Between 1921 and 1927 only one Walking Liberty half dollar was issued-the 1923-S. There were also no halves minted from the Philadelphia or Denver Mints this year. The reason for this time gap is probably due to the Pittman Act of 1918. Under the authority of that act, 270 million silver dollars were melted and converted into bullion, and an equal amount of silver was purchased from American mines and coined into silver dollars. The act was a boon to the silver mining industry, but it also forced the Mint to focus primarily on the production of dollars. As a result, the mintage of half dollars ceased in most of those years. Almost all of those 1923-S coins went into circulation in the years before half dollar production resumed.
This year also saw a master die change that produced higher and deeper gown lines for Liberty, improving the general overall appearance of the coin. Despite this new change and slight improvement, strikes are still generally nominal at best. Striking problems normally show up in the hand and eagle’s breast areas. Many MS examples will continue to display incomplete gown lines and sharply struck thumbs are RARELY encountered.
Booming luster bathes this present well preserved and faintly toned ice-blue and caramel-gold Walker example. Full head, clean fields,bold skirtlines and well struck thumb and finger. This is one of the nicer 1923-S Walkers that I have ever seen. It is an upper-end gem quality coin that should have graded MS 65. The strike is very strong for this issue with solid definition on the hand, thumb and the skirt lines. The head detail is also quite sharp on the obverse, and the eagle's feathers are well defined on the reverse. The coin is mostly brilliant, with very light toning on the periphery and around the devices accentuating the relief of the design. Frosted mint luster with hints of satin provides the eye-appeal of this scarce, early Walker.
A well made 1923-S that is of interest to collectors of this long, interesting series. This is a splendid representative of this issue in an older NGC #7 holder. This is one of the 3 or 4 hardest Walkers in the series to locate in XF-MS. Finally, I've got a worthy '23 S for my set. The 23 S has really eluded me and PQ examples with good eye appeal are scarcer than many of the most expensive keys and are IMPOSSIBLE to find well struck-up.
The only other one that I've ever seen and liked this much was a PCGS OGH but I missed that opportunity and didn't think that I would get another chance...I was lucky and persistent. This coin is decidedly nicer than the PCGS coin because the OGH had baggies above the motto and this one is crystal clear. This example also has a full head that the PCGS OGH coin lacked. This is as good as it gets for me. This coin had been off the market for the past 14 years, when I purchased it in the Summer of 2010.
There are barely more than 200 extant MS survivors certified MS 64 by both major services. NGC has certified a mere 30 numerically superior representatives as of (12/08) with PCGS at 48. Mintage at 2,178,000