US Coins

Pretty 1946-S Walker prompts surprising price

Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty half dollar of 1916 to 1947 has shown enduring popularity. The obverse was reused in 1986 for the American Eagle silver bullion program and a gold .999 fine version was minted in 2016 to celebrate the centennial of the design. 

Extraordinary eye-appeal for certain examples among these already attractive coins can lead to some surprising auction results.

Walking Liberty half dollars from the 1940s are often collected as a “short set” since they are all widely available in attractive Mint State grades. The 1946-S Walking Liberty half dollar has a high mintage of 3,724,000 and it is the most common San Francisco Mint coin in the series, with typical Mint State 66 examples — of which Professional Coin Grading Service has graded more than 2,000 — trading for around $120 at recent auctions.

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Legend Rare Coin Auctions offered a beautifully toned one at its July 26 Regency Auction XXVII, writing, “A pastel blue, gold, and rose band rings the obverse and frames a brilliant silver center.” It realized a massive $2,115. 

The next lot in the sale — a 1946-S half dollar graded PCGS MS-67 and assigned a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker — brought $1,586.25, less than the $1,998 it brought in 2016 and far less than the $4,700 it sold for in November 2012.

That the MS-67 coin sold for less than this coin graded a point lower, in the same auction, speaks to the quality and exceptional eye appeal of this particular MS-66 1946-S half dollar. 

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