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Walking Liberty Half Dollar

The Walking Liberty Half Dollar was a coin produced between 1916 and 1947. These coins were produced at the US Mints in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Denver Colorado; and San Francisco, California. The Walking Liberty Half Dollar is 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Read on for more information about these very attractive coins.

Walking Liberty Half Dollar

About the Walking Liberty Half Dollar

This coin was designed by Adolph Weinman. The obverse, or front, has an image of Lady Liberty walking and wearing a flowing gown. She has a United States flag draped around her shoulders. She is facing to the left of the coin and had one arm outstretched. The other arm holds a bouquet of laurel and oak branches. On the left side of the coin, the sun is rising. The word LIBERTY is widely spaced and inscribed around, above, and partially behind Lady Liberty. The words “In God We Trust” are stamped on the right bottom of the coin and the date is printed at the center bottom.

The back side of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, or the reverse, has a large and powerful looking eagle facing to the left side of the coin. He is perched on a rock with his wings spread out as if he is ready to take flight. There is a mountain pine sapling that is growing out of a rift in the rock to the left. “United States of America” is inscribed at the top around the eagle, and "E Pluribus Unum" is inscribed at the lower left-hand side. The words “Half Dollar” are stamped at the center bottom. The monogram of the designer, AAW, appears under the eagle’s feathers.

Many consider Weinman’s design to be the greatest coin design of all time. The previous half dollars, called the Barber half dollars, were not very popular. So there was a design contest for the new half dollar and Weinman won the contest. His half dollar quickly became very popular.

The Value of Coins

Before learning the value of coins, it is helpful to go over the process of making coins and terms that describe them. To make a coin, a planchet (blank of metal alloy) has to be struck (stamped) with a die (the engraved stamp with the letters and images). If the planchet gets struck twice, that is called doubling. The front, or head of the coin, is called the obverse and the back side is the reverse. All coins have a mint mark, which identifies the US Mint that made the coin. If there is no mint mark, the coin was made at Philadelphia, the first US Mint, or it is an error coin.

Coins can be valuable for several reasons. Rarity can add to a coin’s value and is often caused by a particular US Mint not making a large number. Error coins are made when there is a flaw on the die or the coin is doubled. The condition of a coin has a huge bearing on the value of a coin. Coins are graded by the amount of luster and the detail of the images.

Here are estimates of the value of some of the coins. This includes the range from a worn coin to a near perfect coin.

  • 1917 D on the reverse = $9.00 to $16,101
  • 1917 S on the obverse = $17.00 to $16,101
  • 1918 D = $5.51 to $21,101
  • 1919 D = $12.00 to $100,101
  • 1921 S = $24.00 to 60,101

The placing of the mint marks for Denver and San Francisco was changed during the series from the obverse to the reverse.

Any Walking Liberty coin will have some value for the amount of silver it contains. The coins can be melted down and the value of the silver would depend on the current market value of silver. The current melt value of these coins, as of October 29, 2010, is $8.95.