Blogs

1921 Walking Liberty Half Dollar Key to the Series

Drawing upon the expertise and perspective gained over nearly a century as the United States’ premier rare coin auction firm, Stack’s Bowers Galleries launched its Coin Resource Center (CRC) on July 26, 2023. The CRC is an online database that features descriptions of United States coins, guides to U.S. Mint facilities, and precious metal and bullion coin melt value calculators. For more information, read our press release here.

The CRC launched with nearly 250 individual coin entries encompassing most major U.S. rarities and including the full Walking Liberty half dollar and Morgan dollar series. Blogs in this series will focus on one issue each week, beginning with the coin types and issues currently in the database and tracking new entries as the database develops.

This week, we’ll look at the 1921 Walking Liberty half dollar. Attentive CRC visitors might notice a green check mark at the upper-left hand corner of the 1921’s entry on the Walking Liberty half dollar series page. This indicates that the marked entry is a key date in the series, and this is indeed true for the 1921 Walking Liberty half dollar. The CRC discussion reads:

 “One of the lowest mintage issues in the popular and widely collected Walking Liberty half dollar series, the key date 1921 Walking Liberty half dollar was produced to the extent of just 246,000 pieces. One of the rarest issues of its type in Mint State, examples are elusive in the MS-60 to MS-64 range and seldom offered MS-65 or finer. Writing in the 2008 book Collecting & Investing Strategies for Walking Liberty Half Dollars, Jeff Ambio ranks this issue seventh in overall Mint State rarity for the type and 11th in rarity at or above the MS-65 grade level. There is an estimated surviving population of just 70 to 80 coins at the MS-65 level and fewer than 10 additional pieces in higher grades.”

Though the populations have changed a bit since 2008, a quick glance at information from PCGS and NGC shows that the issue is very scarce at the MS-65 level and above. This dearth of Gem Mint State examples guarantees strong prices when such coins do come to market. Examples in MS-65 and MS-66 regularly command five-figure prices. To learn about other notable Walking Liberty half dollars, readers are encouraged to check out the CRC entries for the 1921-D, the 1921-S, the 1916-S and the 1938-D.

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