1941 Walking Liberty Half Dollar: Learn To Grade This Coin Series

Walking Liberty Half Dollar Overview

A very popular series of collectible coins, the Walking Liberty Half Dollar series, is popular with collectors and investors alike. Introduced in 1916 to replace the Barber half dollar, the Walking Liberty half dollar has seen fast approval and great amounts of praise from consumers.

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Designs for America’s next half dollar were accepted in 1915, when US Mint Director Robert W. Woolley called for a replacement of the Barber coinage. Sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s design of Lady Liberty walking towards the sun won the contest for the United States next half dollar.

Implementation of Weinman’s design did not go well, with the design not transferring well to finished pieces.

On the obverse of the Liberty Half Dollar is a rendition of Lady Liberty in a flowing gown and the American flag over her shoulder as she walks towards the sun. “LIBERTY” is found centered above and the date minted can be found below. The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” can be found in the field to the right of Lady Liberty.

Like other coins around the time period, an American Eagle with outstretched wings is the main design for the reverse. The difference for this design is that the eagle is perched on a branch.

“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be found around the eagle. The denomination of “HALF DOLLAR” is found centered directly below the main design.

Although popular with consumers, the Walking Liberty half dollar was only produced for 21 years. The main reason for its replacement in 1947 was due to the issues of weak design elements.

History of the 1941 Walking Liberty Half Dollar

Mintage figures rose dramatically near the end of the Walking Liberty half dollars’ production period.

Produced at the Philadelphia Mint, 24,192,000 examples of the 1941 Walking Liberty Half Dollar were produced. This makes the 1941 Walking Liberty Half Dollar a common coin that has had many examples survive to this day.

Strike quality of the 1941 and other Walking Liberty half dollars was relatively weak. This meant that most design elements were not particularly sharp and well defined. Due to this weakness in the design, examples that show a strong strike are much more sought after by collectors.

Each Walking Liberty half dollar is composed of a mix of 90% silver and 10% copper. The diameter is 30.63mm and weight is 12.50 grams. The edge of the coin is reeded (small bumps).

1941 Half Dollar

Image Source Flickr user Jerry "Woody"

Grading the Walking Liberty Half Dollar

Condition plays a huge part in determining the value of any coin. Being able to accurately grade your 1941 Walking Liberty Half Dollar will help determine the correct price.

Coin grading is done by applying a grade of preservation based on the 70 point Sheldon Scale, where a 70 is considered “perfect.” Here are some basic rules to help you determine the grade of your Walking Liberty half dollar.

  • Good 4 - Heavy wear across the entire coin with the rims and design elements appearing very flat. The date and mottos are very light or are missing some numbers/letters.

  • Fine 12 - Not as much wear as in Good 4 but still worn in that some details are missing. A distinctly flattened area can be found directly in the center of Liberty.

  • Extra Fine 45 - All details can be seen very clearly, with a small amount of wear on certain parts of the coin. Some mint luster may be present.

  • Uncirculated / Mint State 60 - A coin that looks as if it just left the mint. Luster is present across the entire coin and details are strong. No wear can be found on the coin apart from some small hairline scratches.

Value of the 1941 Walking Liberty Half Dollar

Because of the large number minted, many 1941 Walking Liberty half dollars still survive today. Prices tend to reflect the survival rate with average condition 1941 Walking Liberty half dollars being valued slightly above silver value.

Low grade 1941 Walking Liberty half dollars are only worth their silver content, presently $7.25. If in Fine condition, the price rises to $9.00.

Extra Fine examples retail for $16 and MS-60 see a value of $30. Premium grades above MS-60 see prices rise much faster. MS-63 is valued at $50 and MS-65 jumps to just under $100.

These values are meant for coins that have an average quality strike. Coins that display a much stronger and clear strike will command slightly higher prices. The opposite is true as well, with weaker strike coins having a diminished value.

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