US Coins

Market Analysis: A Walking Liberty time capsule collection

Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ June 10 and 11 floor sessions of its Costa Mesa auction included a special collection that had been off the market for several generations.

Silas Stanley Roberts was born in 1888 and built what the auctioneer called an “expansive ‘old time’ collection.” The tribute notes, “Although the sources for most of Silas’ coins are unknown today, family memory holds that some coins were inherited from his mother, Mary, a painter who lived to age 97.” The collector passed away in 1966, with his grandson inheriting the collection, and now the great-grandchildren consigning it to auction.

Among the strengths were the Walking Liberty half dollars, led by a 1917-S Walking Liberty, Obverse Mint Mark half dollar graded Mint State 66 by Professional Coin Grading Service that realized $40,800. It has low mintage of 952,000, and top Uncirculated representatives are rare, with PCGS grading only a single MS-67 that is the finest-graded at that service.

The cataloger observes, “Wisps of iridescent reddish-apricot peripheral toning are a bit bolder on the obverse of this gorgeous upper end Gem,” adding, “The balance of the surfaces are brilliant, and both sides are highly lustrous with a smooth, softly frosted finish.”

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