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HomeUS CoinsPreliminary MacNeil Sketch for the Reverse of the Standing Liberty Quarter

Preliminary MacNeil Sketch for the Reverse of the Standing Liberty Quarter

As offered as LOT #4469 in the Heritage 2018 January FUN US Coins Signature Auction and described in the catalog below, this is original artwork for a proposed reverse of the Standing Liberty Quarter. a true piece of numismatic history sketched by Hermon MacNeil.

“Paper: 7.5×10 in. Sketch: 5.5 in. dia. Famously displayed in the Eric P. Newman Money Museum, this original Hermon MacNeil sketch of a proposed reverse for the Standing Liberty quarter was salvaged from the sculptor’s studio after his death in 1947 by John A. Coughlin, a neighbor and professional illustrator. Per research by Roger Burdette, who plated this and other MacNeil sketches in Renaissance of American Coinage, 1916-1921 (2005), Coughlin was also the source of MacNeil scrapbooks and related documents that now reside in the Smithsonian Archives in Washington D.C. This sketch was also plated by Don Taxay in The U.S. Mint and Coinage (1966).

This drawing was among those presented to Mint Director Woolley in late March 1916, as a proposed revision of the reverse design for the quarter. It incorporates the olive branches used on the later patterns, but they are shorter here and lack the ribbon ties. E PLURIBUS UNUM is tucked in the field above the eagle’s wings with the other legends around the border. Wingtip feathers protruding downward from the eagle’s body suggest that MacNeil repositioned the far wing partway through the execution of the sketch. Although many elements are individually different, the overall similarity of this design’s layout to the reverse of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle may have contributed to Woolley not choosing it for the quarter. After all, having MacNeil revise his quarter designs after the end of the competition was intended to assure a distinctive appearance for each denomination.

The paper shows minor yellowing and foxing, particularly around three of the edges.
Ex: Hermon MacNeil; John A Coughlin; Eric P. Newman (c. 1960); Eric P. Newman Collection / ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2016), lot 3820.”

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