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Widely considered one of the most beautiful coins ever struck, the Walking Liberty half dollar is a favorite among collectors and investors.
Designed by Adolph A. Weinman and struck from 1916 to 1947, the Walking Liberty half dollar is widely loved by the public to this day.
The coin is so popular, the United States Mint revived the obverse design in 1986 for silver bullion coinage. Walking Liberty half dollars also are one of the most commonly advertised coins.
Walking Liberty Values In 2004 vs. In 2009
Walking Liberty half dollars have, over the course of many years, increased in value well.
While price fluctuations have hit these coins (as associated with many coins), Walking Liberty half dollars belong to a coin series where rarities exist. Prices for some specimens have steadily marched upward.
Let’s look at how some Walking Liberty half dollars have performed over 15 years, comparing prices from the 1994 edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins (by R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett) to the prices in the 2009 edition of the publication, popularly referred to as The Red Book.
- 1916: $20 to $240 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1916: $45 to $350 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1916-D: Obverse Mintmark $12 to $225 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1916-D: Obverse Mintmark $50 to $360 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1916-S: Obverse Mintmark $45 to $800 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1916-S: Obverse Mintmark $120 to $1,200 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1917-S: Obverse Mintmark $12 to $1,400 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1917-S: Obverse Mintmark $25 to $2,400 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1919: $12 to $875 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1919: $25 to $1,300 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1921: $50 to $2,000 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1921: $180 to $4250 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1921-D: $70 to $2,300 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1921-D: $325 to $4,750 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1921-S: $16 to $6,500 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1921-S: $50 to $14,000 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1938-D: $15 to $375 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1938-D: $120 to $525 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1940: $3.50 to $25 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1940: $7 to $30 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1943: $3.50 to $24 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1943: $7 to $35 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
- 1947-D: $3.50 to $40 Good to Mint-State 60 (1994)
- 1947-D: $7.25 to $45 Good to Mint-State 60 (2009)
As you can see, prices are up all across the board among the coins and grades listed here. In fact, even the more common dates (as represented here with the 1940, 1943, and 1947-D dates) have seen some modest gains.
However, the prices of Walking Liberty half dollar common dates in low grades appear more directly affected right now by rising silver bullion prices than by increasing scarcity.
While the above price comparisons are enticing, use this article only for informative insight and entertainment — not as a strict investment guide. Coin values have fluctuated widely over the years. Many coins that have once appeared to be good investments have seen steep price drops, as was notoriously the case for some coins in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Coin investing has many risks and no guarantees.
Scarce Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Low grades of the scarcer dates are being affected by increasing demand and relatively lower supply levels.
High grades of some of the scarce dates are simply downright rare — especially in very high mint-state grades.
In general, all grades and dates of pre-1934 Walking Liberty half dollars are scarcer than those produced from 1934 to 1947 (except for the 1938-D).
My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!