By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
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If you plan on ordering the 2016 Standing Liberty Quarter Centennial Gold Coin (product code 16XC), then make sure you have the Mint’s online catalog page open no later than 11:59 am Eastern Time (ET) and hit refresh as soon as your computer says 12:00 pm ET.
Once you see the red “Add to Bag” button, click on it as fast as you can, because it’s not likely to stay that way for long…
Design & Specifications
The Standing Liberty Quarter Centennial is the second business strike .9999 fine, 24-karat gold coin the United States Mint is issuing this year as part of a special series commemorating the 100th anniversary of three classic coins first released to the American public in 1916. Sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil’s original design depicts Lady Liberty “awakening” to that fact that she must prepare for war. She raises a shield adorned with the Great Seal in front of herself with her left arm while holding an olive branch in her right hand, held back in such a way that she can almost be seen to be putting it down. Noticeably, she is bare-breasted like the French Marianne and recognizably dressed in a Classically Greek fashion, complete with a Phrygian cap (a time-honored icon of liberty). A length of fabric is draped between her shield and right hand. Liberty crosses through an opening in a low wall or enclosure that features the patriotic motif of 13 stars (seven to her right, six to her left – representing, of course, the 13 British colonies that gained their freedom by fighting the American Revolution) and the religious ideal of the National Motto “In God We Trust” (the stars).
She stands barefoot atop a step bearing the coin’s issue date. To the right of the date is the letter “M”, Hermon MacNeil’s designer mark.
The reverse features one of the great naturalistic eagles of American coinage. Thirteen stars are divided along the rim, with seven on the left and six on the right. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is located at the top, and beneath it in a smaller font is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The denomination QUARTER DOLLAR is nestled along the bottom edge, under the eagle’s body.
All of these elements, obverse and reverse, are still found in the 2016 gold reworking of MacNeil’s classic design. Thankfully, there was no moral panic at the sight of Liberty’s bare breast this go-round and the “Type I” obverse has served as the basis of the contemporary adaptation. The additional inscriptions AU, 24K and 1/4 OZ are found on the 2016 obverse; they designate the coin’s metal content, purity and weight, respectively. The West Point mint mark “W” is discretely placed on the wall next to Liberty’s right foot (all gold coins currently produced in the United States are manufactured at the West Point Mint).
The edges of both the original Standing Liberty quarter (1916-1930) and the commemorative gold coin are reeded, though they may vary in appearance.
Also, as it did with the 2016-W gold Mercury dime–the first in the three-coin series–the U.S. Mint has adhered as closely as it could to the original specifications. The Standing Liberty Quarter Centennial Gold Coin has a diameter of 22 mm – slightly smaller than the silver Standing Liberty quarter’s 24.3 mm. And like the 2016 Mercury Dime Centennial consists of 1/10 an ounce of gold in a clever acknowledgement of the original coin’s denomination, the new Standing Liberty gold coin consists of a quarter ounce.
Limits & Expectations
As mentioned above, the Standing Liberty Centennial is the second of three gold coins to be issued in 2016 honoring the masterpieces of American coinage that made their debuts a century ago.
The first, the Mercury Dime 2016 Centennial Gold Coin, commemorates Adolph A. Weinman’s iconic Winged Liberty design – commonly referred to as the Mercury dime. The gold dime went on sale at noon on April 21, only to be listed as “Unavailable” within one hour. Mint sales figures as of September 4 give a net total of 116,106 units sold to date. This is almost 9,000 less than the authorized mintage limit of 125,000 pieces, but the coin is still listed as Unavailable online. The initial order limit of 10 per household is still in effect.
The third commemorative–the Walking Liberty 2016 Centennial Gold Coin–honors another 1916 great by Adolph Weinman: his famous Liberty Walking design for the half dollar (1916-1947). As of this writing, a release date for the Walking Liberty gold coin is yet to be determined, though presumably it will consist of half an ounce of gold and maintain a similar fidelity to the original coin’s design as the previous two issues.
At any rate, the 2016-W Standing Liberty Gold Coin has a maximum mintage limit of 100,000 and an order limit of one per household. The order limit should make it easier for more collectors to obtain, but it won’t hamper the entrepreneurial spirit of those determined to flip the coin and make a tidy profit off of the secondary market. During the past week, some dealers have placed ads on Craigslist, offering slight premiums over cost to buy coins from individual collectors.
As for what that cost will be, on September 7 the Mint announced that the 2016 Standing Liberty Quarter Centennial Gold Coin will initially sell for $485.00 USD. Pricing is based on the United States Mint’s pricing schedule for products containing gold. These products are priced according to the range in which they appear on the United States Mint Gold Coin Pricing Grid.
One Last Word
While collectors can order the Standing Liberty Gold Coin by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468) (or 1-888-321-MINT for the hearing- and speech-impaired with TTY equipment), CoinWeek strongly believes that everyone who can place their orders online should do so. Until the United States Mint implements a system that gives phone and (God forfend) mail-order customers a fighting chance against the Internet, it’s the pragmatic thing to do.
In the case of the Mercury Dime Gold Coin–or after a “sellout” of the Standing Liberty gold, should that occur–it may be worthwhile to visit the coin’s online catalog page and sign up for email reminders of availability (the 2016 Walking Liberty Gold Coin is thrown in for good measure):
- Mercury Dime 2016 Centennial Gold Coin
- Standing Liberty 2016 Centennial Gold Coin
- Walking Liberty 2016 Centennial Gold Coin