1916 Walking Liberty Half Dollar Pattern, One Of Only Two Known1916 50C Walking Liberty Half Dollar, Judd-1993, Pollock-2055, R.8, PR30 NGC. This is the pattern variety with LIBERTY in large letters in the right obverse field. The reverse is very similar to the final version of the Walking Liberty design with only minor differences. There are several different varieties of 1916 Walking Liberty half dollars in existence. The earlier issues and the eighth edition of the Judd reference listed six varieties, while Andrew Pollock included a seventh variety, his P-2054 variety earlier listed as J-1797a. Based on the pedigree research of Saul Teichman on his uspatterns.com website, only about 20 examples of all different varieties are currently known. Five of these are in the Smithsonian Institution, leaving a net available population of just 15 coins.
This particular pattern variety is extremely rare, with only one example known to Saul Teichman. This specimen is a second example of the variety, apparently not previously known within numismatic circles. According to current research, it is believed that this variety was struck somewhere between August 21 and September 20, 1916 as reported by Dave Bowers in the eighth edition of the Judd reference from the research of Roger Burdette. Mint Director Robert Woolley discussed the design in his annual report for the fiscal year ending June 1916: "The obverse of the half dollar bears a full length figure of Liberty with a background of the American flag flying to the breeze. The goddess is striding toward the dawn of a new day, carrying laurel and oak branches, symbolic of civic and military glory. The reverse shows an eagle perched high up on a mountain crag, wings unfolded. Growing from a rift in the rock is a sapling of mountain pine, symbolic of America."
This example is highly attractive with completely natural grayish-silver surfaces and pale heather highlights. On the reverse, a tiny rim bruise is visible over ER of AMERICA; however, the balance of the surface on each side is nearly flawless. For the pattern specialist, this is an extremely important opportunity, as is any offering of a 1916 pattern coin, regardless of the denomination. Dave Bowers noted: "Under the best of circumstances, the pattern specialist is unlikely to encounter patterns of this date except when specialized collections are brought to market. Even then, only a few pieces are likely to be offered."
The Judd-1993 variety was not listed in previous editions of the Judd reference, however, is similar to the older Judd-1797a listing, except for the addition of Adolph A. Weinman's AW monogram on the reverse.(#62290) (NGC ID# 2AMY, PCGS# 62290)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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