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Grading standing libertys

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Hi folks

I've just picked up my first coin in this series and am looking for a bit of advice

There are coins graded FH ( full head ) and some graded as standard .

Is it ok to mix them in completing the set or do you stick to one sort . ?


Also how can one coin grade ms65 FH and another grade ms65 without the FH rating .? What has the non FH coin got that the other doesn't have to get that grade . ?


I always thought that wear marks are wear marks so why the difference between them .


Just a couple of nagging questions from a newb .


Also 1 totally off subject . If i buy a nice all over toned coin, Does the toning get better than it is at the moment or does it just all colour out after a while . And if you wanted to keep the colour that it has at the moment do you have to seal it up in a slab ?


Thanks for reading

Cheers martin :-)



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Howdy Martin and welcome to the world of Standing Liberty quarters (SLQs).


The FH you see is a designation and not a grade. The designation is for "Full Head" and implies a certain level of detail within the head, hair, ear and sprig of the coin. However, coins that receive the designation do not truly have a full head since this design detail was never quite perfected and, more importantly, coins with the FH designation will not necessarily be well struck overall. Some coins within this series are prohibitively rare with the FH designation and you may end up spending 10-20 times more for a coin with the FH designation vs. a virtually identical (and perhaps better struck) coin in the same grade, but without the FH designation.


Many folks attempt to buy one or more SLQs as type coins and if this is your plan then you may be able to buy FH designated coins for a reasonable level since you can choose the date of the coin. However, if you are putting a full set together in MS, then only the wealthiest of collectors will attempt to put that set together in FH, too. My advice would be to purchase attractive, original, well struck coins at fair prices regardless of whether or not the coin has the FH designation. Toning on a coin typically stops, for all intents and purposes, once the coin is removed from the source of the oxidation. Therefore, unless something is clinging to the surface of the coin that is causing the toning, you should be able to own coins that will not change in appearance any appreciable amount over time.


Buy Standing Liberty Quarters by JH Cline, which is probably the best reference on the series and which discusses the FH standards of the three subtypes within the series as well as the relative difficulty in finding each date within the series in MS and other grades, too. Personally, I like these coins in MS as type coins, but I would collect the series by date in VF or EF if I chose to put a date set together. Good luck.

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It is perfectly OK to mix Full Head and non Full Head Standing Liberty quarters in the same set. In fact, unless you are very wealthy AND you have the right connections with specialist dealers, it’s really the only way you CAN go. As Tom wrote, some date and mint combinations are prohibitively rare with the Full Head designation, and experts disagree as whether or not some pieces that get the Full Head (FH) marking really are Full Head coins.


I’ll warn you now that the Standing Liberty set is very tough, especially if you are looking for “perfectly” struck coins. I once had a very wealthy client who wanted to put together the entire set in Full Head. I got a couple of coins for him, and he won’t buy them because they didn’t have full gown and shield details. The trouble was he was hooked on the look of the 1917 Type I Philadelphia mint quarter, which almost always comes full struck. He thought that the others should look like that too. I explained to him that what he wanted to do was impossible and got him interested in other coins.


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