The Walking Liberty half dollar is one of my very favorite coins and I am not alone. Everyone seems to love this striking and patriotic 90% silver U.S. issue. If you aren’t already familiar with the beloved and historic half dollar you should take the time to learn a bit about the series.
She’s a Beauty:
Issued from the World War I era right through the post-World War II period, the magnificent half dollar is often regarded as America’s most beautiful classic silver coin. Even today, the coin designer A.A. Weinman’s flag-draped Liberty and indomitable Eagle engravings remain enormously popular. (In fact, the obverse design is so beloved that it was adapted for the U.S. American Eagle silver dollar introduced in 1986.)
And She’s Popular:
Collectors flock to the series to enjoy the combination of numismatic and silver value. The Walking Liberty half dollar is probably the second most collected U.S. silver series — after the famous Morgan dollar. But, far fewer “Walkers” were minted, and they tended to get much more use in commerce. (Many of the famous Morgan dollars were stored in bank vaults and never entered commerce.) So today a far smaller proportion of Walker half dollars survive in collectible quality grades.
She Aged Well:
The Walking Liberty half dollar became eligible for retirement in 1942, after 25 years of service. But the wonderfully patriotic coin continued to be minted through World War II and the immediate postwar period. It wasn’t replaced by the Franklin half dollar until 1948.
It’s the most unabashedly patriotic coin in U.S. history: Liberty is garbed in the American flag, striding towards the dawn of a new era. She wears the traditional Phrygian freedman’s cap of the ancient world, symbolic of hard-won freedom and carries laurel and oak branches, representing civil and military attainments.
On the reverse, a vigilant eagle stands on guard for American freedoms. Introduced when World War I was raging in Europe, the eagle does not hold the traditional peace branch and arrows of war. Instead, his right talon rests on a pine sapling. Like Liberty, the eagle exudes a confident power.
Most Walking Liberty issues are wonderfully affordable in circulated grades. A few issues are scarce and pricey but the majority are easily attainable. This is a wonderful coin for the new collector, as these half dollar are available, affordable, and beautiful.
Where to Go From Here:
Although you won’t see Walking Liberty half dollars in circulation, they should be available anywhere you find other collectible coins. Coin shops, coin shows, antique shops and flea markets are a great place to start. Online sources (ICCoin.com) and catalogs will also carry a wonderful selection.
Happy coin hunting!