[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, Bruce Fox. This information was originally published in 1993 in The Complete Guide to Walking Liberty Half Dollars]
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NOTES ON CHAPTER 5:
Ever since the publication of Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins with “Breen” identification numbers and the Cherrypicker’s Guide for Rare Die Varieties by Bill Fivas and J.T. Stanton, finding varieties in an obsolete coin series has become more popular as well as a vehicle for making that “rare find” not commonly experienced in today’s clad coinage world. The varieties listed are all those found by the author to be previously listed in other publications and those coins actually provided to the author that did not have a previous listing.
The rarity of die varieties is difficult to ascertain. There may be many more than have been reported or a later die state may give the appearance of a different variety. Some varieties listed in Breen’s encyclopedia as presently rare, have turned out to be less scarce than previously thought. Appendix C is a complete listing of the varieties identified in this chapter, including their source, and can be used for quick reference. Collectors who discover non-listed varieties, are invited to report them to the author for inclusion in possible future editions.
Values listed herein are based on Yeoman’s Guidebook of U.S. Coins (Red Book) for 1947, 1960 and 1970 and the Coin Dealer Newsletter (Greysheet) ask prices for 1980 and 1991. Greysheet “ask” prices are the prices dealers ask for their coins when they sell to other dealers. It is sometimes thought of as a low retail price for coins on sale. Some rare dates and/or condition rarities sell at levels much higher than Greysheet quotes.
Census figures are based on the November 1991 reports from PCGS and NGC and from June 1991 for ANACS. Even though these figures change daily, there have been enough coins graded now to establish trends. Future editions will upgrade this information. These “population reports” are available monthly (for PCGS and NGC and quarterly from ANACS) and can be used to update this book.
Rarity ratings and consensus rankings evolve from data accumulated and discussed in Chapter 4. These estimates are believed to reflect current knowledge. Rarity ratings may change over time as additional data enters the coin market.
Fully struck gems (FSG) are discussed in relation to a condition rarity. A coin that is fully struck may have a somewhat different meaning to each numismatist examining it. Fully struck gems are not only fully struck or nearly so, but make the MS65 or better technical grade and have outstanding eye appeal.
Bar graphs illustrate the combined number of coins certified by PCGS and NGC as of November 1991 and ANACS as of June 1991.
The estimated Investment potential for each date is outlined more completely in Appendix A.