In 1917, in a move that is not known by most, the Iroquois Confederacy declared war on Germany. Even though Native Americans were not part of the United States draft, over 10,000 joined up to fight overseas. The Iroquois Confederacy’s declaration came on the heels of what they deemed mistreatment of tribal members stranded in Berlin at the start of the conflict. This 1917 quarter recalls the entrance of a forgotten player into WWI.
The winner of the Treasury Department's 1915 competition for a new Quarter design was Hermon A. MacNeil, whose brilliant Standing Liberty motif is considered to be one of the true classics in U.S. numismatics. The examples struck at the end of 1916 and during early 1917 differ from later-date Standing Liberty Quarters in two significant respects: Liberty's right breast is exposed and the eagle is set low in the reverse field with no stars below its breast. This variety is known as the Type I design, although it is interesting to note that 1916 and 1917 Type I examples also differ from one another is subtle ways.
Treasury Secretary McAdoo and Mint Director von Engelken wanted to see three additional changes made to the Standing Liberty Quarter before the first examples were struck for circulation: removal of the olive leaves that overlap the letter L in LIBERTY; sharpening the obverse detail in the obverse shield; and improving the overall definition in Liberty's portrait. Since the design had already undergone significant delays due to design modifications, and these changes would have pushed production into 1917, the Mint decided to go to press in December 1916 without making these final changes. They were, however, incorporated into the 1917 Type I design, which features a significantly different obverse motif and a stronger reverse than the design utilized in 1916.
Produced in limited numbers to ensure that the first of the new Quarters would display the same date as the initial Mercury Dimes and Walking Liberty Halves, the 1916 has long been prized as a key-date issue. The three 1917-dated Type I deliveries are much more obtainable in an absolute sense, although the D- and S-mint issues are scarce-to-rare ith Full Head striking detail.