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What Does “Full Head” Mean on Standing Liberty Quarters?

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Many collectors may be familiar with the term “Full Head” (or “FH”), as it relates to Standing Liberty Quarters. But what does this mean? What distinguishes a Full Head Standing Liberty Quarter from a non-FH specimen? And what are Full Head Standing Liberty Quarters worth?

Standing Liberty Quarter, 1916 25C Standing Liberty, FH, PCGS MS67FH. Click image to enlarge.

Defining Full Head

PCGS awards the Full Head grading designation to certain Standing Liberty Quarters grading AU50 or better, with an exception as noted below. The FH designation applies to qualifying Standing Liberty Quarters, with different criteria applying to the Type I (1916-1917) issues versus those used when grading Type II (1917-1930) specimens.

  • Type I Standing Liberty Quarters earn the FH designation when there is a clear and distinct separation between Miss Liberty’s hair cords and her cap.
  • Type II Standing Liberty Quarters receive the Full Head designation when the helmet exhibits three complete and distinct leaves, a complete outline on the bottom of the helmet, and a clear ear hole on Miss Liberty’s head.

There is one notable exception when it comes to applying the Full Head designation on the rare 1918/7-S overdate. On these varieties, PCGS will appoint the FH designation to coins meeting the Type II Full Head standards for coins grading XF40 or better.

What Are Full Head Standing Liberty Quarters Worth?

As noted, Full Head Standing Liberty Quarters earn their FH designation upon the appearance of specific design details mentioned above. A Full Head specimen is indicative of a piece that was struck well, allowing for greater detail in areas of the coin usually not revealed in full on weakly struck specimens.

While many issues are rare with the Full Head details, not all FH specimens are necessarily scarcer than their non-FH counterparts. Regardless of actual rarity for any given Full Head Standing Liberty Quarter, advanced collectors generally prefer Full Head specimens over those without FH details. Therefore, values tend to be higher for FH pieces due to the squeeze of relatively small supply against high demand.

Prices range widely for Full Head specimens, depending on the date and individual grade of the FH specimen. However, as a rule most Full Head Standing Liberty Quarters sell for considerable premiums over their same-grade non-FH equivalent. For example, the 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter – the series key date – is about as common if not more so with Full Head details than without. However, the FH specimens realize a substantially greater premium over their non-FH kin; a Full Head specimen sells for $17,500 in MS63 versus $16,500 without the Full Head details. Meanwhile, the price differential is much greater for pieces on which FH details are only rarely seen. Consider the aforementioned 1918/7-S Overdate; non-FH specimens sell for $30,000 in MS63 – only about one-third of the $85,000 fetched by specimens of the same grade and with a Full Head designation. One of the most elusive Full Head issues, the 1927-S, also shows a tremendous spread between FH and non-FH specimens; the sharply struck examples take $47,500 versus $40,000 less – just $7,500 – for non-Full Head specimens.

Collecting Full Head Quarters

Many Standing Liberty Quarter enthusiasts avidly pursue Full Head specimens, and this can pose quite a challenge to those who are so inclined to incorporate these scarcer coins into their collections. Top-grade examples of FH Standing Liberty Quarters routinely run into the tens of thousands of dollars, creating fierce competition among the most financially well-heeled collectors who vie for the finest-grade examples that often yield only a tiny handful of representatives.

The PCGS Set Registry recognizes this active area of the marketplace and offers several sets that give collectors a place to show off their Full Head Standing Liberty Quarters. These PCGS Registry Sets include Standing Liberty FH Quarters Date Set, Circulation Strikes (1916-1930); Standing Liberty FH Quarters Basic Set, Circulation Strikes (1916-1930); Standing Liberty FH Quarters Basic Set, Circulation Strikes (1916-1930) – CAC; Standing Liberty FH Quarters with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes (1916-1930); and Standing Liberty FH Quarters Complete Variety Set, Circulation Strikes (1916-1930).

Coin Collecting: Basics Standing Liberty Quarters (1916-1930)

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