Walking Liberty Half Dollar Guide to Collecting

The Walking Liberty Half Dollar was minted from 1916 to 1947. Any historian knows that these years were hard for most Amercians. From the end of World War I (1914 to 1918) to the end of World War II (1939 to 1945), so many people faced times we probably couldn’t imagine now in the 21st century.

The Walking Libery Half dollar was designed by German-born Adolph A. Weinman who came to the United States at the age of ten in 1880. The front (obverse) depicts a full-length figure of liberty and is said to be striding to the dawn of a new day. Liberty is holding branches of laural and oak leaves. The back (reverse) has an eagle with wings open sybolizing power. The initials of the designer can be found under the eagle’s tailfeathers.

In 1916, when the Walking Liberty Half Dollar was first minted, it wasn’t in production until November, neither was the Barber Half Dollar so the United States almost didn’t have a half dollar minted in 1916. The design, when finally released, was welcomed with high praises from The New York Sun and The Boston Globe. It replaced the Barber Half Dollar (1892-1915).


First year coins from Denver and San Francisco, show the mint mark on the obverse below the “IN GOD WE TRUST” as do some coins from 1917. In that year, the mint mark was moved to the revese of the coin on the lower left remaining there throughout the rest of it’s production.


Approximately 485 million of these coins were minted throughout the series. However, none were minted in 1922, 1924-1926, and 1930-1932. Mintage was particularly low in 1921 and that ranks as a highly sought after key date by collectors. In a mint state condition will go for over $2,000 while lesser quality, ungraded specimens can be had for about $100. Other key dates sought after by collectors are the 1916, 1916-S, 1917 D and S with the mint marks on the front and the 1938 D.


A full set of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar will contain 65 coins with the various years and mint marks. A collector enjoying a challenge (and some deep pockets on some specimens) will be able to find each of them for a complete collection. However, some collectors choose to collect these differently:

Short Sets of years 1934 to 1947 and 1941 to 1947 are popular among many collectors. The later dates are much easier to obtain in a very good condition with nice eye appeal than those earlier years where a $2000 coin is common.

The Walking Liberty Half Dollar is enjoyed by traditional collector and non coin collectors alike due to their 90% pure silver content of over 1/3 of an ounce. No matter why you are collecting these beauties, they are a fantastic and history rich coin to consider.


Diameter: 30.6 millimeters Weight: 12.50 grams Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper Edge: Reeded Net Weight: .36169 ounce pure silver

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