Do you own a 1920 half dollar? Or are you desperately trying to collect one to complete your Walking Liberty half-dollar series?
All the price tags and grading systems might be overwhelming if you’re just getting started with your coin collection journey.
To your rescue, we’ve put together this 1920 half dollar guide which not only talks about their current market worth but also shares its story and history! Read on to find out more about 1920 half dollars!
What’s The 1920 Half Dollar?
The face value of a 1920 half dollar is 50 Cents or $0.5. 1920 half dollars aren’t as rare as some other Walking Liberty coins in the series. However, in higher grades, these demands quite expensive value.
Features of 1920 Half Dollar
1. Coin Specification:
Walking Liberty half dollar coins have a mss of 12.50 gm, where the silver mass accounts for 0.36169 troy oz, i.e., around 11.25 gm. The silver and copper composition is 90% and 10%, respectively.
The diameter of these coins is 30.63 mm, and the thickness is 1.8 mm. Moreover, the rims of 1920 half dollars are reeded.
On the obverse side of the coin, this design by Adolph Alexander Weinman features a Walking Liberty holding branches.
You’ll notice a shining sun on the lower left side of the coin and the US flag right behind Liberty’s shoulder. The branches Liberty is carrying are of laurel and oak as an emblem of civil and military glory.
Likewise, on the coin’s reverse side, a wings-unfolded eagle is depicted perching upon a mountain cliff, and a mountain pine sapling is shown growing from the rift on the mountain rock.
3. Mint Marks:
Mint marks, in 1920 half dollars, are located right under the tree, on the lower left side of the reverse side of the coin. As always, Philadelphia mint, being the primary mint, leaves no mint marks on the coins struck at this facility.
Which Mints Made The 1920 Half Dollar?
1. Philadelphia Mint:
Being the primary minting facility in the US, 6,372,000 Walking Liberty half dollars were minted at the Philadelphia mint. These coins are not as rare in low grades and, therefore, often catch the attention of collectors, given how cost-affordable these century-old coins are.
2. Denver Mint:
In 1920, 1,551,000 Walking Liberty half dollars were struck at the Denver mint. The mintage in this minting facility was much lesser than the other two mints. This batch of coins was decently struck and is very rare in higher grades and the Mint States.
While not as rare as some other Denver-minted coins such as 1917-D, 1919-D, and 1921-D, 1920 Walking Liberty half dollars are still prized by the collectors and cost much higher than its Philadelphia and San Fransisco-minted half dollars.
3. San Fransisco Mint:
4,624,000 1920-S half dollars were minted at the San-Fransisco mint. As in the case of many other walking liberty coins minted at the San Fransisco mint, many 1920–S coins will most probably feature a poor strike quality at the Liberty’s left arm on the obverse.
Reasons For Minting 1920 Half Dollar
In an attempt to bring a modern aesthetic to US coinage, denominations with more artistic appeal started replacing the old designs.
In 1907 and 1908, double eagle, eagle, half eagle, and quarter eagle were redesigned. Similarly, in 1909 cents were redesigned, and in the year 1913, nickels were.
The public did not well perceive dime, quarter, and half dollar Barber designs at the time. Therefore, in April 1915, Charles E. Barber was requested to change the designs. Sadly, the Commission of Fine Arts members were dissatisfied with Barber’s design.
As a result, the Mint Director, Robert W. Woolley, held a competition for the coin denominations, and Weinman’s denominations for dimes, half dollars, and reverse of the quarter were selected. Thus, started the Walking Liberty half dollars production.
Therefore, 1920 half dollars were simply the continuation of 1916 Walking Liberty half dollars with only a change in the date on the silver coins.
What Factors Influence The Value of The 1920 Half Dollar?
As uncirculated coins haven’t suffered the years-old circulation abuse, you can expect the original mint luster of these coins to be preserved. Uncirculated coins look and cost premium.
