Liberty standing quarters and liberty walking half dollars were silver coins made in the 1900s that are considered to be among the most attractive United States coins.
The Liberty standing quarter was minted from 1916 to 1930, and worth twenty-five cents. It was 24.3 mm diameter, about an inch, and 90% pure silver. Herman A. MacNeil was the designer. Lady Liberty holds an olive branch in her right hand and a shield in her left. She is facing front and looks to the left and stands between two walls with In God, on one side, and We Trust on the other. The word, Liberty is on the top. The image is reminiscent of ancient Greek sculpture. In 1916, the U. S. Mint made 52,000 of these coins.Credit: Public Domain
In 1916 and 1917 the lady Liberty image featured a bare breast. This changed in 1917 to have her robe cover her breast. The mint made approximately 4,353,200 of the bare breast design. In 1917 there were 25,626,400 of the new design were made and 4,300,000 of the old design.Credit: Public Domain
The date is on the bottom of the coin, and wore off easily on the coins made between 1916 to 1924. The coins from 1925 and later had the date recessed into the coin, ad didn't wear down as quickly. Coins without a date are not collector quality.
The obverse side is an eagle in full flight. United States of America is above the eagle, and Quarter Dollar is underneath it. E Pluribus Unum is in small letters between the wings.
The Liberty walking half dollar was a similar design to the standing quarter. It was worth fifty cents and made between 1916 to 1947. It is 30.61mm diameter or about an inch and a quarter. Lady liberty faces left, walking toward the rising sun, and holds an olive branch. Adolph A. Weinman designed the coin. The walking liberty half has 90% silver content and 10% copper as does quarter.
The word liberty encircles the top and the date is on the bottom. In God We Trust is in small text behind Liberty's right calf.
The reverse is an eagle facing left with wings spread and standing on a rock. One claw holds a pine branch to symbolize America. United States of America encircles the top of the coin, and Half Dollar the bottom. E Pluribus Unum is in small text to the left of the eagle. Many consider this coin the finest U. S. coin design.
These coins were difficult to mint. The dies sometimes didn't make a perfect strike, even with proofs, and some coins lack detail. The amount of detail varies from coin to coin, even with uncirculated coins.
When these coins were minted, was common to receive them in change. They were used, unlike today's half dollars. Therefore, only a small percentage of the total mintage is in decent condition for collecting. In collecting these coins, like any collecting, condition is everything and determines coin value. Most of the liberty coins that remain are worn with much of the detail rubbed away. The coins that do have sharp details command a high price to collectors. As in all collecting, the buyer is well advised to do research on condition and prices.
These are elegant coins. The United States has never, from an artistic standpoint, minted more attractive coins. They cover a part of United States history that covers two World Wars and the great depression. They are truly memorable.