Coin Specifications

Category: Walking Liberty Half Dollars (1916-1947)
Mint: Denver
Mintage: 1,165,000
Catalog: KM-142
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $7.11 (4/17/2014)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1919 D 50C MS obverse 1919 D 50C MS reverse

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There are no varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Armistice Day, November 11, 1918 finally marked the end of World War I. Since 1914, much of America's economy had been bolstered by manufacturing and production for the war effort. Now, due to the slackening need for war related supplies, the economy began to soften as the United States entered a period of isolationism. The Volstead Act (the prohibition of manufacture of alcoholic beverages) was also passed by Congress. Imports and exports of all goods dropped noticeably. As a result, all three operational mints were ordered to produce smaller denomination coinage, Cents, Nickels, Dimes, not Quarters or Half Dollars (no Silver Dollars or gold issues were struck in 1919).

Several years earlier, President Theodore Roosevelt was disgusted with the coin designs in circulation at the time, and made it his mission to have all the coinage redesigned. Roosevelt was especially interested in gold coinage, however his wishes also brought about the Lincoln Cent in 1909, the Buffalo Nickel in 1913, and silver coins all in 1916. Adolph A. Weinman, the designer of the Mercury Dime, also prepared the Half Dollar design. Many consider it one of the most beautiful silver coins ever produced by the U.S. mint and one of the two most beautiful of all coinage designs along with the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. Later, the government again gave a nod to these designs, choosing each for the American Eagle gold and silver coins introduced in 1986.

At the time, a discussion of this new design appeared in the Annual Report of the Director of the Mint:

The design of the half dollar bears a full length figure of Liberty, the folds of the Stars and Stripes flying to the breeze as a background, progressing in full stride toward the dawn of a new day, carrying the branches of laurel and oak, symbolical of civil and military glory. The hand of the figure is outstretched in bestowal of the spirit of Liberty. The reverse of the half dollar shows an eagle perched high upon a mountain crag, his wings unfolded, fearless in spirit and conscious of his power. Springing from a rift in the rock is a sapling of mountain pine, symbolical of America.

It was this commentary that prompted some to suggest various names for this coin: Liberty Walking, Liberty Striding, Walking Liberty, and Striding Liberty.

Among Half Dollars coined in the 20th century, the 1919 issues remain as some of the (conditionally) rarest. The Denver facility produced just 1.1 million coins, most of these were subsequently well worn from years in the channels of commerce, and during the Great Depression preceding the next World War. It is generally accepted among enthusiasts that the 1919-D is the rarest Walking Liberty Half Dollar at the fully struck Gem level of preservation (Les Fox, 1993).

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/18/2013

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1919 D 50C MS
Base $ 24.15 44.85 132 432 1020 1020 1800 2520 2910 4650 6180 6540 10470 15810 29380 133250 289250 - - - -
$ 1120 1980 2700 3100 5000 6700 7100 11300 17100 31700 144000 310000 - -
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Total Graded: 605
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 65

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
4/27/2014 MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2014 April 23 - 27 CSNS US Coin Signature Auction - Chicago Session(1), 1204/Lot# 3574

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/4/2011 PCGS AU 53   Goldberg September 4-6, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 65/Lot# 1359 $1,897.50
5/1/2012 PCGS VG 10   Teletrade Auction 3269, 3269/Lot# 1129 $62.00
9/2/2012 NGC G 6   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 09/02/2012, 38/Lot# 71261 $35.99
9/9/2012 NGC MS 62   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 09/09/2012, 39/Lot# 72377 $6,985.00
10/17/2012 PCGS XF 45   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 1790 $1,063.75
1/9/2013 NGC Details XF Details  Heritage Auctions 2013 January 9-13 US Coin FUN Signature Auction - Orlando Session(8), 1181/Lot# 10691 $822.50
12/15/2013 PCGS MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 782, 791/Lot# 429 $21,250.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1919 D 50C MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 53
Points: 3021
Owner: thehorseboy
Grade: XF 45
Points: 2056
Owner: Doc's Walkers
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