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Putting Together a PCGS MS63 Short Set of Walking Liberty Halves

 
Putting together a short set of circulated Walking Liberty Halves can be done simply by buying a roll of 20 different Walking Liberty Halves.  These are offered quite frequently.  Putting together a set in uncirculated condition however, is a different challenge altogether.

For the purposes of this article, we will call the short set from 1941 through 1947, which consists of 20 coins.  It includes a PDS for each year except 1947, when only P and D were minted.  Some will debate this timeframe as a standard Whitman folder runs from 1937 through 1947.  But for this set, we will settle on the decade of the 40’s (Technically, the decade begins with 1941).  Putting this set together, in any grade will likely give you a set to be proud of.

One thing you will notice right away from the chart below, is that compared to mintages of today, the mintages of Walking Liberty Halves are quite low.  And they are, especially for the “D” and “S” coins.  But despite being low, putting together a set in MS63 condition is quite feasible and not as expensive as you might think.  A complete set might cost you $1300 to $1400, plus the time to assemble them. 

When looking to complete this set, you might be tempted to buy the coins you find first, which might typically be “P” coins.  I would instead encourage you to start looking for the tougher coins first.  These would be 1941-D, 1942-D, 1943-D and 1944-D.  As you do this, you are likely to come across better examples of the more common dates and you can then afford to be pickier.

Below is a chart for each coin in this series in MS63 and my opinion as to the difficulty in obtaining each one, the estimated certified PCGS population and what you might expect to pay for each coin.  Oddly enough, while this set will be cheaper to put together than others in MS64 or MS65, it will be tougher to find these coins at this grade.  Far more examples exist in the MS64 and MS65 grades.  Again, this set will just be a little less expensive to put together.  Please keep in mind, the estimated cost of each coin is just that, an estimate.  Depending on market conditions, you might have to pay well more for a given coin just as you might be able to buy some of these for less than my estimates

Good luck on your challenge on completing this set.

Date/Mint

Mintage

Notes

Estimated

Estimated

 

 

 

PCGS Pop

Cost

1941 P

24,207,412

In MS63, this coin is readily available.  Look for bright coins with a good strike as survivors will vary in quality.  May have scratches that are quite noticeable for this grade

There are over 1370 certified examples in this grade and likely a few thousand more that are not yet encapsulated as OBW rolls are still around

$50-$65

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1941 D

11,248,400

In MS63, this coin is readily available.  Look for bright, well struck coins as most coins from Denver in this year are not well struck .  May have scratches that are quite noticeable for this grade.

Over 700 examples exist in this grade certified by PCGS with many more raw coins available

$65

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1941 S

8,098,000

Despite a lower mintage than the other 1941 coins, in MS63, it is readily available.  It will cost more though than the other 1941 coins.  Most, if not all coins will be weakly struck, especially near the center of the obverse.

With nearly 1500 certified examples, it is more available than its “P” mate

$125

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1942 P

47,839,120

This coin has the 2ndhighest mintage in the short set, and as such is readily available in MS63 condition

Over 2300 certified examples in this grade exist

$55

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1942 D

10,973,800

In Mint State, this is the rarest of the short set.  Still, it is readily available.  Many coins will exhibit weakness in the right hand, skirt lines on the left thigh and head

2nd lowest number of MS63 certified examples with slightly more than 570

$85

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1942 S

12,708,000

The 1942-S is very rare in high grades (MS66 and above), but in MS63, it should not be difficult to obtain.  Coins in this grade will typically exhibit a weak strike.  Most, if not all examples will be flatly struck in the center of the obverse.  Liberty’s Head and eagle’s breast will be softly struck

Over 1100 certified examples exist

$75

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1943 P

53,190,000

The 1943 is the highest mintage of the short set.  And as such, also has the highest number of coins graded in Mint State.  When looking at coins in this grade, there are many to choose from, so you can be picky and find a well struck coin.

Over 2400 MS63 certified examples.  The most common of MS63 examples

$55

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1943 D

11,346,000

Unlike other coins of similar mintage, the 1943-D has a smaller amount of coins certified in this grade.  Decent strike coins can be found but like others, some examples can be dull.  This coin will cost you more than other dates and mints, and may be the toughest to find in MS63

In MS63, this coin has the lowest population of just under 530 examples.  This number is likely even smaller as some of these have certainly been resubmitted

$80

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1943 S

13,450,000

In this grade, this coin is a little more available than the 1942-S.  But, like the 1942-S, it is usually a weaker struck coin.

Over 1200 examples have been certified as MS63

$75

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1944 P

28,206,000

As with other Philadelphia coins, this date has high mintage and is readily available.  Some coins will be lightly struck so you may want to closely examine examples to find a better struck coin. 

Nearly 1700 examples have been certified as MS63

$55

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1944 D

9,769,000

Like the 1943-D, there is a small population of MS63 graded coins.  With patience, you should be able to find one.  Quality of strike will be similar to the 1943-D, but sharp strikes can be found if you have the time

Over 730 examples have been certified as MS63

$70

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1944 S

8,904,000

Despite a lower mintage than the 1944-D, there are more certified examples in the MS63 group. 

Over 1700 coins have been certified as MS63 for this date

$65

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1945 P

31,502,000

Another plentiful “P” mint coin.  This coin should be easily obtainable in MS63.  Bold and full strikes are available so do not settle for the 1stMS63 you see

Over 2300 certified examples making it the 2nd highest certified example

$55

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1945 D

9,966,800

Mintage similar to 1944-D but higher and lower than other “D” coins in this short set.  Still, should be easy to obtain.  Unlike other “D” coins before it, most examples of this date and mint should be bold to full strikes.

Over 850 Certified MS63 examples

$55

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1945 S

10,156,000

Slightly more available in M63 than it’s “D” counterpart.  But strike will be a little weaker

Nearly 1470 coins with this date have been certified as MS63

$55

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1946 P

12,118,000

The 1946 P is the second lowest mintage of the “P” coins in the short set.  But that does not make it rare as its mintage is still higher than many of the “D” and “S” coins.  As such, examples should be readily available.  Coins will typically be boldly or fully struck.

Over 1330 certified examples in MS63

$55

Shop Now

1946 D

2,151,000

Despite it’s low mintage compared to other dates/mints, this coin actually has more certified examples available than the 1943 P.  Odd.  Even with higher certified examples than the “P”, expect to pay more for this example.  Many coins will have a soft strike so hold out for better struck coins 

1170 examples have been certified as MS63 for this date/Mint Mark

$55

Shop Now

1946 S

3,724,000

Despite a lower mintage than many other “S” coins, it is more available in certified MS63 grade.  While not the worst struck coin in the series, most examples will exhibit poor strike.

Over 970 MS63 certified examples

$55

Shop Now

1947 P

4,094,000

The lowest mintage of all Philadelphia coins in the set.  The price will somewhat reflect that, but many certified coins exist.  Unlike other “P” coins, this one is typically not as well struck as other “P” coins.

Nearly 1250 certified examples available

$65

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1947 D

3,900,600

Despite its lower mintage, enough examples exist that finding a MS63 should not be a problem.  Strike is better than the 1947 “P” counterpart and examples exist of well struck coins.  Expect to pay a little more for this coin than for others of similar mintage.

Over 1110 examples have been certified as MS63

$60

Shop Now

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

 

Values are estimate retail prices and will vary according to market conditions

 

 



Keith Scott has been a collector for over 30 years. His website has US coins for sale. He also writes Coin Collecting Articles for fun. Visit his websites for a history of US coins, metal market updates and news about your favorite coins.

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Updated 9/09/13