You shall notice a continuous light reflection when a light source hovers above these coins. There should be no dullness in the high points of the coins, such as Liberty’s shoulders and fold in the skirt.
Having said that, low-grade MS coins of MS60 to MS63 will probably feature minor scratches, mostly on the coin base.
- Extremely Fine:
In the case of circulated 1920 half dollars, you’ll witness a lack of mint luster. You’ll notice signs of wear, especially on the high points of the coins. The fine details on the obverse branches and around the eagle’s breast and legs on the reverse are faded.
Overall, finer textures are somewhat preserved, and the bold texture looks sharp and structured on an extremely fine 1920 half-dollar coin. And with the increase in the quality, texture, and luster of the coins, the price tag increases.
Finer details on the high points on the coins are completely lost in fine category coins. In 1920 half dollars, you’ll notice the most signs of wearing on Liberty’s body on the obverse and around the eagle’s head, breast, and legs.
However, expect the remaining feather details on the reverse to be relatively intact while grading the 1920 half dollar.
Textures on the high points of the coin will ultimately have been lost in a ‘Good’ coin. The rim and the lettering will probably show signs of merging. The lack of finer details makes the denomination look flat, and simply, the outline remains.
The feathers on the reverse will probably lack the interior details. Moreover, the date and text on a 1920 half-dollar coin look faint and faded in some good coins.
While not as rare as some other coins in the series, 1920 half dollars, especially in higher grades, are greatly sought after by collectors.
This is especially true in the case of higher grades and Mint States coins, which sell for up to thousands of dollars. Some of the rarest coins in the Walking Liberty half dollar series are 1919-D, 1921-S, 1917-S, and 1919 Walking Liberty half dollars.
Even if your 1920 half dollar coin is simply graded ‘Good’, know that abused and circulated ‘Good’ walking liberty coins aren’t as rare as higher grades in the market.
Therefore, a buyer would definitely want to invest their money on a clean ‘Good’ condition coin than a ‘Good’ condition half-dollar coin that doesn’t even look good enough. So, always keep your coins clean and appealing.
4. Mint Marks and errors:
Generally, the mintage number at branch mints is much lower than at the main mint, Philadelphia.
Consequently, collectors often have their eyes set on coins with ‘D’ and ‘S’ mint marks. Also, if you have some rare error on your coin, the value of your Walking Liberty half dollar coins increases significantly.
Value of 1920 Half Dollar
As of 13 April 2022, the melt value of this coin is $9.32. Beyond that, it depends upon the silver’s rarity, grade, and many other factors when determining a silver coin’s value.
The highest record set to date is by the 1920-D, which was sold at $87,000 in January 2018 at the Heritage Auction.
In the table down below, we’ve tabulated the current estimated 1920 half dollar value for circulated coin grades – Good (G-6), Very Fine (VF-20), Extremely Fine (EF-40), and About Uncirculated (AU-50).
|Good (G-6)||Very Fine (VF-20)||Extremely Fine (EF-40)||About Uncirculated (AU-50)|
|1920 – D||$21||$325||$550||$1,100|
|1920 – S||$21||$109||$275||$650|
These data are collected majorly from the PGCS. We have taken the PGCS price guide, recent auction prices, and several other factors and resources into consideration to build this estimate table.
These tables were prepared on 13 April 2022. We plead our readers to only use these estimates for reference purposes if you’re buying or selling 1920 Walking Liberty half dollars around the date of publication of this data.
Below is a list of estimated values for your 1920 half-dollar uncirculated coins for MS60, MS63, and above.
|1920 – D||$3,750||$7,250||$8,350||$22,500||$65,000||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1920 – S||$1,750||$3,250||$5,500||$22,500||$50,000||$110,000||N/A||N/A||N/A|
In a nutshell, the good news is that unless you aren’t aiming for an uncirculated coin, buying a 1920 half dollar doesn’t require you to rob a bank. But if you’re aiming for higher grades, 1920 half dollars can cost you thousands of dollars.