Walking Liberty half dollars, minted 1916-1947, are the second most popular silver coins turned out by the U.S. Mint. Morgan Silver Dollars are undoubtedly number one. Mercury dimes, minted 1916-1945, also are silver investor favorites. Like all U.S. Mint silver coins, Walking Liberty half dollars were minted of 90% silver and 10% copper.
As did the Franklin half-dollars and the 1964-dated Kennedy half-dollars, Walking Liberty half dollars contained 0.36169 oz. pure silver each when minted. Therefore, a bag of 2,000 half dollars ($1,000 face) contained 723.38 ounces of silver when minted. However, because of wear, a bag ($1,000 face) of circulated half-dollars will yield 718-720 ounces of silver when smelted.
By comparison, a bag of pre-1965 90% silver dimes or quarters will yield about 715 ounces of silver when smelted. Further, a $1,000 face bag of circulated pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver dimes or quarters weighs right at 55 pounds on a bathroom scale, whereas a bag of half dollars weighs a little more than 55 pounds.
Walking Liberty half dollar premiums
All pre-1965 half dollars (Walking Liberty, Franklin, and Kennedy) carry higher premiums than dimes and quarters for several reasons. One, half dollars suffered less wear than dimes and quarters; therefore, half-dollars will yield a few more ounces of silver when smelted. When silver prices are low, those few more ounces are of little importance. But, as silver prices move higher, the additional ounces become more significant.
The main reason half dollars sell at premiums to dimes and quarters is that half dollars are more popular with silver investors. Half dollars are more popular for a couple of reasons. One, the Mint turned out far fewer half dollars than dimes and quarters; two, $1,000 face in half dollars is easier to count than dimes and quarters. Another possible reason for the half-dollar’s popularity is that they approach in size the immensely popular American silver dollars.
Walking Liberty halves: Investor Favorites
Walking Liberty halves are favored over Franklin half dollars and Kennedy half dollars because fewer Walking Liberty half dollars exist. (Despite approximately 477 million Walking Liberty halves being minted, they are relatively scarce today.) Franklin and Kennedy half-dollars are generally always available for purchase. Bags of Walking Liberty halves are not always available.
Finally, and it almost goes without saying, Walking Liberty half-dollars are popular because of the Walking Liberty on the front of the coins and the imposing American eagle that stands magnificently on the back of the coins. The Walking Liberty design is such a favorite that the U.S. Mint selected the Walking Liberty to grace the Mint’s Silver Eagles, when they were introduced in 1986. Silver Eagles are the world’s best selling 1-oz. government-minted pure silver coins, with more than 165 million having been sold.
Although Walking Liberty half dollars show considerable wear, they still have visible dates. (Coins that have lost their dates are sent to a refinery, where they are refined and converted into pure silver for other uses.)
Buying Walking Liberty half-dollars
If you would like to learn more about Walking Liberty half-dollars, call 800-528-1380. We take calls 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday’s through Fridays. CMI Gold & Silver Inc. has been America’s leading gold and silver bullion dealer since 1973.