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Putting Together a PCGS MS65 Short Set of Walking Liberty Halves

 
Putting together a short set of PCGS MS65 Walking Liberty Half Dollars should give you a set you can be proud of, but will cost you much more than a MS64 set   Each coin will cost over $100 with many costing several hundred and one coin going for over $1000.  The good news though is that each date has at least over 2000 PCGS MS65 examples and in fact most dates in this grade have more certified examples than lower or higher grades.  The main differences between MS64 and MS65 will be strike.  Coins in both grades can have exceptional eye appeal, but the MS65 will have better strikes and obviously very little scratches.

As with the other sets I have written about (MS63 Walking Liberty HalvesMS64 Walking Liberty Halves and MS66 Walking Liberty Halves, we will define the short set as 1941 through 1947, including all 3 mints.  Some will argue that a short set may include more dates, but that is the beauty of coin collecting.  You can define what you want to collect.  The set that runs from 1941 through 1947 is convenient from the perspective that is contains 20 coins and represents all the dates of Walking Liberty Halves from the decade of the 40’s.  (Technically, a decade starts with year 1, or 1941)

One thing you will notice right away from the chart below, is that compared to mintages of today, the mintages Walking Liberty Halves are quite low.  And they are, especially for the “D” and “S” coins.  But despite having low mintages, putting together a set in MS65 condition is quite feasible.  A complete set might cost you $6,300, but it may even be easier to obtain these coins in MS65 than a MS63 or MS64 set as there are far more certified coins in MS64 and MS65 than in MS63.  When I say easier, I do not mean financially, but in availability.

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.  Similarly to the MS63 set and MS64 set, but not quite, these would be 1941-S, 1942-D and S, 1943-D and S and 1944-S.  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 MS65 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 more expensive to put together than an MS64 set, it may not be any more time consuming than it would take to put together a MS64 set. Far more examples exist in the middle grades (MS64 and MS65).  Again, this set will just be a more expensive to put together.

Good luck on your challenge on completing this set

Date/Mint

Mintage

Notes

Est

Est

 

 

 

 

Pop

Cost

 

1941 P

24,207,412

In MS65, this coin is readily available and is the most common grade certified.  Look for bright coins with a good strike as survivors will vary in quality.  May have scratches but they should not be very noticeable for this grade so look for high-end MS65 coins.

Over 4500 examples have been certified.  More than any other grade for this date

$160

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1941 D

11,248,400

In MS65, 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 light scratches in this grade, so look for better examples of MS65 coins.

Over 3300 examples have been certified by PCGS, more than any other grade.

$180

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1941 S

8,098,000

While not the lowest mintage of the series, the MS65 grade for this date is the toughest and most expensive to get.  Most, if not all coins will be weakly struck, especially near the center of the obverse.  Far more examples exist in MS64 condition for this date.  A true full strike coin in this date may not exist. The weaker strikes have likely resulted in the higher population in MS64 as MS65 candidate coins simply did not make the grade.

Only 2000 or so examples have been certified by PCGS. 

$1,025

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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 MS65 condition.  You can be picky as there are plenty to go around.  Most examples are nice, so be sure to wait to get a good example as the price differential may be minimal.

Over 6,000 examples in MS65 have been certified

$160

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1942 D

10,973,800

In Mint State, including MS65, this is either around the 5th rarest of the short set (There are several “D” and “S coins that are around the same certified population, give or take a few hundred).  Still, it is readily available.  Many coins will exhibit weakness in the right hand, skirt lines on the left thigh and head.

Over 2,500 examples exist in MS65.  About 700 more than MS64.

$325

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1942 S

12,708,000

The 1942-S is very rare in high grades (MS66 and above), and in M65, is the 2ndrarest of the shortest and the price you may have to pay will reflect that.  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 2,100 examples to choose from

$610

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1943 P

53,190,000

The 1943 is the highest mintage of the short set.  While it has the highest mintage, it comes in 2ndplace for the number of MS65 certified examples, just like it did not MS64.  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 6,700 examples certified in MS65 slabs

$150

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1943 D

11,346,000

Unlike MS64 graded coin for this year, there should be plenty of MS65 coins for those who need them.  Pricing will be on the lower end of the scale.

Slightly under 2,900 examples of MS65 coins have been certified

$295

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1943 S

13,450,000

In this grade, this coin is about as available as the 1944-S.  Despite a higher mintage for the “S” coin compared to the “D” examples for 1943, “S” coins graded MS65 are less available.  Like the 1942-S, it is usually a weaker struck coin.

Over 2,300 examples have been certified as MS65 by PCGS

$460

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1944 P

28,206,000

As with other Philadelphia coins, this date has high mintage but is not as available as you would think when compared to lower mintage dates.  Still there should be plenty to go around.  Some coins will be lightly struck so you may want to closely examine examples to find a better struck coin. 

Over 3,900 examples have been certified by PCGS as MS65

$180

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1944 D

9,769,000

Here is another example where the MS65 population exceeds other grades for this date and mint.  And as such, the cost is reflective of its availability.  Despite less than 10 million coins minted, the certified MS65 population is in the middle of the pack.  Quality of strike will be similar to the 1943-D, but sharp strikes can be found if you have the time

Around 3,700 examples have been certified by PCGS as MS65

$210

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1944 S

8,904,000

While only a less than a million difference in mintage compared to the 1944-D, the 1944-S is a much tougher coin to get in MS65.  It will be the 2nd or 3rd lowest certified examples for MS65.  Far more examples exist in MS64 than MS65 and above MS65 are exceedingly scarce, like due to the typical weak strike.

Nearly 2,360 examples have been certified.

$575

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1945 P

31,502,000

Another plentiful “P” mint coin.  This coin should be easily obtainable in MS65.  Bold and full strikes are available so do not settle for the 1st MS65 you see

Nearly 5,300 examples have been certified in MS65 condition

$165

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1945 D

9,966,800

Despite a total mintage of only a 3rd of the 1945 P, certified MS65 population is similar making this coin obtain.  Unlike other “D” coins before it, most examples of this date and mint should be bold to full strikes.

Over 5,200 examples have been certified as MS65 by PCGS

$150

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1945 S

10,156,000

While total mintage is greater than its “D” counterpart, certified MS65 examples are much lower.  Almost 2000 examples fewer, but still plenty available.  Strike will be a little weaker.

Over 3,360 certified examples

$180

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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 3,200 examples have been certified by PCGS

$200

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1946 D

2,151,000

Despite its low mintage compared to other dates/mints, and the fact that it has the lowest mintage of the shortset, it has the highest total of MS65 certified coins.  This date has more examples certified than almost all others in the short set.  Odd.  Many coins will have a soft strike so hold out for better struck coins.

Over 8,500 MS65 certified examples

$150

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1946 S

3,724,000

Despite a lower mintage than many other “S” coins, and well lower than “P” coins, it is the 4th most certified coin in MS65 condition.  While not the worst struck coin in the series, most examples will exhibit poor strike.

Over 5,500 examples have been certified.

$175

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1947 P

4,094,000

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

Over 3,200 examples have been certified in MS65

$275

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1947 D

3,900,600

Despite its lower mintage compared to the 1947 P, there are more certified examples available in MS65 than the 1947 P.  Enough examples exist that finding a well struck MS65 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 4,200 examples have been certified in MS65 condition

$165

 

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Total

 

 

 

 

 

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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