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All Posts Tagged With: "Walkers"

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Coins Minted After 1934 tend to be Very Common, 1793 to 1933 is the Classic Era – Part 2

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community, #23-Part2

A continuation of a Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

Usually, this column is published each Wednesday morning and not at other times. I came to believe, however, that this week’s topic is of tremendous importance and warrants two parts. [Click Here to View Part One] My survey of sophisticated collectors and expert dealers, shockingly, indicated that, while most realized that 1933/34 is the traditional dividing line between classic and modern U.S. coinage, few remembered or ever knew the primary reason. U.S. coins minted before 1934 are much scarcer than U.S. coins minted after 1934. Indeed, though there are a few exceptions, regular issue U.S. coins minted after 1934 are common.

From the perspective of a collector, this is the most important and clearest dividing line in the whole history of U.S. coinage. As the basis for this dividing line is not well understood, I feel compelled to explain and prove its importance. I presented logical points and evidence in part 1, and I provide more evidence herein. I then discuss one major reason why it is imperative to emphasize this dividing line now; many people are spending substantial or even vast sums for very common coins, usually without really understanding the factors involved and the traditions of coin collecting in the U.S.

IV. Walking Liberty Half Dollars

As the somewhat recent sharp rises in the price of silver has affected the values of circulated Walking Liberty Half Dollars, it makes sense here to consider those that grade AU-50 or higher. As no Walkers were minted in Philadelphia that date from 1922 to 1933, it may not be suitable to analyze comparative values for Philadelphia Mint halves in terms of the 1933/34 dividing line. Therefore, I refer to Denver and San Francisco Mint halves. Of all the Denver Mint Walkers minted prior to 1934, the 1929-D is the least expensive and the least scarce.

In AU-50 grade, a 1929-D half is worth about three to more than ten times as much as any Denver Mint half dating from 1934 to 1945, with one exception, the 1938-D. The 1938-D is the only regular issue exception, of the half dollar denomination, to the 1933/34 dividing line between relatively scarce U.S. coins and relatively common coins. The 1938-D half is scarce, much more so than any other Denver Mint half dollar issue in the 1930s or later.

In regard to San Francisco Mint halves, there is no such exception. In AU-50 or higher grades, any pre-1934 S-Mint Walker is worth substantially more, usually from two to more than ten times as much, than any San Francisco Mint Walker from 1934-S to the last S-Mint Walking Liberty Half, 1946-S. In relative terms, pre-1934 San Francisco Mint halves are ‘very scarce’ and post-1934 San Francisco halves are quite common. (more…)

Pinnacle Rarities Trades Finest Known Walking Liberty Half

Elusive 1921-S PCGS MS66 is Placed through Private Treaty

Pinnacle Rarities is proud to announce the private treaty sale of the finest known 1921-S Walking Liberty half. The coin is graded MS66 and is the single finest graded at PCGS. The 1921-S is by far the rarest Walking Liberty half in the uncirculated grades, and is very elusive in the top gem grades.

Most of the early Walkers are tough, especially in gem or better. With the end of WWI, the early twenties saw a decrease in demand for circulating coinage. As such, the mintage figures for 1921 are low. The years surrounding the end of the war produced the series’ most prized dates.

For 1921 all three mint marks are elusive, and despite the slightly higher mintage from San Francisco, the bulk of them were heavily circulated or lost to attrition. Today surviving quality examples are scarce, Coinfacts gives this date a 9.1 in MS65 on a rarity scale of 1 – 10.

In relation to the other series keys, the 1921-S has a bit higher mintage. The lower circulated grades are more available than some more common dates. But as the condition reaches the extra-fine (XF) level, the date becomes increasingly tough. No date in the series has fewer coins graded in the uncirculated grades. Nothing is even close.

The 1919-D is considered by some the King of the Walker series. However, there are just 202 1921-S coins graded in the uncirculated grades and the next closest is the 19-D with 344. So, there are 142 more 19-D halves grading in MS60 or better then there are uncirculated 21-S halves.

In fact, Jeff Ambio author of Collecting & Strategies for Walking Liberty Half Dollars agrees, describing the date as “the rarest Walking Liberty Half in Mint State, (with) Choice examples having tremendous appeal in virtually any numismatic market.”

At Pinnacle Rarities, nothing gets sold on our website that we don’t want to buy back. Pinnacle Rarities takes pride in the fact that after decades of placing some of numismatic’s finest material, many of these rarities come back through our offices. This is a prime example. We have been lucky enough to trade this coin several times. We originally purchased this example from late numismatic icon – Jack Lee. We then placed it into the PCGS Hall of Fame GBW Collection. Although retired, that set still ranks as the all-time finest.

In 2004, we were fortunate enough to buy that collection. We again sold this example privately. When it was time to sell, that collector knew to call us first. And again, we found it a home in a very astute collector’s cabinet. We are unlikely to see this superb example again anytime soon. But rest assured, it has found a good home – no a GREAT home.

The coin has fabulous in hand eye appeal. It is the sharpest struck 1921-S example we’ve encountered. While there is some weakness evident in the central devices, it has great detail with good hand definition and crisp eagle leg feathers. The surfaces are extremely clean with only a couple light hits on the obverse.

The reverse is faultless. Some light toning in the peripheries provides a pleasing palette of color represented along the rims. This coin has been the centerpiece to every collection it’s been in, and will likely never find an equal.