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HomeUS Coins1933-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar : A Collector's Guide

1933-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar : A Collector’s Guide

1933-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.
1933-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
Domestic coin demands increased slightly in 1933, prompting the San Francisco Mint to strike 1,786,000 Walking Liberty Half Dollars in 1933, making the 1933-S the first S-Mint half issued since the 1929-S. The government paid an average of 54.377¢ an ounce for fine silver, making the nation’s subsidiary silver coins profitable business for the United States Mint.

How Much Is the 1933-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar Worth?

The 1933-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar is neither a type coin nor a semi-key. It occupies a space within the series as a coin that is conditionally scarcer than many of the later dates but much more available in high grades than many of the issues struck in the late 1910s and ’20s.

Collectors should have no problem securing an example in grades ranging from Very Fine to Extra Fine for about $60 or $80 USD. The coin becomes increasingly scarce in grades AU50 and above. Recent market activity for certified coins in the AU range has been steadily increasing, with sales around the $400 to $600 range for attractive examples.

In Choice Mint State grades, the coin surges to $1,200 or more dollars. Brilliant coins and coins with attractive toning perform better. Superb Gems are not plentiful, but a sufficient number exist that auction appearances occur at least a few times yearly. We discuss these examples in depth in the section below.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Small quantities of the 1933-S half dollar could be purchased from the United States Mint at face value as late as 1934.

Coin dealer Joel D. Coen of New York advertised in the April 1976 issue of The Numismatist that he had Choice BU examples of the 1933-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar for sale for $650.

Top Population: PCGS MS67+ (3, 4/2024). NGC MS67+ (5, 4/2024), and CAC MS67 (10:0 stickered:graded, 4/2024)

In March 2002, the NGC top pop was MS67 with only two graded at this level. By November 2013, that population had increased to four. As of this writing, the MS67 pop is 16, with five in MS67+. The PCGS MS67 population was six as of August 2004. As of April 2024, that number is 16, with three finer. CoinWeek has identified numerous MS67 coins that have been crossed over or re-certified.

