Walking Liberty Half Dollars
A 20th Century Investment Opportunity
A Guide to the Short & Long Set 1934-1947
One of My Favorite Series
I have been interested in the early silver coinage of the 20th Century for years because of the unique designs and the historical importance of an era when our national coinage was made out of silver. In particular I have studied high-grade Walking Liberty half dollars because I believe the series offers a number of important advantages:
First, while Walking Liberty Half Dollar are old, they are not so early as to make finding high grade examples impossible.
Second, enough time has passed for these dates and mint marks to have traded in volume so reliable pricing information is assured, making buy or sell decisions easy, even for beginners.
Third, the Walking Liberty Half Dollar front (obverse) and back (reverse) are so beautiful and symbolic to American history that they are recalled as classic even to long term professionals.
WALKING LIBERTY HALF DOLLAR HISTORY AND WHY GRADING IS KEY
The Walking Liberty Half Dollar series replaced the Barber Series in 1916 for two reasons. First, Barbers had been produced for 25 years and as such were no longer protected by statutory lease. Second, the public was putting pressure on the Treasury to produce coins that were an example of “beauty and art to all its citizens”. An outside contest was held and the Commission of Fine Arts chose Adolph Weinman design of the Walking Liberty half dollar.
This series of events is important because the Walking Liberty Half Dollar Series (1916-1947) was produced with other magnificent designs of the 20th Century to fulfill the needs of a changing American public. A public that was proud of its accomplishments both at home and abroad.
Mr. Weinman own comments are important: “The design of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar bears a full-length figure of Liberty, the folds of the stars and stripes flying in the breeze as a background, progressing in full stride toward the dawn of a new day, carrying branches of laurel and oaks, symbolic of civil and military glory. The hand of the figure is outstretched in bestowal of the spirit of Liberty. The reverse of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar shows an eagle perched high upon a mountain crag, his wings unfolded, fearless in spirit and conscious of his power. Springing from a rift in the rock is a sapling of Mountain Pine symbolic of America”.
The Walking Liberty half dollar was struck from 1916 through 1947. As such, investing falls into two broad areas: The Short Set, meaning all the dates and mint-marks struck between 1941 and 1947 (20 coins), and The Long Set, all the dates and mint-marks struck 1934 to 1947 (39 coins). Condition is determined by the finest of the independent grading services which is PCGS (The Professional Coin Grading Service) and to understand why this choice is important watch the PCGS Grading Process Video.
The key to success in Walking Liberty Half Dollar series lies with choosing the correct grade or condition which is measured on the Sheldon Scale from 1 to 70. After much consideration I am convinced the MS65 (Gem Uncirculated) example is the perfect choice because at this lofty grade rarity increases dramatically and yet prices still remain affordable.
REASONS THE WALKING LIBERTY HALF DOLLAR MAKES SENSE
1. The PCGS Population Report tells us that of the original Walking Liberty Half Dollar mintage numbers only 1/10 of 1% has been graded MS65 so even large dealers have limited inventory. This small availability could translate into higher prices at any time given the public begins to include this overlooked area in their holdings. And the reason only a small number have survived in gem condition will enhance your view of the series. Silver dollar production was halted in 1935, which means the half dollar was the workhorse silver coin of the era. It was used extensively in commerce and circulated heavily so for this reason only a small number of mint state examples are available today.
2. The design of the U.S. Silver Eagle was taken from the Walking Liberty half dollar because the Mint reasoned that this classic look would be a strong selling strategy but this is only the beginning. Major auctions always feature this coin because of its extensive collector base and so the series has become a reliable price barometer within the coin business.
3. And here is inside information which could prove profitable. My guess is that only about 10% of rare coin buyers are active traders meaning the other 90% work at accumulating a position and rarely consider selling. The corollary of course is simply that over time less of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar coins come on the market.
4. Inflation is not in the headlines today but with our government’s unprecedented spending we are convinced it is only a matter of time. Many believe high grade rare coins are an excellent inflation fighter because when inflation was a big problem in the 1970’s the price of quality coins went through the roof.
5. Another compelling factor is the possibility that because precious metals are now allowed in your IRA that certified rare coins will soon follow. Because Individual Retirement Account assets are simply long term savings these certified rare coins could stay off the market for decades, dramatically shrinking supply and pushing prices higher.
