Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar

Facts at a Glance

  • The Walking Liberty half dollar resulted from a U.S. Mint competition held in 1915, with Adolph A. Weinman winning and his designs replacing several denominations of existing coinage.
  • Weinman’s design was a departure from previous coinage and featured Liberty striding energetically with stars in hand and an eagle on the reverse, although it faced resistance from the Mint staff and the previous coinage’s designer, Charles E. Barber.
  • This coin marked a shift towards high artistic merit in U.S. coinage design and showcased Weinman’s ability to navigate the minting process and controlling personalities in the industry.
  • It stands as a testament to the art of minting and the minting of art, opening the door for more artistic coin designs.
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Description

The Walking Liberty half dollar is the result of the second artistic competition held by the U.S. Mint to replace its existing coinage at the time. Under the discretion of the Commission of Fine Arts, in 1915, three renowned sculptors were chosen from a field of five to submit models for new coins. Adolph A. Weinman was determined the winner, and his designs would replace the penny, nickel, dime, half dollar and dollar.

The Walking Liberty was a radical, yet lovely departure from the pre-existing coinage designed by Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber, which had been in circulation since 1892. Displaying a young woman striding across a field, Weinman’s Liberty was active, ebullient, sowing prosperity and potential from the stars that cascaded from her hand. On the reverse, an eagle is perched and prepared to take flight. The bird was so potent as to inspire awe in its singular focus.

The change in design faced resistance from two sources. First, the staff of the Mint had recently been through a poor experience in the redesign of another coin, and thus were not motivated to take on this new assignment. Second, it did not help matters that Barber, the designer of the previous coinage, was essentially asked to oversee the termination of his own designs. He is documented as obstructing Weinman’s design, going so far as to completely rework it, change aspect ratios of the original design, and add decorative elements.

The Walking Liberty half dollar represents the beginning of a new tradition of high artistic merit in the design of U.S. Coinage. A student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a highly-regarded designer of coins, Weinman was able to better navigate the demands of the minting process, as well as the controlling personalities that often demanded a consistent reuse of styles, confusing them with technique. The coin stands as a testament to the art of minting and the minting of art.

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To learn more about Walking Liberty Half Dollar and to get current pricing, please call us at (800) 355-2116

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Specifications

Mint dates: 1916-1947

Designer: Adolph A. Weinman

Gross weight: 12.50 g

Silver content: 0.36169 troy oz

Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper

Diameter: 30.6 mm

Please note, Birch Gold’s selection of products rotates over time. To learn more about Walking Liberty half dollar  coins, their availability and current pricing, please call us at (800) 355-2116.

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