1917 version, the gown curve is sharper, forming a distinct J shape, and two beads are sharply distinct on either side of a line that forms the edge design above her head, while her hair tapers at the back of her head with an additional wisp on top of the primary curl. The bare-breasted design, part of an initiative to bring more artistry to United States coin design, backfired sharply.

Public outrage over Liberty's nudity was immediate, and the bare-breasted Liberty coin was pulled from production early in 1917 and redesigned. In the 1917 redesign, the artist covers Liberty in chain-mail up to her neck. The bare-breasted Liberty design is highly collectible, both for its design and the story attached to it, though it is not considered a rare coin. The 1916 version of Standing Liberty is worth, as of 2014, between $4,700 and $12,000, according to James Bucki for About.com.

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