During the last two weeks of the year, a total of 52,000 1916-dated Standing Liberty Quarters were struck by the United States Mint in Philadelphia. No Proofs were minted, and in fact, no Proofs of this design were ever sold to collectors. It seems that not much news coverage was devoted to the change in design at first (this would later follow in various newspapers, when the design was carefully studied, and the exposed breast was discovered) and the coins quietly entered circulation. Soon, 1916 had passed into 1917, and the obverse dies were replaced to reflect the new date.
Around this time, many individuals had taken up the habit of setting aside examples from the first year of production for a new series. In this instance, it is generally assumed that the public set aside 1917-dated coins of the same Type I design, while the 1916-dated coins circulated freely. This was the result of the lack of attention given to the change in design upon its initial limited release.
When coin collecting became more popular in the following decades and the awareness of the rarity of the 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter increased, people began looking in their pocket change for examples of this rare issue. By this time, most were in circulated condition and only a handful of examples had been lucky enough to escape such a fate. The lower survival rate particularly for uncirculated examples has helped enhance the rarity of this key date and solidify its importance within American numismatics.