By Chris Bulfinch – Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Each key date Walking Liberty half dollar can claim to be the rarest issue at different points on the grading scale. Mintage alone does not determine actual rarity in this popular series. Despite having the fifth-smallest mintage of the series at 548,000, the 1921-S is the rarest issue in many grades.
Expert consensus holds that the 1921-S Walking Liberty half dollar was not pulled from circulation in large numbers by collectors around the time of its issuance, resulting in the small population of Mint State examples. This rarity trickles down the grading scale to the more heavily circulated examples. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is offering an example of the date in AU-55, a grade where it reigns supreme. This lovely coin, certified by PCGS and earning a green CAC sticker, will be featured in our August 2023 Global Showcase Auction.
Regarding the key date status of the 1921-S, PCGS CoinFacts writes that “when you get to grades VF20 and higher, the 1921-S becomes the rarest and most expensive Walking Liberty half dollar.” In lower circulated grades, the issue’s rarity is eclipsed by its counterparts from the Philadelphia and Denver mints, as well as the 1917-S Obverse mintmark. In Gem grades and higher, the 1919-D vies for the crown.
At time of writing, in both PCGS’ Population Report and NGC’s Census, the 1921-S Walking Liberty half dollar has the smallest number of reported grading events in AU-55 of all dates in the series. PCGS’ Population Report lists 30 grading events for 1921-S Walking Liberty half dollars in AU-55. Only six other AU-55s bear a green CAC sticker, per that service’s census. This piece offers the specialist an opportunity to add an attractive example of this noted date.
Our cataloger offers this succinct description of the coin’s pleasing appearance: “A generally untoned example with plenty of original frosty mint luster evident under a light.”
For more information on our August 2023 Global Showcase Auction, or to consign your numismatic items to this or another of our upcoming auctions, call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].