The Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar, minted by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1947, stands as a testament to the nation’s artistic and numismatic prowess. Designed by renowned sculptor Adolph A. Weinman, this coin has left an indelible mark on American history and coinage.
For many collectors and investors, the Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar is the best designed coin in American coinage. It was such a great design, the design found new life on the American Silver Eagle bullion coin. Let’s delve into the fascinating journey of the Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar, exploring its origins, significance, and enduring legacy.
What Inspired The Walking Liberty Design
Adolph A. Weinman, a prominent artist of his time, was commissioned to create the design for the new half dollar coin. His creation, the Walking Liberty design, was a breath of fresh air in American coinage. Weinman’s inspiration for the obverse of the coin was drawn from the classical allegorical figure of Liberty, symbolizing freedom, beauty, and resilience. Liberty is portrayed confidently striding towards the sun, enveloped in the folds of the American flag, with a bundle of branches in her arm—an allegory for prosperity.
The reverse of the coin features a majestic bald eagle perched on a mountain crag, its wings outstretched as if ready for flight. The choice of the eagle, a symbol of strength and freedom, complemented the theme established on the obverse. The design as a whole exuded a sense of national pride and optimism during a time when the United States was emerging as a global power.
The 1916 Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar Debut
The Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar made its debut in 1916, replacing the Barber Silver Half Dollar that had been in circulation since 1892. The new design coincided with a period of very important historical and global changes. At this time, the United States was on the verge of entering the first World War. The coin served not only as a means of commerce but also as a canvas for patriotic expression during a tumultuous time where none knew where the future would bring us.
The Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar was struck in 90% silver and 10% copper, with a diameter of 30.6 millimeters. The coins were minted at three different locations: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The mint marks “P,” “D,” and “S” indicate the respective minting locations.
Growing Popularity For The Design
The Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar quickly gained popularity among collectors and the general public. Its artistic brilliance and the historical significance of the period in which it was minted contributed to its appeal. Despite interruptions due to various historical events, such as the Great Depression and World War II, the coin continued to be minted until 1947.
Today, this specific silver half dollar is considered one of the most beautiful coins in American numismatic history. Collectors avidly seek out well-preserved specimens, and the coin remains a symbol of artistic achievement and national pride.
As we touched on above, the design is now on American Silver Eagle bullion coins, these were first introduced in 1986. As of 2024, they’re still on the American Silver Eagle 1oz coins.
Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollars Will Always Be In Demand
The Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar encapsulates the spirit of a nation during a transformative period in history. Its timeless design, embodying liberty and freedom, continues to captivate collectors and enthusiasts alike. As we look back on the journey of this iconic coin, we appreciate not only its artistic merit but also the historical context that shaped its creation—a testament to the enduring power of numismatics to reflect the soul of a nation.
Certain types of this silver half dollar are considered more valuable due to their relative scarcity. Key dates may include coins from the early years of mintage or those with lower mintages. Three of the most highly sought after dates includes the 1916-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar, the 1921 Walking Liberty Half Dollar, and the 1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar.
High grade Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollars of any year can be worth a fair amount of money, even for the most common dates.
Want to sell your silver half dollars? Be sure to give us a call, we’re always buying Walking Liberty silver half dollars, silver bullion, and other silver coins. We also have silver to buy, if you’re looking to add to your collection or add to your silver stack, we have the best prices in town.