“Full Head” (Buy on eBay) is a grading designation assigned to Standing Liberty Quarters which generally exhibit full strikes with complete design details. Because of the nature of the coin design, relatively few specimens were struck and survive with complete details of Liberty’s hair and face. Coins with the Full Head designation are actively sought by collectors and command premiums above coins of comparable grades which do not carry the designation.
Coin grading companies will typically evaluate Standing Liberty Quarters for the Full Head designation after arriving at a numerical grade. Coins which meet the criteria will have the abbreviation “FH” after the numerical grade. Broadly speaking, in order to receive the designation details of the hair must be well defined, with the hairline along the face raised and complete, eyebrow visible, and cheek rounded.
The grading company PCGS provides more specific requirements for the designation, which vary based on slight changes to the coin design. The 1916 Type 1 style head did not have a great deal of detail in the original design, so it is required that the details of the hair are distinct and do not blend into the cap or head. The 1917 Type 1 style head was altered to show cords between Liberty’s hair and head. These cords must be well defined and distinct to qualify for the designation. For the Type 2 design used for the duration of the series, Liberty wears a helmet-like cap with a three-leaf wreath. To receive the Full Head designation, the three leaves of the wreath must be visible and the hairline must be distinct around the face. Details in the hair should also be distinct, with some slight weakness allowed.
Certain dates of the series are more common than others with Full Head. One of the most significant conditional rarities of the series is the 1927-S Standing Liberty Quarter. While this is a difficult coin to acquire in uncirculated grades, it is considered a major rarity when carrying the Full Head designation.