Liberty Walking Half Dollars (1916-1947)

Liberty Walking Half Dollars 1916-1947

Many collectors consider the Walking Liberty Half Dollar to be the finest example of American silver coin design. Designed by Adolph Weinman and issued from 1916 to 1947, the Walking Liberty half dollar features intricate and highly prized obverse and reverse details. Collectors should look for a number of important features.

How do you determine the grade of a Walking Liberty?

Made of 90% silver and 10% copper (to strengthen the metal), the Walking Liberty half dollar's grade is determined by its degree of wear and tear on key areas of the front and reverse sides.

  • Key areas obverse side: On the front (obverse) side of the half dollar, look for fine detail in the American flag, like its stars, and in the flowing robes from the left shoulder to the ground.
  • Key areas reverse side: On the side with the American eagle, look for fine detail in the crest of the eagle's left wing and breast below his neck.
What is the difference between "good" versus "mint state" ratings?

The condition of the overall Liberty silver half dollars, especially the fine details, determines the rating. The closer the Liberty half dollar is to mint condition, the more prized it tends to be.

  • Good: A coin labelled as "good" is one in which the two central figures on the front and back are visible, but much of the fine detail on the two faces and the rim is gone. The perched eagle and the lady are mostly visible as outlines.
  • Fine: In a coin evaluated as "fine," the fine details on the high points are visible, especially from the lady's left knee from shoulder to ground and the bent crest of the bird's left wing. The feathers are also distinct, and the detail in the feathers is sharp.
  • Mint condition: The highest grade, Mint State 67, is given to those coins that maintain the delicate features of Weinman's design and have no visible wear at all even on the high points of the coin.
What are some key dates of a Walker Liberty half dollar?

Key dates for the Walking Liberty include 1916, 1921, 1921-D, and 1938-D. The "D" stands for Denver, the name of the mint issuing the coin. These coins are valuable and are considered key coins because they are relatively scarce and difficult to find. Some semi-key coins include 1917-D and 1917-S (for San Francisco).