Classic Coin Design Given New Life

Considered to be one of the most beautiful designs in the history of U.S. coinage, Adolph A. Weinman’s design for the Walking Liberty Half Dollars appeared on circulating coins for more than thirty years. The design was revived for use on a silver bullion coin four decades later, putting it in the spotlight and forefront of American consciousness once again.

The “Walking Liberty” design features an image of the iconic Liberty figure striding confidently forward. One hand is outstretched before her while the other holds a bouquet of olive branches. An American flag is draped across her shoulders and billows in the breeze. The sun is rising in front of her. This design, steeped in symbolism and rich in beauty, is considered one of the highlights of the so-called Renaissance period of American coinage.

Used in circulation from 1916 to 1947, the design was replaced by the less popular Franklin design in 1948. Around that time, designs featuring Liberty were being phased out in favor of designs featuring famous or important figures in American history.

When a new bullion coin program was created for the United States, the obverse designs of the gold and silver coins revived some of the classic designs from earlier circulating coinage. The American Silver Eagle used Adolph A. Weinman’s design from the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. A new reverse design was created by John Mercanti featuring a heraldic eagle and shield.

In the past decade, more investors and collectors have been buying Silver Eagles, giving wide distribution to this classic design. In each of the past two years, more than 20 million coins have been minted and issued. As an annual mintage, this rivals most of the years of issuance of the original half dollar.

Posted on February 7, 2010 at 1:24 am by admin · Permalink
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