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1942 Walking Liberty Half Dollar Proof : A Collector’s Guide

1942 Proof Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Image: Stack's Bowers/ CoinWeek.
1942 Proof Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Image: Stack’s Bowers/ CoinWeek.

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

The United States Mint produced 27,500 Proof Walking Liberty half dollars in 1942. Of that total, 76.8% passed the Medal Department’s inspection and were delivered to the Mint’s cashier. 120 were held back for Assay and destroyed. This left 21,000 Proof 1942 Walking Liberty half dollars available for sale. While a low number by today’s standards, the mintage of this 1942 Proof was a record up to that point. To strike the coins, the Mint employed 12 obverse dies, which were married with nine reverse dies. Production ran from January through to the end of the year.

The 1942 Walking Liberty half dollar Proof dies were made using the Walking Liberty half dollar’s fourth hub. This hub was introduced in 1938 to strengthen the incuse design details. The typical 1942 Proof is well struck and, if unimpaired, will be fully brilliant. With time, many examples have toned to various degrees.

A minuscule number of coins from this issue will exhibit Cameo frost on the devices. Research carried out by numismatist Roger Burdette indicates that there were five instances where coins were struck with fresh obverse and reverse dies and that a potential of up to 175 Cameo Proofs could have been struck in 1942 if all the necessary conditions were met.

With the United States entering World War II, the Mint would suspend production of Proof Sets until after the war. By the time Proof coinage resumed, the Walking Liberty half dollar design had been replaced by the Franklin type.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top Population: PCGS PR69 (1, 4/2024), NGC PF69 (8, 4/2024), and CAC PF68 (50:2 stickered:graded, 4/2024).

  • NGC PF68* #3814891-001: Stack’s Bowers, March 2017, Lot 4064; “The Larry Stendebach Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, March 26, 2024, Lot 4151 – $16,800. Nearly cameo. Black and white.
  • PCGS PR68+ CAC #05283555: Stack’s Bowers, August 16, 2023, Lot 5044 – $12,000.
  • PCGS PR68 #44274350: “The George Schwenk Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, August 16, 2023, Lot 4027 – $3,360. Scattered gold and russet toning.
  • NGC PF68 #6059032-010: Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 3595 – $2,160.
  • NGC PF68 #4879758-001: Stack’s Bowers, August 13, 2019, Lot 1357 – $1,440.
  • NGC PF68*: “The George Gardner Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, November 6, 2013, Lot 655 – $2,350. Dark gold toning around the lower periphery.
  • NGC PF68: “The George Gardner Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, November 6, 2013, Lot 656 – $2,173.75.
  • NGC PF68: “The George Gardner Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, November 6, 2013, Lot 656 – $2,232.50. Brilliant.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1942
Denomination: Half Dollar (USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 21,120
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: Proof


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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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