Robert W. Wooley, the Mint Director in 1915, took it upon himself to redesign coins that had been in circulation for 25 years. He appointed the Commission of Fine Arts to hold a design competition for the coins that were being redesigned. Adolph A Weinman’s design, Walking Liberty, won for the new design of the half dollar.
The Walking Liberty was issued from 1916 to 1947. In the 31 years that this coin was minted,
485 million coins were issued. It is composed of 90% silver and the other 10% being copper. The image on the front of the coin is that of Lady Liberty walking towards the sun, while holding olive branches in her hands. The United States flag is over her shoulder. On the back of the coin, is an image of an eagle getting ready to rise from his perch on top of a mountain. These coins were being made at the time we were getting ready to embark in WWI, thus they are a huge collector item of anyone interested in WWI artifacts.
The early coins had their mint mark located on the front side of the coin under the phrase “In God We Trust”. However, in the middle of 1917 the mint mark was moved, its location changed to the back side of the coin. It was placed to the left of the half dollar lettering. Thus making it easy to tell the difference from the first minted coins, which are more valuable coins, from those minted at a later date. The designer’s initials are located under the eagle’s wing.
The Walking Liberty coins minted in 1946 in the city of Philadelphia may be the most valuable of all the Walking Liberty coins minted. They gained a fast appreciation during this time, because these coined were printed with a double reverse image. This increased their value greatly.
The value of the coins change with the fluxing prices of the silver metal. The date of the mint and condition of the coin also plays a factor of the value of the coin. Those coins minted at the end of the run in the best possible conditions are only worth a couple hundred dollars. However those from the early runs in the mint state can be worth anything from a couple thousand and above. If you have a 1921 S Lady Liberty in mint condition lying around, then you are talking over $100,000
To check out other rare coins check out the list of valuable world coins on the homepage.