6. Now compare the Walking Liberty half dollar in PCGS MS-65 to other less respectable choices in the $100 to $300 price range and its integrity can be seen in Technicolor. The most important aspect of this investment is the inexpensive entry point given the quality distinction. Many MS-65 Walking Liberty Half Dollars are priced so low that any new investor can begin a powerful program so this silver series easily moves into one of my two favorite non-bullion choices.
THE ADVANTAGES OF “SET” INVESTING
1. Walkers can be accumulated one at a time with the idea of forming a set. The combined Short or Long Set Approach is a wonderful approach because an inherent plan is part of the saving process. Of course you could purchase the complete set at once but the fact that virtually anyone can begin a set adds an advantage to everyone who owns the set. This feature creates a larger buying pool and improves the chance of future price movement.
2. When you invest in individual Walking Liberty Half Dollars, with the intention of forming a set, you will get undiscovered better dates at little extra cost. This is true because professionals do not fully understand the rarity of all date and mint-mark combinations. Over time, with the help of the PCGS Population Report, these relationships and their true price differences will become apparent. Until then, you get something for nothing simply because you strive to complete a set. The 1944 P and the 1947 P are just two examples in that they do not cost much more than a common coin yet are many times more difficult to locate.
3. There is something inherently more complete and valuable about sets and practically there are only two available: In silver the Walking Liberty Half Dollar Set (Short and Long) and in gold the $2 ½ Indian Set (15 coins) and both present superb potential coupled with real opportunity within the golden era of US coin production.
A CLOSER LOOK AT PROFIT POTENTIAL
My graph will show that pricing for the Walking Liberty Half Dollar Short Set in MS65 (20 Coins) went crazy in 1986 when it sold for $17,500. I believe that previous price levels will be revisited as our dollar moves lower and inflation strikes. This reasoning defines my approach to value investing.
CREATING THE RARELY ENCOUNTERED LONG SET
Notice below that I include an earlier group of Walkers in my price, date and mint mark selection. Now that you understand why The Short Set is a solid move I want to share a more guarded area within this undervalued series. That group of earlier 19 coins (1934-1940) combined with my recommended 20 coin Short Set (1941-1947) is called the Long Set. And the combination of the two groups is a natural second step for investors who want to develop depth and a more nuanced understanding of why rare coin investing can be so powerful. The reason you don’t hear much about the Long Set is because nice PCGS MS65 examples are rarely seen and highly coveted, yet their prices are surprisingly low and even inexpensive relative to their true rarity. Consider these examples by contacting me about availability.
WHAT TO DO NOW
1. Call toll free (1-800-225-7531) with your questions and I will offer more private insight including a few potential pitfalls because even the best coin choices involve some risk. Also keep in mind that while the pricing list for both the Short and Long Set is complete it is only a reference. I rarely have all coins for two good reasons: First, while the technical grade of MS65 is guaranteed by PCGS I only choose examples which fall into the higher end of the grade range. Second, these carefully chosen coins must also be blast-white in color. This small insight does not cost you a dime more but may present greater future profits because informed buyers know superb “eye appeal” is like cash in the bank.
2. There is nothing which can replace holding these true sleepers in own your hands so here is my Risk-Free Offer: If you believe, as I do, that these 20th Century silver coins represent a great opportunity call and inquire about availability. There is no obligation and this will allow us to custom fit this investment to your specific needs regardless of your budget.
If you decide to place an order the coins will be hand selected, premium quality PCGS MS65 examples and we even pay for shipping and insurance. Your satisfaction is guaranteed and if you are not delighted simply return the coins within 7 days for a complete no-questions-asked refund.
Like I said at the beginning of this report, this is one of my favorite series and I would recommend either the Short or Long Set to anyone who is thinking about sensible rare coin diversification.
Thanks for reading.
Copyright © 2013 CNI, Inc.- The Walker Report
The 20 Coin Short Set – PCGS Certified MS-65 (Gem Uncirculated)
Date & Mint Mark
Approximate MS-65 Population*
| *Number graded by|
PCGS since 1986
The “Short Set” Contains 20 PCGS
The Long Set Contains These Additional 19 coins
Date & Mint Mark
Approximate MS-65 Population*
*Number graded by
The “Long Set” Contains These