Author Topic: The full head Liberty Standing Quarter, how to identify all three types of FH.  (Read 4075 times)

Offline bear

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The Full head is a most difficult thing for many collectors to identify. The problem is that according to Cline's
reference book on the series, there are actually three kinds of full head to be found in the series. these are as follows:

Minimal FH......This category has all of the required elements to qualify as a FH and yet it is a very unsatisfying appearance
and I would never pay FH prices for such a coin. The three leaves, while present are flat , mushy blobs more then leaves. They
may not be connected to the crown. The ear hole is present but looks more like a slash then a hole. It is indistinct at best.Raw
examples of such specimens often have the ear hole worked on by engraving it to deepen the hole. The crown is rather indistinct
along the brow and tends to fade a bit as it reaches the back of the head. The hair is a key component. In this minimal FH,the hair
has a flattened look to it and as it reaches trhe back of the head it appears rather mushy and indistinct. It lacks depth and detail. The
face is flat with poor definition between the cheek bone and the jaw. In fact the face has no true definition at all. A coin can be
 considered a FH even though it is missing a few rivets and the inner shield is often incomplete. I find that the exposed right leg usually suffers
from a flat knee. It lacks any structural definition.or articulation.

Many years and mint marks were weakly struck and one would be lucky to find even a minimal FH. Apparently the design was not properly
balanced preventing the metal from filling all of the details in the die. In rare cases, the pressure was great enough and the planchet was soft
enough to allow for a sharp FH and details on a coin. These are always rather scarce to rare even in the more common dates, if one can even
say that about a FH quarter. The 1916 was a poor strike and had a different design on the head, which is almost always soft and the drapery
on the right side. In fact, when a 1916 is missing definition of the head and date, one can still identify it by the slight difference of the drapery.

The 1917 P, D and S coins are almost always found with strong FHs. The P mint being the best, followed by the D Mint and finally the S mint
which is the weakest strike of the three. The 1918 and 1919  generally contain the strongest most beautiful examples for a type set. While such
examples are still scarce, they can still be found in today's market place and command a strong price due to their beauty and perfection.

Strong FH......This is the condition that one can find on rare occasions. The leaves are distinct and show connection with the crown.As for the
crown, it has a depth to is that looks 3-D from the front of the head clear around to the back of the head with no weakness to it. The definition
of the crown is clear and distinct along the brow. The ear hole is strong and very distinct and very round rather then a weak slash. The hair is
extremely detailed all the way to the bun at the back of the head. In fact when one looks at a strong FH, they are generally amazed at the detail
of all the components of the head area. The face has contour . The cheek bones is clearly defined as is the jaw line. There will be a slight valley
between the two high points as one would find on a fully sculptured face on a statue. Especially on the 1918 and 1919 dates, I would always
demand a full inner shield as well as all rivets strongly outlined.On a particularly strong specimen, one should be able to count Ms Liberties 10
toes, although this is not necessarily essential for a strong strike. On the right knee, one will find the full articulation one finds on a normal knee
 rather then the flat or smooth round look. Also the right shin will be free of scratches, cuts and any signs of flatness, from stacking the coin.

On many Standing Liberty Quarters, they have been dipped enough times to give them an unnatural bright and shiny look to them that , in my
opinion, tends to detract from the coin. In stead of having the original skin, which lends the coin personality and character, we find a shiny widget.
When you dip a coin several times, the skin is stripped off and the luster brightens. People do this in the hope of getting a higher grade. When the
original skin is more or less intact, the luster is somewhat muted but has that deep look of quality of an original coin. It might have been dipped once
but if done correctly, will leave the skin intact. Of course after numerous dips, you get the lifeless, dead looking pieces of silver that one sees in
dealers inventory, usually in their commemorative Halves.

The 1918 shown in the thread of my new Estate Collection is a very strong full head and verges on Ultra full head. The only thing stopping that
ultimate category, is the fact that the face does not have the chiseled detail one would find on a fine sculpture. But my gosh, it is about as close
to a full ultra FH ,as one is able to find in today,s market place.

