A while back, I wrote about collecting a short set, or collecting certain coins in a set instead of a complete collection.
Last year I finished a Jefferson Nickel short set which included 12 silver nickels that were minted during World War II. Eleven of them were uncirculated nickels in 2 from 1942 from Philadelphia and San Francisco, and 3 each from 1943 to 1945 (from Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco). The other nickel is the only silver proof nickel minted in the United States, the 1942-P.
Why did I decide to build this short set?
- Easy to build in circulation. A little more of a challenge in higher grades, especially the 1944-P, 1945-P and the 1942-P Proof.
- These are the only silver nickels minted in the US since the mint started producing nickels in 1866.
- The first time the “P” mint mark for Philadelphia was seen on a US coin.
Of course, a full Jefferson Nickel set is easy enough to do, but I wanted to do a set in higher grade to make it more worthwhile. Now, I would like to put together another short set.
Walking Liberty Half Dollar Short Set
Walking Liberty Half Dollars have always been a popular set, and to many, the most beautiful US coin minted into circulation. So beautiful, that the obverse is used today on the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins. These half dollars were minted between 1916 and 1947.
A complete Walking Liberty set would be ideal, but not easy, especially in higher grades. It would be tough to get all half dollars between 1916 and 1921. The ones minted in 1921 would be the toughest. In 1921, Philadelphia minted only 246,000 half dollars, Denver only 208,000, and San Francisco only 548,000.
Now, if you would like to collect Walking Liberty Half Dollars with their beautiful, original mint luster, you can do a short set. A lot of collectors go for the last 20 in the set as they are easy to collect, even in higher grades. The last 20 half dollars would include ones between 1941 and 1947. Each year has coins from each mint (Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco) except 1947 when San Francisco didn’t mint any half dollars. Even though some of the half dollars have mintages below 10,000,000, including 1941-S, 1944-D, 1944-S, 1945-D, 1946-D, 1946-S, 1947 and 1947-D, the price to obtain them is pretty low, especially with silver currently worth under $17 an ounce. That makes this the perfect time to work on this short set.
Here’s an idea of how much the coins in this short set would be worth in certain uncirculated or mint states as of this posting:
|1941||$ 33.00||$ 50.00||$ 65.00||$ 120.00|
|1941-D||$ 40.00||$ 70.00||$ 85.00||$ 135.00|
|1941-S||$ 70.00||$ 120.00||$ 200.00||$ 650.00|
|1942||$ 33.00||$ 45.00||$ 60.00||$ 105.00|
|1942-D||$ 37.00||$ 75.00||$ 105.00||$ 215.00|
|1942-S||$ 37.00||$ 70.00||$ 100.00||$ 300.00|
|1943||$ 33.00||$ 45.00||$ 60.00||$ 105.00|
|1943-D||$ 40.00||$ 75.00||$ 105.00||$ 200.00|
|1943-S||$ 37.00||$ 70.00||$ 100.00||$ 275.00|
|1944||$ 33.00||$ 50.00||$ 60.00||$ 105.00|
|1944-D||$ 38.00||$ 65.00||$ 80.00||$ 110.00|
|1944-S||$ 36.00||$ 65.00||$ 85.00||$ 280.00|
|1945||$ 33.00||$ 45.00||$ 60.00||$ 105.00|
|1945-D||$ 34.00||$ 55.00||$ 75.00||$ 110.00|
|1945-S||$ 36.00||$ 60.00||$ 80.00||$ 135.00|
|1946||$ 34.00||$ 60.00||$ 75.00||$ 110.00|
|1946-D||$ 38.00||$ 50.00||$ 60.00||$ 100.00|
|1946-S||$ 35.00||$ 55.00||$ 70.00||$ 110.00|
|1947||$ 37.00||$ 55.00||$ 70.00||$ 115.00|
|1947-D||$ 43.00||$ 60.00||$ 70.00||$ 110.00|
|Total||$ 757.00||$ 1,240.00||$ 1,665.00||$ 3,495.00|
As you can see, an MS-60 graded set, which is the lowest uncirculated grade, would be easy to complete at around $750. If you can do a little more, you could do an MS-63 or MS-64 set which seems pretty reasonable. The 1941-S would be the most you would have to pay at $120 and $200 respectively. For a real challenge, you could do an MS-65 set which would cost twice as much as the MS-64 set. I’m thinking of doing an MS-64 set which I believe is reasonable to do today.
If you wanted to add more to your set, you could add the 6 Walking Liberty Half Dollars between 1939 and 1940. You would probably stop there because the 1938-D is a key date in the series. At 491,600, the 1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar was the last US circulating coin with a mintage under 1,000,000 and at MS-60 has a price tag over $400.
There’s nothing saying you could go beyond the Walking Liberty and add Franklin Half Dollars. There are 35 coins between 1948 and 1963 and are all 90% silver like the Walking Liberty. You can add ones with Full Bell Lines (FBL) on the reverse Liberty Bell, but some of them will be very pricey. You could also add Proof Franklin Half Dollars, especially between 1955 and 1963. There are a number of things you can do, but as always the choice is yours.
Collecting The Short Set
So, I am considering collecting the last 20 Walking Liberty Half Dollars, as a start. I think I will try to do the MS-64 set, if I can do it within the next year or so in case the price of silver rises in the near future. Do you think you would consider going for the Walking Liberty Short Set? It’s fun to collect and may even be considered a future investment.