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NumisMedia Monthly Article Archive

Our monthly articles detailing specific areas of numismatics for dealers, collectors, and investors of United States Rare Coins

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NumisMedia Monthly

June 2017

Walkers: Lovely Lady Liberties

       Walking Liberty Half Dollars are one of the most collected and inherently striking coins ever produced by the U. S. Mint. However, in the last year market demand for Walkers has drifted, especially for the more common dates. At the beginning of 2016, MS65 Walkers dated 1934 to 1947 D had a total Fair Market Value of $19,250; today the total is $18,068, down over $1,000. Further, many of the dates from 1941 to 1947 seem to be readily available in large quantities. The reason for the lower levels is fairly simple in that most current collectors have already acquired these common dates in MS65. Add to that the increase in the number of coins that have been certified in this grade and it definitely creates a lull in the market.

       The early Walkers, dated 1916 through 1933 S, have fared better, increasing over this same time period. In January 2016, the MS65 FMV totaled $535,250 and today it is up over $60,000, now at $597,360. It makes sense in that most of these dates, especially the ones with mint marks, have less than 100 total coins certified in MS65 and the numbers drop way down in the higher grades. Many collectors and dealers are looking for those coins that appear to be on the cusp of the next higher grade, which is another reason why CAC values have become so vital in the last several years.

       These early Walkers with the CAC sticker had a total listed value of $618,920 in January 2016 and now they are at a whopping $732,430; well over a $100,000 increase in less than a year and a half. NumisMedia began listing the CAC values in January 2013; the total CAC value for the 1916 through 1933 S was only $576,630. Back in 2013 the values were a first look perception of each date; virtually a best guess with the limited information that was available at the time. Today, the trades speak for themselves with hundreds of dealers buying and selling CAC coins in just about every series. With all the information we have gathered in the last four years, the NumisMedia CAC Online Price Guide has become an invaluable resource for dealers and collectors.

       The CAC population reports for Walkers in MS65 verify the rarity of these coins. Charted below is a list of better date Walkers in MS65 with the January 2016 CAC value, the current CAC value, and the current CAC population of each coin.

DateJanuary 2016CurrentPopulation
1917 D Obverse$9,300$9,25014
1917 D Reverse$21,400$22,5008
1917 S Obverse$26,600$32,5006
1917 S Reverse$15,400$21,50015
1918 D$32,400$34,2007
1918 S$23,200$24,7506
1919 D$153,000$200,0000
1919 S$27,900$27,90011
1920 D$22,200$22,1007
1920 S$18,500$28,50016
1921 D$46,500$47,50011
1921 S$125,000$125,0003
1923 S$23,200$24,50011

       From the fifteen dates listed above there are a total of 37 coins grading higher than MS65 with the CAC approval; of this total the 1923 S has seven of the higher grades and the 1919 has ten. The rest of the listed dates are extremely rare grading above MS65, most of them having just one or two coins CAC'd above MS65. When these rarities are offered in a major auction they typically bring strong premiums.

       Nearly every one of these charted dates has increased since the beginning of 2016. The exceptions are the 1917 D Obverse and the 1920 D, which are both down just slightly, and the 1919 S and the 1921 S, which are unchanged due to a lack of trading information. If any of these come on the market it is likely they would bring premiums to the current prices. The 1921 S for example has increased in MS64 CAC over 20%, up to $65,000, in the last year, an indication of the premiums that exist for any of these low-pop rarities. The advanced collectors for CAC Walkers are dedicated to acquiring the highest grades with the best eye appeal and in many cases money is no object.

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