Information and prices do not always match. It’s not often there’s confusion, but the 1926-D Standing Liberty neighborhood may be one of those rare cases.
It should be remembered that the 1926-D arrived just after the date of the Standing Liberty quarter withdrawal in 1925. Dates prior to 1925 are uniformly much more difficult in lesser-circulated grades as they would lose their dates before arriving at these low grades. .
Dates after 1925 had a much better chance of being legible. This helps explain why the VG-8 price of a 1926-D, which had a mintage of only 1,716,000, is $15. This is well below other larger draw dates. They lost their dates while the 1926-D generally did not, so it is cheaper despite having a much lower mintage.
The condition of the mint depends on the collectors and dealers who keep the coins as they are released. There was no large-scale economy of new quarters, and the 1926-D’s below-average mintage did not change that. For a Standing Liberty neighborhood, the 1926-D mintage was actually not that low since mintages under 2 million were quite common.
During the 1920s, however, some would keep new rolls every year. The belief is that there were more rolls of the 1926-D saved than usual. In his book, Treasures and Treasures of American CoinsQ. David Bowers says, “Of all the quarter dollars of this type of design, more 1926-Ds were set aside as bank-wrapped rolls than all the others.
Bowers explains that now all of these quantities have been dispersed, so the possible presence of rolls or other numbers that have not yet been released can be ignored.
Bowers’ observation is interesting, especially in light of current 1926-D mint state prices. The 1926-D currently costs $215 in MS-60 and $500 in MS-65. These lower than expected prices suggest that there were more original rolls than other dates, especially when the low mintage is taken into account.
In MS-65 with a full head, however, the 1926-D is suddenly a $25,000 coin. That, at least, is among the most expensive Standing Liberty neighborhoods in the category. We seem to have a date that is usually available except with a full head and then it suddenly becomes extremely difficult.
The Numismatic Guaranty Company tends to confirm that this is precisely the case. In mint condition, the 1926-D isn’t that tough with over 225 seen in MS-65 or better. When in MS-65 and with a full head, the total drops to just eight. The Professional Parts Grading Service reports 127 in MS-65 or better, but only 26 in MS-65 or better with a full head.
Even though this date was more heavily recorded, people couldn’t record plays that didn’t exist. The 1926-D with full head rarely existed, explaining the current situation where it is more available than most in all ranks until a full head is required, then it is rare.