By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
The U.S. Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications reported on September 9 that first-day sales of the 2016 Standing Liberty Quarter Centennial Gold Coin totaled 47,884 pieces. This is 2,116 coins shy of half the maximum mintage limit of 100,000 as set by the Mint.
While customers who bought their coins on the first day have reported website crashes and multiple failed attempts to get through on the Mint’s telephone ordering system–experiences that are all-too-common when the Mint releases a highly anticipated coin–most were able to complete their orders. Undoubtedly, the order limit of one per household had something to do with the coin’s continued availability – but other factors are just as likely, including the high mintage and the $485.00 USD initial retail price.
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 series commemorating the 100th anniversary of three classic coins first released in 1916.
Sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil’s original design depicts Lady Liberty standing within the opening to a wall or garden enclosure. She raises a shield adorned with the Great Seal with her left arm while holding an olive branch in her right hand. Liberty is bare-breasted, as the “Type I” obverse has been used. She is dressed in a Classically Greek fashion, with a Phrygian cap (a symbol of liberty) atop her head. A length of fabric is draped between her shield and right hand. The wall to either side of her features 13 stars (seven to her right, six to her left – representing, of course, the original 13 British colonies), and the National Motto “In God We Trust” runs along its top.
Underneath Liberty’s barefoot is the coin’s issue date. To the right of the date is the letter “M”, Hermon MacNeil’s designer mark.
Thirteen stars are divided along the rim of the reverse, with seven to the left and six to the right of MacNeil’s masterful naturalistic eagle. 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.
The 2016 gold coin includes the additional legally-mandated inscriptions AU, 24K and 1/4 OZ on the 2016 obverse, designating the coin’s metal content, purity and weight. The West Point mint mark “W” is placed on the wall next to Liberty’s right foot.
The edges of both the original Standing Liberty quarter and the commemorative gold coin are reeded.
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.
The third coin in the centennial commemorative series–the 2016-W Walking Liberty Half Dollar Gold Coin–does not, at the time of writing, have a scheduled release date. The coin will honor sculptor and medallist Adolph A. Weinman’s iconic Liberty Walking design, found on the original Walking Liberty half dollar (1916-1947) and later on the obverse of the American Silver Eagle (1986-present).