Coin Specifications

Category: Walking Liberty Half Dollars (1916-1947)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 8,098,000
Catalog: KM-142
Obverse Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
Reverse Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.72 (8/25/2016)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1941 S 50C MS obverse 1941 S 50C MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

The 1940s marked the fourth decade during which Liberty would stride powerfully across the obverse of our half dollar. First placed in circulation in 1916, Adolf Alexander Weinman's bold design was suitably timed to meet the external threats that faced the United States. Although still technically neutral, the United States was preoccupied with World War I and our seeming inability to steer clear of the fighting. Anticipating our involvement by only a year, Liberty walks east toward wartorn Europe and carries a bundle of oak and laurel branches that symbolize American military prowess and serve as a warning to the Central Powers. With her arm outstretched, she is ready to shield our men from German warplanes when the time comes for them to take their place in the trenches of the western front. The reverse eagle, equally ready for a brawl, has finally rid himself of the cumbersome shield that has burdened his breast without respite since 1801. Having served the United States well during the First World War, by 1941 this bold motif was equally well prepared to take us through the second. With the same steadfastness as in 1916, Liberty appears ready to trample the rising sun, the symbol of the Japanese military machine. The sapling of mountain pine on the reverse aptly represents America's hardiness--a hardiness that would take us through the bitter defeats of late 1941 and early 1942 to the glorious victories of 1943-1945. The price of ultimate victory, like the price of aesthetic beauty represented by the Walking Liberty half dollar, would be a heavy one. Alongside the thousands of Americans who endured the hardships of war, countless Walking Liberty half dollars from the 1940s suffered the ravages of poor strikes that resulted from their unusually heavy level of wartime production. Perhaps indicative of its proximity to the disaster of Pearl Harbor, the San Francisco Mint had the most difficulty striking this denomination from 1941 through 1945. While the five issues encompassed in this time frame all exhibit their fair share of poor strikes, the lower mintage 1941-S has always stood out as the key issue of the Second World War. Although surprisingly plentiful through the gem grade tiers, the poor impression that most Mint State survivors of this issue exhibit disqualifies them from an MS 67 designation.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 2/3/2016

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1941 S 50C MS
Base $ 12.50 14.50 14.75 15.75 16.75 30.00 36.00 43.00 60.00 75.00 85.00 105 130 235 750 1550 40000 - - -
$ 17.50 - 39.00 47.00 65.00 - 90.00 115 150 300 1300 3100 - -

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Total Graded: 5783
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
12/6/2005 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions Exclusively Internet Auction #25122, 25122/Lot# 13535 $149.50
5/24/2010 NGC MS 65   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 482, 488/Lot# 272 $661.25
5/29/2011 PCGS MS 66   Goldberg May 29 - June 1, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Auction of US, World Coins and Currency, 63/Lot# 855 $1,840.00
5/27/2012 NGC MS 66   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 19995/Lot# 1063 $1,404.00
8/29/2012 NGC MS 62   Teletrade Auction 3338, 3338/Lot# 1458 $50.00
9/22/2013 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131340/Lot# 22762 $86.00
12/22/2013 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131353/Lot# 28113 $164.50
8/31/2014 PCGS MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/31/2014, 189/Lot# 211076 $550.00
4/17/2015 PCGS MS 63   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3530, 6099/Lot# 24172 $164.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1941 S 50C MS
1941 S 50C MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 66
Points: 2433
Owner: Jackson
Grade: MS 65
Points: 1903
Owner: Gary Sullivan
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