My Unhealthy Relationship With The Walking Liberty Half Dollar

Most coin collectors have a coin that they are obsessed with, be it one they own or want to own. For many, this is often times the first coin that turned them onto the hobby. For me, that is the Winged Head “Mercury” Dime. It was the first “old” coin I remember seeing as a teenager and it hooked me on what has been a nearly life long hobby.

But there is another coin from that same era that probably would be cause for relationship counseling – the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. I distinctly remember the first time I saw this coin at a coin shop near the mall I worked at in Fort Worth, Texas. I struck me as the single most beautiful coin I’d ever seen and began the slow and sometimes challenging effort of finding them for my own collection.

Technically known as the Liberty Walking half dollar (but everyone reverses the name), the coin was minted from 1916 through to 1947. For reference, the Mercury dime was produced form 1916-1945. Both coins were designed by Adolph A Weinman and when you look at them, you can see his artistic style on both coins. You can read more about the history of this beautiful coin here on Wikipedia.

Personally, out of the dozen or so “Walkers” I have in my collection, by far my best example is the one below from 1943. It is in Extra Fine grade and still has full luster on the Obverse and Reverse. I literally smile every time I see it.

1943 Walking Liberty Half Dollar
1943 Walking Liberty Half Dollar

So how solid was the design of the Walking Liberty Half? Well, we see this slightly updated design in the Silver American Eagle bullion coins that have been in production since 1986. It is a classic look that has endured for over 100 years since its first production.

The good news my fellow collectors is that non-key dates of Walkers are pretty inexpensive. Most of them from 1921 through to 1947 can be purchased for around $100 in Mint State and around $30-40 in Extra Fine. The key dates, particularly the 1916 and 1917 coins are tougher to come by and a bit more expensive.

So what is your unhealthy relationship coin design? Leave a comment and tell me (and others) about it.

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