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Micro-S Walker Variety? posted by Jackson

2 posts in this topic

  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

searching and then researching.....


First I want to thank everyone who sent me messages and also commented in the coin forum concerning my last journal entry. It really is my friends and fellow collectors at this site that have added so much more to my collecting via the registry in recent years.


So last I wrote I had purchased 100 circulated Walker halves. Well there were no major varieties as I studied them--in fact the Walker series actually has very few primary cherrypicks--the 1946 doubled reverse, the hand-carved designers' AW..and some common doubling on the 1942 and 1943. I did notice something as I was inspecting the coins that wasn't in Fivaz/Cherrypickers Guide or listed in NGC or PCGS variety lists. As I searched the coins, full of S minted coins, there were 6 coins dated 1942-S.


Upon further inspection I noticed that 5 of the coins had a standard sized S that also matched my 2 certified 42-S coins I have registered. The other coin however had a tiny little S that needed all the power of my 20x loupe to see clearly. I looked again and there is no mistaking--an obvious size difference with one of the mintmarks being a "micro" S.


Well as any avid collector would, I got very excited thinking I had made a discovery worthy of numismatic news! As visions of a Coin World headline danced in my head, ( "Maryland Collector Discovers Unique Walker Micro-S !!"). My inspecting of coins quickly turned into researching. The more I didn't find any mention, the more excited I became.


Oh well, in the end I found a reference- in fact, a complete bubble bursting explanation. Of all places to find it, after looking through specialty books and websites, in the end, the info was found in a Redbook !


It seems that after 1916 the branch mints made a deliberate effort to make mintmark size uniform--and the size was to be a small mintmark. However in 1941 the San Fran mint decided to increase the size of the mintmarks to a larger and more legible S. The pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters were changed--yet the Half Dollars were not changed until mid-1942. So there are both small and large mintmark varieties of 1942-S halves..simple explanation and no headlines for me.


This did get me thinking though. Who decides if the large and small S mintmarks should be collected sepewrately in a set? I mean, most albums and registries include a 1945-S and 1945-micro-S dime, right? ( I know that the 45 micro-S is an unusual case since the micros were an accident when the mint used a die punch to add a mintmark that was meant for war era Phillipine coinage). But my question remains valid.....


If I currently possess 8 total 1942-S coins and only 1 is a "micro/small" S variety--then isn't this a hard variety to obtain? I know that 8 coins is a small sampling, and far from scientific, yet what if there are only a few hundred thousand out there of this type?


I guess I'll never know--just like I'll never understand why certain series bold strikes get special designation like FBL, Full Head, Full Torch..and cost huge premiums, yet other series, Walkers for instance. Collectors hunt for full strike and pay premiums for well struck coins with "Full Seperate Thumbs"..yet this is not a special designation you'll ever see on a slab or grade criteria. It's just as well, all I need is for the cost of the coins I like to triple just because the strike is complete...


Here's a picture of 2 of the 1942-S coins. The difference in size is even more apparent to the naked eye because one S can be made out without a loupe and the other looks like barely a dot....



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I'm with you, I have no idea why some coins are worthy of a variety and others are not. Morgan Dollars have the VAM varieties that people pay big premiums for while most of the differences are very minor and can't be seen with the naked eye. I wonder if you sent the coin in for certification if NGC would give it it's own designation? Your point about the lack of varieties in walkers keeping the prices lower is a good one. With the Morgans, I avoid the VAMs even though I find all the die varieties interesting. At any rate your coin looks like a micro-s to me.


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