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walking liberty's Blog

22 Sep 2020

history of the walking liberty half dollar

Coins-United States | walking liberty

The walking liberty half dollar was made from 1916 to 1947 then replaced by the franklin half dollar. In 1915 when Robert W. Woolley came into commission he believed that when a coin design was circulating for 25 years that it had to be replaced so he set out to replace the Barber coinage. When he found people he chose Adolph A. Weinman and Herman Macneil. Herman made the standing liberty quarter and Adolph made the mercury dime and walking liberty half. The sun in the background proved difficult to perfect and even harder to strike. People believe that the "sower" design on the France coinage was his inspiration for the half dollar. Since the liberty half dollar was so hard to strike most people believe that that is the reason it got replaced by the franklin half dollar and the Treasury secretary before it was made he even considered that Barber creates his own new design for the half dollar. Many people believe the liberty half dollar was a really beautiful design but Art Historian Cornelius Vermeule considered that it was the most beautiful piece of coinage in U.S history. Since 1986 a few modifications have been made to the obverse of the coin and used as the American silver eagle, and even had its own gold centennial made in 2016.

Comments

TheNumisMaster

Level 5

Mmmm, I love these coins so much. The only more beautiful coin to ever be minted was the Double Golden Eagle of the Saint-Gaudens design.

Long Beard

Level 5

Great bit of history. I have one of the other two coins bearing the design, and odd as it may be it's not an American Silver Eagle. For an unknown reason I have yet to buy one. Of note, a very similar reverse design appears on the Palladium Eagle.

Stumpy

Level 5

Adding to Mike B's and Liberty W. Half's comments I would like to say they don't mind changing the design, there is just no serious thought put into it seems. An example will be the 75th anniversary Silver Dollar coming out in Nov. All they did was use the existing design and added a privy "75th" mark. No Commemorative, no imagination, no challenging breathtaking design. I'm getting one, but, Boring! Thanks guys for saying what I've been thinking. Later!

Mike

Level 7

That coin was made when designers back then had imagination. Not like today. They have all the tools to make classic designs like this. But no brain to make. I'm sorry. I just sent an email to the mint complaining about there designs. . Thanks.

problem is the mint never bothers to change the design's of the coins we have, nor bother to go after elite members of the art profession (St. Guadens wasn't picked in a lotto draw... )

Stumpy

Level 5

I personally think it was a coin before it's time. It is also the basis of my wife "Pretty Lady", so I would never say a bad thing about it. lol! There seems to be a lot of them out there, but true quality strikes are fewer and harder to come by, not to mention can be pricy. I don't see myself ever trying to assemble this coin in any quantity, but I will say I have and will continue to purchase any than I find at a reasonable price. Once again, nice info and great blog. Later!

Its a classic coin that all people, regardless if they are collectors are not, can enjoy.

It was so hard to mint, that the design was modified by engravers multiple times during the years it was minted (three times, in 1918 by George Morgan, 1937 by John Sinnock, and in 1938 by Sinnock again).... I reccomend to all reading Breen's comments on Walker's in his "Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins"... He found and has some interesting interpretations on the design (fyi, the book is no longer printed, but even my late 80s copy works)

It's Mokie

Level 6

The Walker only superficially resembles the Sower, I think both are excellent designs and have stood the test of time. We don't have beautiful coins anymore,, that is why the Mint has to constantly recycle "Renaissance of American Coin" designs. Sad!!!

Golfer

Level 5

The obverse and reverse are fantastic. Everyone likes the standing liberty half dollar. I have a few of them just for the silver, but would love to have a nice key date in a good grade. You have go me thinking to go look for something special.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I'm with Sun... The standing Liberty too, but I like the Franklins just as much.

Longstrider

Level 6

It's a very beautiful design. I hope it isn't ruined in the 2021 SAE. That photo is an amazing shot of some toned ones. Thanks for the history.

"SUN"

Level 6

I think the Buffalo Nickel, Mercury Dime, and the Walking Liberty are the best.

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