1921-S 50C MS (PCGS# 6585)

2010 October Stamford Coinfest Signature US Coin Auction #1145

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1921-S 50C MS64 PCGS. The 1921-S Walking Liberty half dollar boasts a low mintage of just 548,000 pieces. In addition, few examples were saved for numismatic purposes at the time of issue. As a result, the 1921-S is the rarest Walking Liberty half dollar in Mint State grades. Experts estimate a surviving population of 150-210 specimens in all Uncirculated grades, with 75-100 examples extant in Choice Mint State condition. The population data from the leading grading services coincides well with these estimates. Currently, PCGS has certified 45 coins in MS64, with only 17 pieces finer, while NGC has graded 49 Choice specimens, with 19 examples in higher numeric grades (9/10). The 1921-S is known for its soft strike and subdued luster, even on coins that technically grade MS65. Since Gem specimens are very rare and expensive, many series enthusiasts consider examples in Choice Mint State condition the best combination of quality and value. To quote Jeff Ambio: {blockquote}"A Choice Mint State example with suitable luster quality and at least some separation between the thumb and index finger will not look that different from an MS-65 as long as there are no sizeable and/or individually distracting abrasions."{/blockquote} The present coin meets these criteria admirably. The strike is actually quite sharp for an early Walker, and Liberty's thumb is plainly separated from the rest of her hand. There is also more detail on the head than is seen on the typical example, and the reverse strike is sharper than the obverse. The mint luster is full and satiny, under light gold and lavender patina. It would be quite difficult to improve upon the eye appeal of this Choice example.
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