By CoinWeek News Staff ….
UPDATE, 11/18/2016: According to an announcement from Michael White at the U.S. Mint, first day sales for the 2016 Walking Liberty Centennial Half Dollar gold coin total 43,728 units sold. This represents about 62% of the maximum mintage of 70,000.
As of noon today (November 17, 2016), the 2016 Walking Liberty Centennial Half Dollar gold coin is now available from the United States Mint. It is the last coin in a three-coin set celebrating the 100th anniversary of the classic coin designs of 1916.
But with a mintage limit of 70,000, a household order limit of three–not to mention a retail price of $865.00–while not impossible, a sell-out is unlikely.
Design & Specifications
Minted at West Point, the Walking Liberty gold centennial honors sculptor and medallist Adolph A. Weinman’s iconic Liberty Walking design, found on the original Walking Liberty half dollar (1916-1947) and later on the obverse of the American Silver Eagle (1986-present). It captures Lady Liberty mid-stride, her feet in sandals and wearing a long, classically inspired tunic. Her right arm extends outward in the direction she is walking, while a bundle of oak and laurel branches is nestled in the crook of her left arm. Also wrapped around her left arm is an American flag, which flaps dramatically in the wind as it coils around and behind her. On her head is a Phyrgian cap, immemorial symbol of freedom.
The sun of a new day rises in the lower left corner.
Obverse inscriptions include LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, the year 2016 and the “W” mint mark.
Weinman’s powerful and well-feathered eagle makes full use of the canvas on the reverse. It appears to be about to launch itself into the sky from a perch high atop a pine tree, as evidenced by the branch full of needles and pine cones on the left. The reverse also features the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, the denomination HALF DOLLAR and the precious metal indicators–AU (gold), 24K, and 1/2 OZ–as mandated by law.
The diameter of the coin is 27 mm, and the thickness is measured at 2.16 mm. The edge is reeded.
Besides mintage and order limits, other obstacles to a quick sell-out are price, dealer wariness, buyer’s fatigue and timing.
A good number of dealers, enthused by the success of the initial entry in the set–the 2016 Mercury Dime Centennial gold coin–stocked up heavily on the second release, the 2016 Standing Liberty Centennial Quarter gold coin. Unfortunately, the Standing Liberty gold coin, with a maximum mintage of 100,000 and a household order limit of one, proved too much for some collectors. By the end of the first day, only 47,884 units had been sold. And even with order limits removed, the 2016 Standing Liberty Centennial has sold only 80,633 pieces.
And with barely over a month to go until Christmas, the Mint has not allowed much time for sales of the gold half dollar to perform at its potential sales level. Budget-conscious collectors who had not already planned for this purchase might also balk at the $865 retail as they shop for their non-numismatic relatives.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to see how the release of the three coins could have been better spaced throughout the year.