While the U.S.
Mint announced Aug. 1 that the 2016-W Standing Liberty gold
quarter dollars will go on sale at noon ET Sept. 8, what was not
disclosed is how many of the coins will be available and whether there
are any household ordering limits.
The maximum number of 2016-W Winged Liberty Head gold dimes offered
April 21 was 125,000. Coin World sources indicate production
for the gold quarter dollars will likely be fewer than 125,000 coins.
Production of the gold quarter dollars, with their circulation strike
finish, began at the West Point Mint on May 13. As of Aug. 2, the
coins were still being produced.
Pricing for the gold quarter dollars is based on the Mint’s pricing
Connect with Coin World:
With the spot price of gold surging, the potential opening sales
price for the gold quarter dollar also continues to rise.
Based on the Mint’s pricing grid, if the spot price of gold remains
in its current range of $1,350 to $1,399.99, the quarter dollar would
be offered at a starting price of $497.50. However, the price is
subject to change weekly.
The Standing Liberty gold quarter dollar is a .9999 fine
quarter-ounce gold version of the .900 fine Standing Liberty quarter
dollar designed by sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil and first struck in
1916. The obverse design on the gold version is the Bare Breast
subtype as introduced 100 years ago. MacNeil’s original design was
changed in 1917 with chain mail added to cover Liberty’s exposed right breast.
The Standing Liberty gold quarter dollar is the second of three
planned 2016-W gold coins to mark the 100th anniversaries of the
introduction in 1916, in silver, of sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s
Winged Liberty Head dime, MacNeil’s Standing Liberty quarter dollar
and Weinman’s Walking Liberty half dollar.
The gold dime, with an authorized mintage of 125,000 coins, was
offered April 21 at $205 per coin with a household ordering limit of
10 coins. Orders placed within the first hour exhausted the authorized
mintage. However, returns and order cancellations resulted in the U.S.
Mint having an unexpected unsold inventory of nearly 9,000 coins.
The U.S. Mint has released no information regarding plans for the
unsold gold dimes. Some people are speculating that the unsold gold
dimes could be offered as part of a three-coin set incorporating the
dime, quarter dollar and still to be released half-ounce 2016-W
Walking Liberty gold half dollar. Others suggest that the Mint could
melt the unsold gold dimes.
No date or ordering details are yet announced for the third coin,
the half-ounce gold Walking Liberty half dollar.
West Point visit
On a visit to the West Point Mint June 9, Coin World
witnessed the production of the 2016-W Standing Liberty gold quarter
dollars and spoke with Mint technicians about the coin.
The U.S. Mint requested that details of that visit be embargoed,
The West Point Mint received the required planchets from Leach
Garner. The planchets are received with a proto-rim that is upset,
or raised, out to which the metal flows during striking.
Before the planchets are struck into coins, which will exhibit a
circulation strike finish, the planchets are subjected to five to 10
minutes of burnishing in Spaleck burnishing equipment. The planchets
are tumbled in a proprietary solution of soap, water and a mild
surfactant in a tub containing steel media. After the burnishing
operation is complete and the solution removed, the burnished
planchets are placed into trays, with the edges facing up.
A press operator at the coinage press places each planchet, one at a
time, into a coin chamber using tongs to hold the piece by the edge.
The planchets are struck twice on a Gräbener GMP 360 coin press exerting striking
pressure of 65 to 68 tons per strike to bring up the design relief.
The dies are oriented on the coinage press to strike vertically,
with the obverse as the upper or hammer die, and the reverse as the
lower or anvil die. West Point Mint officials note the edge, or
collar, die imparts a standard wide reed.
During Coin World’s visit, coin press operator Migdalia
Velazquez, wearing finger cots and using special coin tongs, fed the
gold planchets one at a time into the coinage press. After ejection,
the struck coin is removed from the press, inspected for defects and
placed into a coin tray that will eventually be delivered to the
packaging operation. Struck coins will be visually inspected with the
naked eye and possibly examined under magnification using a coin loupe.
Also during the visit, quality control specialist Tracy Henry
randomly removed struck coins for further examination under higher
magnification looking for defects. What she saw through the
microscope’s double eyepieces was also visible on a nearby computer
screen, magnified multiple times. Images can be taken of specific
areas of concern or for further study and documentation.
While the Standing Liberty silver quarter dollars introduced in 1916
are 24.3 millimeters in diameter, the 2016-W gold version is 22
millimeters, the same diameter as the American Eagle quarter-ounce
gold coin. The gold version, at 1.63 millimeters thick, is slightly
thicker than the silver coin.
On the gold coin’s obverse, on the tablet to Liberty’s left
(viewer’s right), are inscribed the details identifying the coin’s
weight and precious metal content, reflected in two lines as AU 24K /