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Standing Liberty quarters stand firm

When it comes to collecting Standing Liberty quarters, why should collectors go straight for the key date 1916, when prices start at $2,850 in G-4 alone?

If they do, they’ll take a huge step toward completing a series that is considered to be a gorgeous example of American coinage.

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The 1916 Standing Liberty quarter is the key date of the Standing Liberty quarter series.

And now is a good time to buy as the market seems to be in a pause.

Alex Pancheco, owner of Tipsico Coin, Corvallis, Ore., said that quality is key when it comes to Standing Liberty quarters.

“People are moving more to quality,” he said. “It’s almost impossible to sell an uncirculated Standing Liberty quarter without it being certified.”

Standing Liberty quarters that feature fully struck dates denote a nicely struck coin, he said.

“There are dates I always look for like the 1924-D, where quality at the Mint was atrocious and they’re rare with a full date,” he said. “Others include the 1919-S, the 1927-S and the 1923-S, where full dates will always sell.

“The period between 1919 and 1924 is the time to look for Standing Liberty quarters with full dates.”

Dr. Eugene Bruder, a numismatist from Chico, Calif., said anything that’s rare and key seems to be holding its price.

“Collectors should look out for well struck coins with natural surfaces,” Bruder said. “The shield is important in higher grades if you’re collecting them. I look for a coin with a full head and a well struck shield. I try to buy ones that are struck well all around, not just on the head.

“They demand a much higher premium. Well struck examples can earn many times more than the average strike. Some Standing Liberty quarters that are well struck can earn 10 to 20 times their usual value, especially if they’re from the 1920s when a lot of the quarters were weakly struck.”

Toned Standing Liberty quarters are also wanted on the market right now, he said.

“Toning is really tough for the series,” Bruder said. “Standing Liberty quarters don’t tone well for some reason. If I find a well toned one, it goes away fast.”

There are also other dates that collectors should have little trouble finding, he said.

“The 1917 Standing Liberty quarters, both types, are easy to find because a lot were minted and many were saved,” Pancheco said. “Same with the 1924 and 1924-S, along with the 1923.

“The 1916 seems to be soft right now. It will be available in good to fine if you’ve got the money.”

Most dealers tend to overgrade Standing Liberty quarters.

“The 1916 seems to be soft right now. It will be available in good to fine if you’ve got the money.”

The market for Standing Liberty quarters also depends on location, he said.

“Philadelphia and Denver minted Standing Liberty quarters are tougher on the West Coast,” he said. “Those out in the East Coast always want the San Francisco ones.

When collecting Standing Liberty quarters, it is important to look for a correctly graded coin and not to settle for one for the sake of filling a hole in the collection, Pancheco said.

“Most dealers tend to overgrade Standing Liberty quarters,” he said. “I really wish that collectors would learn to grade better. That will prevent them from buying an overgraded coin. Look for a coin with a full date.

For a series with an expensive group of key and semi-key dates, collectors should also focus their attention and funds on the keys first, he said.

“Many people start with the common dates and don’t want to spend the money on the key dates and end up with a collection only worth 90 percent,” Pancheco said.

Bruder said the Standing Liberty quarter is always a popular coin to collect.

“It’s a beautiful coin series and a lot of people love them,” he said. “I think everyone can collect this series.

“The coin designs from the teens to the ’30s were the epitome of our nation’s coinage.

A recent slowdown in the coin market is affecting sales of Standing Liberty quarters, he said.

“They have slowed,” Bruder said. “They were selling well for some time and, about six months ago, it really slowed down.

“The whole market isn’t selling well.”

Pancheco said there are reasons Standing Liberty quarters have seen a tough market lately.

“All the quarter series are cold,” he said.

“When the state quarters were out, everyone wanted to collect quarters. When that ended, so did the quarter collecting.”

The large amount of modern coins released each year may also affect the market, he said.

“Modern coin series are more actively pursued because they are less expensive,” Pancheco said. “A lot of what the Mint puts out today soaks up money that collectors have.”

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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