Considered one of the most beautiful US circulating coins, the Walking Liberty Half Dollar has been popular for the collector and the investor. Now, the popular Brief History.
1916 was the 25th year of the Barber Dime, Quarter and Half Dollar, though the last Barber Half Dollars were minted in 1915. As a result, the US Mint didn’t need permission from Congress to change the designs of these coins. To get designs for the new coins, the Director of the Mint had the Commission of Fine Arts conduct a competition. Sculptor Adolph A. Weinman won with both the Mercury Dime and Walking Liberty Half Dollar.
The obverse has Liberty wearing the American Flag holding laurel and oak branches, walking toward the Sun. The reverse has the American Eagle looking very powerful. The coin showed the strength of the United States while across the sea, there was the Great War.
The Walking Liberty Half Dollar would be the first circulated coin since the 1839-O Bust Half with the mint mark on the obverse, though it would only appear there in 1916 and early 1917. The remaining years would show the mint mark on the reverse.
Though it was popular with people, the mint had problems with Ms. Liberty. Some of the coins would have weak strikes, especially in San Francisco.
By 1947, there was talk about changing the design of the Half Dollar with the other denominations having designs of famous Americans. Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross had been wanted to put Benjamin Franklin on a coin and with the Walking Liberty out for more than 25 years, the Half Dollar was the perfect choice. The Franklin Half Dollar would be minted starting in 1948.
Key and Semi-Key Dates
The key dates would be the three with mintages under 500,000: the 1921-P (246,000), 1921-D (208,000) and 1938-D (491,000). In fact the 1938-D Half Dollar would be the last circulating coin in the US with a mintage under 1,000,000.
There are other key dates which are known more as semi-key dates. These include the 1916-P, D, and S, 1917-D and S(both with mint marks on obverse), 1919-P, D, and S, and the 1921-S.
These key and semi-key dates are more popular for investors as well as other dates prior to 1941.
Walking Liberty Half Dollars have one of the most well known short sets in the US. Some collectors go for a shorter 20 coin set from 1941 – 1947. These are reasonably priced between MS-60 and MS-65. Investors could also collect these in hopes of the price of silver increasing. I’ve been considering putting together a Short Set between MS-63 and MS-65.
Future of the Walking Liberty Design
In 1986, the US Mint released the new American Eagle Silver Bullion Dollars and the obverse would be the same as the Walking Liberty Half Dollar.
With 2016 being the centennial of the Mercury Dime, Standing Liberty Quarter and Walking Liberty Half Dollar, the US mint will be releasing them in gold.
Would you Consider Collecting Walking Liberty Half Dollars?
Collectors and investors should both enjoy collecting Walking Liberty Half Dollars. You can make a set as simple or challenging as you want. Let me know what you think about Walking Liberty Half Dollars.
This is a great article about the half dollar. Are all these coins silver? If so how much does the silver weight? Are these coins worth more then the silver they contain? I believe that different kinds of precious metals are a great investment and rare coins are as well as they are not making anymore and scaricity will come into play.
Thanks Calvin. All Walking Liberty Half Dollars were 90% silver which is 0.3617 ounces of silver. So, if silver was $20 per ounce, the melt value for half dollars would be $7.23. Of course, Walking Liberty Half Dollars would be worth more than $7.23, even if they were worn.
I was wondering about the weak strikes. If a coin has a weak strike then will this affect the value of the coin? Like with a coin that has a mistake has high value is the same true here? Very curious to know. Also what are prices for the different grades for this coin?
I don’t think weak strikes will affect the value as much as the wear of a coin. Many dealers know about which years and mints had the weaker strikes, and they would be the ones deciding how to grade it.
In terms of price, if it is really worn, you might get between melt value and $10. If you have uncirculated coins, you can probably get $50-60 in low uncs. I paid $75 for an MS -64. I think MS-65 would go for $125. Now these are more in line with the 1940s half dollars. The earlier ones would be higher, especially the key dates. Hope that helps.
Looks like a real nice coin. And the pic of American Eagle looks very good to me. I would loved to have the coin in my collection. This habit brings me much more than just fun for me, but You may have a lot of money but investing it all on coins can be stupidity. First of all, you should sit down and think about the amount of money you have and which part of it you are willing to set aside for your coin collection.
No, you shouldn’t put all of your investments in one thing. That would be crazy. I do some investing with coins but I mostly collect for the hobby. To me, a hobby should be more enjoyable than profitable, although there is nothing wrong with investing in coins as long as you don’t go overboard.
The Walking Liberty Half Dollar is a beautiful coin. To most people, coins are just money, they never appreciate them for their artistic value. My dad collected coins, my mom just saved spare change, lots of it! I have jars of change that I am afraid to just cash in at the bank for fear that she had something that was of value in there.
Can you tell me the best way to assess a coins value and the best way to get what it’s worth from a buyer?
For Dimes and higher, check the edge. If it’s gray, then you got a 90% silver coin. Also Dimes and above before 1965 are mostly silver. Grading is important too. The higher the grade, the higher the value. If you want more information, check out the items under research on my blog. If you have a coin store near you, they can give you an idea of what it is worth but don’t sell it to them until you know how much they will give you. A lot of them will give you around 80% of what it is worth.