Do you want to buy or sell a Walking Liberty half-dollar coin? The Walking liberty coin is one of America’s most beautiful and artistic coins. And, the $0.5 sculpture attracts lots of numismatic collectors.
The Walking Liberty Half Dollar value is $10 to $18 per piece at the pawnshop. In uncirculated condition, an MS/Proof-60 1921-S coin can sell for as much as $18,500. The 50-cent coin weighs 12.50 grams and contains 90% silver and 10% copper.
The Walking Liberty Half Dollar was first minted in 1916. Coin production ceased in 1947. However, the coin is still in circulation today, albeit at a much-reduced pace than during its earlier years of mintage. The obverse of the coin shows Lady Liberty walking while the reverse depicts an eagle in flight.
Find a comprehensive review of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar value, prices, features, and history in this post.
About the Walking Liberty Half Dollar
The Walking Liberty half-dollar had a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper. It was minted from 1916-1947.
- Type or Series: Walking Liberty Half Dollar
- Denomination: 50 cents ($0.50)
- Date Struck 1916-1947
- Designer: Adolph A Weinman
- Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
- Price: About $18
- Diameter: 30.63 mm
- Total Weight: 12.5000 gm
- Weight Tolerance: ± .072 gm
- Diameter Tolerance: ±0.179 mm
- Edge: Reeded
Walking Liberty Half Dollar is an American fifty-cent coin that the United States Mint struck from 1916 to 1947. It was designed by Adolph A. Weinman, also known for creating Mercury dime and Liberty Head nickel.
Weinman’s design of Walking Liberty gives the coin its name. This is because the obverse has the depiction of Liberty on the coin, walking toward the left.
The president that approved the minting of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar was Woodrow Wilson in 1916. After the First World War, this design was replaced by an eagle with a shield on its breast.
The president chose Weinman’s sculpture because he believed it would bring back trust in America’s coinage. He thought it would cool the controversies regarding designs of coins minted by the U.S Mint.
Then, the Liberty Half Dollar consisted of 90% silver and 10% copper. It weighed 6.25 grams, had a diameter of 30.6 millimetres, and had a reeded edge. But, the silver content reduced from 90% to 40% during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s reign.
The coin’s prominent features include Liberty moving towards the Sun on the obverse. Then, the reverse features a bald eagle with wings spread out. In 1948, the Franklin Half Dollar replaced the Walking Liberty as a fifty-cent coin.
History of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar
The first design of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar was produced by Adolph A. Weinman in 1916 and was struck until 1947.
Robert W. Woolley, the new mint director in 1915, wanted the 1916 coin issues to have a “distinctive American design.” He was fascinated about changing the coin designs from the old dimes and poorly rated Barber coinage.
So, he made the Commission of Fine Arts hold a competition for the best coin designs. Adolph .A. Weinman was selected for this task and designed the obverse and reverse of the new half-dollar coin.
The US Mint produced the Walking Liberty Half Dollar coin from 1916 to 1947. Within this period, there were minor changes to the texture and design every year.
The first ones weighing 16.718g and composed of 90% silver and 10% copper had a net weight of .36169 oz pure silver. This changed later to 14.382g, reduced the coin composition to 80% silver and 20% copper with a total weight of .235 (net) troy ounce of pure silver.
The US Government forced this reduction in silver content to meet World War I expenses. The Walking Liberty Half Dollars are considered some of the most beautiful designs ever produced by any mint, so they were trendy among coin collectors. In 1947, after 28 years of service, the Walking Liberty was replaced by the Franklin Half Dollar.
Walking Liberty Half Dollar Mintage: How many pieces were minted?
In 1916, two million coins were minted in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.
The series began in 1916 and continued to 1947, with some breaks in production. For instance, no half dollars were made from 1922 through 1924. The US Mint produced no half dollars in 1922, 1924 to 1926, or 1930 to 1932.
There were 65 specific date and mintmark combinations. The separate obverse and reverse mintmark sites for the 1917 coins are also covered.
The lowest mintage is the 1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar, which has a circulation of 208,000 coins.
The 1942 Philadelphia strike was the series’ most abundant coin, with a mintage of 47,818,000 pieces.
This table shows the number of coins minted every year.
|1917-D Obv Mint Mark||765,400|
|1917-D Rev Mint Mark||1,940,000|
|1917-S Obv Mint Mark||952,000|
|1917-S Rev Mint Mark||5,554,000|
Features of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar
Many people consider the Walking Liberty Half Dollar as one of the most beautiful coins ever minted in America. The design is also a favorite among coin engravers and designers. In fact, it was so popular that other countries began to copy the designs on their own currency after seeing how striking Lady Liberty was on the coin.
In brief, the obverse (front) shows Lady Liberty walking toward the left, holding a torch in her raised right hand and an olive branch in her left. The reverse (back) features an eagle with wings spread. It has a shield covering its breast and it clutches arrows and an olive branch in its talons. The coin has a face value of 50c.
Designed by A.A. Weinman, an American sculptor, and engraver, this coin has the following prominent features:
Walking Liberty Half Dollar Obverse
The obverse features Liberty walking toward the sun, which is rising over a mountain range. She is wearing a dress but no shoes. Her hands carry branches with leaves in her left hand and a bundle of wheat in her right hand. Rays of sunlight are coming from behind the mountains. The word LIBERTY arches above her head; the date appears below. The mint mark, if there is one, seems to the right of Liberty’s feet.
