The Walking Liberty Half Dollar is one of the most popular half dollars in American history. This piece was minted from 1916-1947 and replaced the Barber Half Dollar which had been in circulation since 1892.
- Obverse: Lady Liberty walking with United States flag over shoulder and holding branches
- Reverse: Eagle perched on mountain top
- Years: 1916-1947
- Mints: D, S, and P
- Edge: Reeded
- Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
In 1915 Robert Woolley became the new Mint Director and he was under the impression that he was required to create new coins to replace any existing coins that had been in circulation for 25 or more years. Therefore, one of his first orders of business was to decide on new designs for the dime, quarter and half dollar. Woolley enlisted the help of the Commission of Fine Arts to hold a competition to determine what the new designs of each piece would be. The current Chief Engraver, Charles E. Barber, along with other well known sculptors submitted designs and the winner for the half dollar was Adolph A. Weinman.
During the second year of production, the mint mark was moved from underneath the motto on the obverse to being on the bottom left on the reverse of the coin. Since this edit occurred halfway through 1917, pieces from this year could have the mint mark on either side. Other than the mint mark placement, there were no other changes to Weinman’s design and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar remained the same throughout the rest of its minting lifespan.
This beautiful piece ceased production in 1947 when the Mint Director, Nellie Tayloe Ross (who was a lifelong fan and admirer of Benjamin Franklin), decided to change the half dollar to depict and pay tribute to Franklin. The obverse design of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar has been so revered and loved that it was chosen to be used once again for the American Silver Eagle which has been in production since 1986.
There aren’t any particular ultra rarities in this half dollar series but pre-1934 issues are harder to get your hands on. Some of the most valuable date and mint mark combinations are the 1917-S with the mint mark on the obverse, 1921-S and the most expensive being the 1919-D.
At Atlas we have access to a wide range of Walking Liberty Half Dollars with a variety of dates and mint marks.