Ultimate FH......These coins were always extremely rare and have completely been removed from the market, into long term collections. I have never
seen such a coin but I have seen pictures of such coins in Cline's book.These coins are truly 3-D in each and every aspect of the coin. The hair is
so strong and detailed that you might expect it to blow in a breeze. The leaves are extremely well defined down to the stems connecting the leaf to
the crown. The crown is deep and sharply defines along the brow and the ear hole is round and distinct and deep. The face is absolutely scary in its
perfection and depth of structure with the  deep valley between the cheek bone and the jaw line. all of the other aspects of the coin are sharp
and distinct with no weakness anywhere. Again these coins are not to be found and if one were to surface on the market place, I would be hard put
to even estimate a price for it. The coin would be many times the price of even a strong strike.

Last we should discuss what are called the 75-95% heads. These are heads that are almost FH but are not quite there. Many dealers will attempt
to pass these coins off at FH prices, because they are indeed pretty with lovely luster, but if all of the aspects are not there, almost, does not feed the
bull dog.

If you remember anything from this article remember these points:

PCGS seems to have the tightest grading on FH coins

Do not pay full price for Minimal FH coins and certainly, not for 75-95% heads.

Strong FH do exist for some years and are worthy of strong bids

Ultras are not available on today's market, and if they were you would have
to take out a second mortgage on the homestead.

Often, you will find that MS-66FH or MS-66+FH are more beautiful then MS-67 FH
and at a fraction of the price. Always go for beauty and sharpness of strike as well
as a coming together of all the coins attributes, in a balanced and pleasing manner.
I find that the toning on many MS-67FH are splotchy or streaky and I just do not care
for them.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 10:35:48 AM by bear »

Offline bear

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Now, come on folks. How do I know if my threads are worth while if no one responds to them

either pro or con. It is very difficult having a conversation with one's self, even though I sometimes

hear voices in my head.

Offline coinsarefun

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 Very good write on on fh SLQ's I have read much about these and actually looked at quite a few at the shows.
It's strange that I only bought one for for my type set album but sold the entire album as soon as I completed it.

And I must say the this design is another of my favorite designs.
To bad our coins today are so lifeless and poorly designed.

Offline Deagle74

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Thx 4 posting that Bear - have to check mine SLQs! :)

Offline FilthyBroke

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Heck, I didn't know there were different stages of the FH designation.  Thanks for the info, bear. 
please visit my website -

Offline bear

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In my opinion, the MS-66+ FH, in strong full head, is a very under priced and under appreciated coin.

Especially, those that have most of their original skin intact. These coins are rare, rare, rare

regardless of the date. The beauty of the coin speaks for itself.

Offline bear

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At some point in the future,when people fully realize how rare STRONG FH Quarters in high

grade truly are, I would expect the price to catch up to the rarity for these beautiful coins. In

order for this to happen, you have to have all of the elements of strike, color, grade, proper slab,

and original surface, or as original as possible. The money will gravitate to the most perfect,

 most awe inspiring coins, available on the market place.

Offline Deagle74

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As I posted above - I find some time to reread this superb article by Bear - and (owning two examples that are far from BU ;( - I got a question for FH SLQ Specialists!!;)

If a FH SLQ is a matter of a quality of a strike, t. i. strike based variety - can we at all talk about a FH SLQ on a used t. i. not uncirculated coin?? Do we say in this case: "This may once be a FH coin" or is it still a FH variety in for example XF40 grade?? Is this plausible??

I'm looking forward for some answers, because I'm really curious what they will be :;)

Thx, R.

Here is the link to my two (1919 and 1819D SLQ;)
I shoot the pics with my old snapshot camera with a bad light, so the pics are a bit more dull the a real thing.(
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 02:15:57 AM by Deagle74 »

Offline acan451

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Thanks Bear
I am learning so much thanks to folks like you

Offline bear

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A FH, is a condition of strike and not necessarily limited to grade. However, having said that,

I would not expect a FH designation on a coin grading less then AU-58. That is just my opinion

mind you. :)