Walking Liberty Half Dollar Reverse
The reverse side of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar features an eagle with a shield, holding arrows and an olive branch, with thirteen stars above.
The reverse side of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar features an eagle in flight. His wings spread wide and ready for take-off. As the eagle flaps his wings, he is also preparing for flight by holding an olive branch, the symbol of peace, in his left talon.
He clutches a crucial element for survival – an olive branch. The olive branch represents peace…” the emblem of that Peace which, after a successful war, it will be the policy of the Government to cultivate…”
The words “UNITED.STATES.OF.AMERICA.” are inscribed at the top rim of the coin. At the bottom rim of the coin, a banner is engraved with “HALF.DOLLAR.” Then, on the left side is the inscription “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” meaning “out of many, one.”
The Controversial Features
The Walking Liberty Half Dollar’s popularity is not without controversy, however. Many coins minted in the 1930s bear “1936” on their respective dates. It turns out that there was an unannounced year engraved on some of the coins due to a mistake at the minting facility where they were made. The U.S. Mint has since released an official statement about this mistake and advised collectors not to purchase the coins with the “1936” date.
Walking Liberty Half Dollar Value
Just like the name sounds, the Walking Liberty Half Dollar has a face value of $0.5, or fifty cents.
How much is the metal in Walking Liberty Half Dollar worth?
The Walking Liberty half dollar has a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper and weighs 12.5 grams. The melt value, therefore, is about $8.25, depending on the price of silver.
How much is the Walking Liberty Half worth at the pawnshop?
If you walk to the nearest pawnshop with a Walking Liberty Half Dollar today, they’ll evaluate it for its year, rarity, condition, and silver content. Most pawnshops don’t offer anything more than the melt value. So, the pawnshop may end up giving you about $8 for the coin.
Table Showing the Walking Liberty Half Dollar Value
|Year of Minting/Grade||Fine-12||XF-40||MS/Proof-60|
|1917-D (Obverse Mintmark)||$75||$225||$575|
|1917-D (Reverse Mintmark)||$40||$275||$900|
|1917-S (Obverse Mintmark)||$125||$700||$2,500|
|1917-S (Reverse Mintmark)||$18||$65||$415|
|1946 (Doubled Die Reverse)||$25||$55||$250|
Factors that Influence the Walking Liberty Half Dollar Value
The price of any given numismatic item depends on rarity, condition, and coin grade. These factors also affect the cost of the Walking Liberty half dollar.
You know a silver half dollar is valuable to collectors through its rarity, mintage figures, demand and supply, auction results, condition, and historical significance. These are some of the critical factors that influence the value of these coins.
Grading the Walking Liberty Half Dollar
Grading the Walking Liberty Half Dollar is a little more complicated than grading other coin series. The reason is the amount of wear on them or what is referred to as circulation. You could have two coins side by side that are both uncirculated, but depending on where they were stored, one could be more lustrous than the other.
Walking Liberty Halves were struck in relatively small numbers during most years of their mintage. Like all coin series, though, grading has been developed to fit the needs of collectors and dealers alike.
Grading circulated coins can be as simple as saying, “average circulated.” Or, it can be as detailed as the adjectival grading scale used for uncirculated coins. The system requires carrying unfamiliar references such as G4, VG8, F12, or some other possible combination of grades.
The fundamental reference for circulated Walking Liberty Half Dollars is an adjusted version of the adjectival grading system used for uncirculated coins. Uncirculated coins exist in their own grade set.
The adjectival grading system assigns numerical grades in tenths. 10 is the highest grade, and 1 is the lowest. This makes it easy to know precisely where any coin falls within a particular range.
The number of coins in existence affects their value. So, when you see an old silver half dollar that has been sitting for decades, don’t dismiss it. Even if the condition looks terrible, it may be valued more than one with better shape because of its rarity.
A coin with high mintage numbers is rarer than a low suffix number or an S mintmark. A currency with the latter means it was struck for only a specific year at the San Francisco Mint, and there may be less in existence. However, a coin with a higher mintage number means it was struck every year and for a more extended period.
Demand and supply
The demand and supply factor also affects coin prices. Numismatic items with high demand fetch higher prices. Rare coins, for instance, are more valuable than those with low demand are, even if they’re of similar grades.
The price you get for your coin at auction largely depends on the price achieved by other coins. The price that an auction assigns to a coin remains constant. For instance, if you buy a silver half dollar sold in an auction, which becomes its value.
The condition is another important factor that significantly affects a coin’s value. A rare coin in poor condition can be worth less than one in good condition. Low mintage number or other numismatic factors may not add the value of a coin that’s in bad shape. Many collectors focus on coins that have been graded by a third-party grading company such as PCGS and NGC.
The history of a coin affects its demand among collectors. For example, an old silver half dollar with the Walking Liberty design is more valuable than the Franklin design because of its historical significance.
Winding Up: Is Walking Liberty Half Dollar Worth it?
The Walking Liberty Half Dollar is a 90% silver coin minted between 1916 and 1947. The 50-cent coin features Lady Liberty walking towards the sun on the obverse with both wings spread out on its reverse.
And, yes- the Walking Liberty silver half is a worthy collection. Even if you find one that’s dusty and has been lying on your shelves for decades, get it graded. A Walking liberty half goes for about $8, depending on its grade. In good condition, a rare MS/Proof-60 1921-S silver half dollar can fetch as much as $18,500.