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HomeUS Coins1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar : A Collector's Guide

1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar : A Collector’s Guide

The current finest-known 1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Image: Legend Rare Coin Auctions / CoinWeek.
The current finest-known 1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Image: Legend Rare Coin Auctions / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

After a seven-year hiatus, the Denver Mint resumed production of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, striking 1,001,200 coins. However, due to the 1929 stock market crash and ensuing economic depression, this was a one-year event, as Denver would not strike halves again until 1934.

Despite its low mintage, the 1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar was saved in sufficient quantities to be readily available today in Mint State through MS65. It becomes scarce in MS66 or finer, with the finest known examples grading in the MS67 to MS67+ range.

How Much Is a 1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar Worth?

The value of the 1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar is grade- and eye-appeal-contingent. The typical circulated example will fall in the range of grades between Very Good and Very Fine. In these grades, the expected price that collectors will pay is between $20 and $30. If the coin has VG-VF details but is impaired due to graffiti, harsh cleaning, or environmental damage, then the coin is categorized as “junk silver” and has a value based on the coin’s .36169 ounces of silver content.

The coin’s value increases dramatically in grades Extra Fine and above. A March 19, 2024, eBay sale of an NGC XF45 for $184 indicates the upper range of what collectors are willing to pay at this grade level. The price roughly doubles at the AU55 grade level, and Choice Mint State coins sell for about $1,000.

Over the last 20 years, the value of MS63 1929-D Walking Liberty Half Dollars has increased by about 20% when adjusting for inflation. The same cannot be said for coins graded MS65, which have seen a 50% decrease in value. What caused this? Two reasons.

First, through 1991, ANACS, NGC, and PCGS had certified 355 1929-D Walking Liberty Halves in Mint State. As of the time of this writing (May 2024), CAC, NGC, and PCGS report 1,802 total Mint State grading events.

The second issue, in our opinion, is gradeflation. Since the early 1990s, the Gem MS65 grade has lost much of its status. Taking its place in the market is the MS66 grade. If one slides the grade up by one point, then we see 2024 retail values roughly in line with early 1990s MS65 values.

Of course, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. Many Gems graded in 1990 are 2024 MS65 coins, but the market has become either too saturated with MS65 coins or collector psychology has shifted, and Gems are not “Gemmy” enough when so many coins have graded one point finer.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Coin dealer Joel D. Coen of New York advertised in the April 1976 issue of The Numismatist that he would sell choice BU examples of the 1929-D Walking Liberty for $375.

Top Population: PCGS MS67+ (2, 5/2024), NGC MS67 (1, 5/2024), and CAC MS67 (3:0 stickered:graded, 5/2024).

The PCGS MS67+ population has remained the same since at least November 2020.

  • PCGS MS67+ CAC #35286702: As PCGS MS67 CAC #35286702. Heritage Auctions, April 26, 2018, Lot 4263 – $44,400. As PCGS MS67+ CAC #35286702Legend Rare Coin Auctions, September 2018, Lot 185 – $82,250. Coin upgraded by one-half point but retained the same certification number. Light champagne hue throughout. A brown, pink, green, and orange toning pattern dominates the left of the obverse field—iridescent rim toning on the right side of the reverse.
  • PCGS MS67 #39442348: As PCGS MS66 #2641388. “The Calvin Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2009, Lot 6027 – $4,312.50. As PCGS MS66+ CAC #25314396. Heritage Auctions, June 5, 2014, Lot 4583 – $9,987.50Coin upgraded by one-half point. As PCGS MS67 #39442348. Heritage Auctions, August 4, 2020, Lot 3931 – $30,000 Coin upgraded by one-half point. Heritage Auctions, November 20, 2020, Lot 3331 – $27,600. Scattered goldenrod and brown toning. Toning spot between T and Y. Tiny gouge in the right obverse field to the bottom left of T.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #39221442: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, May 14, 2020, lot 185 – $64,625. There is a hint of peach toning on the sun and across Liberty’s upper half. Similar toning permeates on the reverse from the rim on the right into the eagle’s wings.
  • PCGS MS67 #38477865: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, December 12, 2019, Lot 346 – $44,650. Speckled Red, green, and gold obverse rim toning.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #35411203: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, July 27, 2023, Lot 61 – $7,931.25; Heritage Auctions, September 14, 2023, Lot 3028 – $7,500; Heritage Auctions, May 9, 2024, Lot 4316 – $7,200. Both sides display scattered rose/rust toning. Diagonal hit above IN GOD. Darker orange/green toning under S OF.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #40189648: Stack’s Bowers, December 18, 2020, Lot 2238 – $6,000. Scattered brown toning on the obverse.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #25314396: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, May 16, 2019, Lot 448 – $6,756.25.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #30019433: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, March 21, 2019, Lot 228 – $11,456.25. Light champagne toning. Tick above IN GOD. Diagonal hit on the hem of Liberty’s dress above and slightly to the left of 1.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #81921408: “The Steven L. Duckor Collection of Walking Liberty Half Dollars,” Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2018, Lot 4549 – $16,800. Duckor on insert. Frosty with a thin band of gold rim toning.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #84001225: Heritage Auctions, July 6, 2017, Lot 3116 – $11,162.50. Brilliant.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1929
Denomination: Half Dollar (50 Cents USD)
Mintmark: D (Denver)
Mintage: 1,001,200
Alloy: .900 Silver, .100 Copper
Weight: 12.5 g
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
REV Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
Quality: Business Strike

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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