  • NGC MS67+ #6617440-005: Heritage Auctions, May 4, 2023, Lot 4009 – $15,000. Blue, russet, and orange streaks toning around the periphery with apricot centers.
  • NGC MS67 CMQ #3752840-002: Stack’s Bowers, March 26, 2024, Lot 4150 – $12,000. Brilliant. Copper spot in the right field above N and G.
  • NGC MS67 #6823564-004: Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2024, Lot 3558 – $9,600. A smear of dark blue, green, gold, and rust toning is predominantly located in the lower right obverse field—similar toning coloration throughout the reverse.
  • PCGS MS67 #46633212: Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 3079 – $43,200. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #34179218: Charles Schultz (of Peanuts fame); “The GBW Collection”;  “The JBN Set,” Legend Rare Coin Auctions, April 27, 2023, Lot 280 – $41,125. Charles Schultz on insert. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #42422321: As PCGS MS67 #21707144. Heritage Auctions, November 5, 2004, Lot 6952 – $14,087.50; “The Kallenberg Registry Set of Walking Liberty Half Dollars, 1933-1947,” Heritage Auctions, November 4, 2005, Lot 2699 – $14,950. As PCGS MS67 CAC #25172523. Gerald R. Forsythe; GreatCollections, September 29, 2019, Lot 754925 – View. Gerald R. Forsythe on insert. As PCGS MS67 CAC #42422321. Heritage Auctions, August 18, 2021, Lot 3361 – $66,000. Wine and steel blue toning along the periphery. Creamy centers. There is a noticeably diagonal scratch on the obverse above IN.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #40274281: “The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part V,” Heritage Auctions, April 23, 2021, Lot 4144 – $34,800. Simpson novelty insert; “The Sempter Fi #1 CAC-Approved Registry Set of Walking Liberty Half Dollars,” GreatCollections, November 21, 2021, Lot 1072841 – View. Mostly brilliant. There is a toning spot between R and T of LIBERTY. Rim hit next to E of E PLURIBUS. Tiny tick through D of UNITED.
  • NGC MS67 #5743907-004: Heritage Auctions, June 4, 2020, Lot 3077 – $9,600. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 #37901202: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, May 16, 2019, Lot 449 – $14,100; Legend Rare Coin Auctions, September 26, 2019, Lot 295 – $14,100. Brrilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #38698194: PCGS MS67 CAC #22089586. Heritage Auctions, March 2007, Lot 1043; Heritage Auctions, August 2007, Lot 1706 – $11,500; David Lawrence Rare Coins, sold December 2007; Heritage Auctions, October 28, 2015, Lot 98775 – $12,925. As PCGS MS67 CAC #3667350. Stack’s Bowers, August 15, 2019, Lot 5225 – $12,600. As PCGS MS67 CAC #38698194. GreatCollections, May 1, 2020, Lot 748217 – $11,306.25. All over toning in dull russet and blue-green colors. Bland coin.
  • PCGS MS67 #36848371. As NGC MS67 #1654439-011. Heritage Auctions, March 16, 2007, Lot 1044 – $8,050. Top pop, pop two when offered; “The George Gardner Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, November 6, 2013, Lot 2099 – $9,400. As NGC MS67+ #4330642-007. Legend Rare Coin Auctions, September 29, 2016, Lot 403 – $14,687.50. Upgraded one-half point; Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2017, Lot 4852 – $12,925NGC MS67+ #3735248-001. Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2018, Lot 4620 – $7,800. As PCGS MS67 #36848371. Legend Rare Coin Auctions, January 27, 2019, Lot 220 – $14,687.50. Crossed to PCGS, downgraded one-half point. Champagne toning all over with scattered darker blue russet toning along the obverse and reverse periphery. Blue and russet toning along HALF DOLLAR.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #25204943: As NGC MS67 #3909400-010. “The Highland Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, March 2015, Lot 285 – $22,325; As PCGS MS67 CAC #25204943. Heritage Auctions, June 4, 2015, Lot 4013 – $25,850; As PCGS MS67 81921410. “The Steven L. Duckor Collection of Walking Liberty Half Dollars,” Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2018, Lot 4885 – $20,400. Reholdered. Duckor added to insert. There is vivid peripheral toning on both sides in copper, green, and gold. There is a thin, long, curved, untoned streak on the obverse from the bouquet through GOD and TRUST.
  • PCGS MS67 #82107449: Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2017, Lot 4851 – $9,987.50. Blue, green, and orange toning on the obverse. Blue, purple, orange, gold, and green toning on the reverse.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #25624655: As PCGS MS67 CAC #25673022. Heritage Auctions, September 17, 2015, Lot 3973 – $14,100. As PCGS MS67 CAC #25624655. Heritage Auctions, April 28, 2016, Lot 4681 – $12,337.50. Regraded; Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2019, Lot 4508 – $9,600. Streaky iridescent orange-gold toning throughout.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #06635020: As PCGS MS67 #2288590. “The Trevor Whitefield Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2005, Lot 30257 – $18,400; “The Joseph C. Thomas Collection,” Heritage Auctions, April 30, 2009, Lot 2523 – $10,925. Old Green Holder. At the time of the sale, pop 7 with none finer. As PCGS MS67 CAC #06635020. Heritage Auctions, August 12, 2015, Lot 4141 – $18,800Two ticks below flag. Toning spot below A of AMERICA. Light dusting of gold color.
  • NGC MS67 #3909400-011: “The Highland Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, March 2015, Lot 286 – $32,900. Highland Collection on insert. Gold and orange all over toning.
  • PCGS MS67 #25235826: Heritage Auctions, January 29, 2015, Lot 3160 – $9,987.50. Gold-grey toning throughout.
  • NGC MS67 #456584-001: Stack’s Bowers, February 2014, Lot 2076 – $9,400. Brilliant. A rim hit above the second S of STATES and a copper spot in the void between the eagle’s legs.
  • NGC MS67 #2037686-094: Eric P. Newman, purchased for $12.50; “The Eric P. Newman Collection, Part II” Heritage Auctions, November 16, 2013, Lot 33854 – $10,575. Newman novelty insert.
  • PCGS MS67 #25376708: Heritage Auctions, November 1, 2013, Lot 3639 – $12,925; GreatCollections, February 18, 2018, Lot 536261 – View. Flashy and brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 #25063795: Heritage Auctions, February 7, 2013, Lot 3840 – $12,337.50. A faint dusting of gold toning, more prominently visible on the reverse.
  • NGC MS67 #2546612-002: Heritage Auctions, January 7, 2011, Lot 5787 – $9,775. Brilliant. Middle sun rays weakly impressed. Tiny rim hit above T in LIBERTY. Die crack from the second S of STATES through the top of the eagle’s wing. Die crack from O in DOLLAR through eagle’s back leg and tail feathers. Die crack at 8 o’clock.
  • PCGS MS67 #05107259: Heritage Auctions, January 3, 2007, Lot 1015 – $16,675. Gold toning along the periphery. Sounder on insert.
  • PCGS MS67 #6071175: Heritage Auctions, September 10, 2004, Lot 6770 – $14,375. Rattler. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 #5107259: “The Nicholas Collection,” Heritage Auctions, May 6, 2004, Lot 7670 – $13,800. Rattler. Light dusting of rust toning along rims.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1933
Denomination: Half Dollar (50 Cents USD)
Mintmark: S (San Francisco)
Mintage: 1,786,000
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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