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A Country, A Coin
By Ray Larson, WINS#20

United States Walking Liberty Half

I submit that the United States Walking Liberty Half Dollar is the best representation of its country of origin.

The motif portrays Miss Liberty on the move, much like the young country she represents. Her free flowing garments, the countries flag, give the feeling that can be associated with the freedom of thought and deed the republic proudly proclaims. She is reaching out as if to the future, and as a welcoming gesture to those who seek her shores. In the background the sun is rising, showing a coin and a country ready for another day, a new idea, a bright future. Miss Liberty dominates the obverse of this coin, but overall the design is balanced and clean. Miss Liberty carries branches of laurel and oaks symbolic of civil and military glory with which she has walked the country though two world wars, and the great depression.

On the reverse the magnificent Eagle sits grounded on a sapling of mountain pine symbolical of America, but he is ever vigilant with wings spread in a position prepared to leap to the defense of its citizens and its ideals. Like the obverse design the Eagle dominates the design, and its has fine details sharp and deep, even examples worn down from years of wear are still easily recognized.

The hobby press over the years has queried its readers as to what the most beautiful United States coin ever minted was, and this coin has always consistently been picked with the best. The Treasury department recognized this well for in 1986 when they started producing a bullion dollar, they chose this same obverse design. So if it were not already one of the most recognized design from United States coinage before, the design lives on with this dollar sized bullion coin.

Minted from 1916 through 1947 this Adolph A. Weinman design came from the Roty's Sower design on French silver coinage. The coin was engraved by the mints chief engraver, Charles Barber.

From slave cap to sandals, Miss Liberty embodies many of the passions Americans feel for their country and represents the same as the Statue of Liberty to many around the world.

References:
- Coin picture from the Reno World Collection
- Swiatek, Anthony "The Walking Liberty Half Dollar"
- Yeoman R.S. "A Guide Book of United States Coins"




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