On January 13th the United States Mint asked their Facebook fans “What is your most favorite coin design?” At last check, over 100 people had commented on their coin of choice. The responses were varied but not that surprising. Coinage is naturally alluring and many great designers have participated in coin design throughout our country’s history. Despite the many great answers there were a few designs that are held in particular reverence: the Walking Liberty Half Dollar and the Morgan Dollar.
|Issue dates||1916 to 1947||1878 to 1904, 1921|
|Composition||90% silver, 10% copper||90% silver, 10% copper|
|Designer||Adolph A. Weinman||George T. Morgan|
|Obverse||Lady Liberty walking and holding an olive branch.||Lady Liberty|
|Reverse||A perched bald eagle.||Eagle holding arrows and an olive branch.|
Adolph Weinman was chosen to design the Walking Liberty coin after the Commission of Fine Arts held a competition. Due to the complexity of the design, the mint had a hard time striking the coin and it was considered not to have been struck very well. Ever since 1986, a modified design of Weinman’s Walking Liberty is featured on the continually popular American Silver Eagle.
What is it about the design of this coin that makes it so well liked? Could it be it’s beautiful intricacies; the outstretched hand, a message of hope; the sense of movement?
We lost the Seated Liberty, but gained the Morgan. In 1876, George T. Morgan became the Assistant Engraver at the Mint at Philadelphia on a six-month trial basis. Morgan began studying the fine arts specifically in preparation of creating a new Liberty head.” He sat with Philadelphian teacher Anna Willess Williams five times with the intention of modeling the new Liberty head after an American woman, rather than the classical Greek models.
Are we attracted to the Western features of the depicted lady, it’s long seated history, do we love it’s weight in our hand?
Join the conversation!