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1940s proof walkers. Advice for a potential new buyer?

I'm in the market to buy a walking liberty proof. Ever since I started building a short set I've wanted one. I've never spent the amount of money I'm about to on a proof coin and was wondering if anyone could tell me what things I should watch out for in one of these 40s proofs. Hairlines and unattractive haze? I'm under the impression that the haze is due to the cellophane these were shipped in from the mint. So is it an indicator of originality and most that are blast white were dipped? I prefer coins with some color and I like when they appear original and unmessed with. My aim is a 1940s proof in 65 or 66. If you have one of these I would love to see it and hear your advice on buying one.

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    RarityRarity Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭

    I am not in the market for WL half proof but I came across some (40,41,42) CAM, exceptionally beautiful coins w/o haze or toning in auctions just last year. They can be had for reasonable premium.

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    MFeldMFeld Posts: 12,379 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Rarity said:
    I am not in the market for WL half proof but I came across some (40,41,42) CAM, exceptionally beautiful coins w/o haze or toning in auctions just last year. They can be had for reasonable premium.

    I don’t know what you mean by “reasonable premium”, but examples which have been designated as “Cameo” sell for multiples of the price of non-Cameos.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,080 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 20, 2022 2:33PM

    @MFeld said:

    @Rarity said:
    I am not in the market for WL half proof but I came across some (40,41,42) CAM, exceptionally beautiful coins w/o haze or toning in auctions just last year. They can be had for reasonable premium.

    I don’t know what you mean by “reasonable premium”, but examples which have been designated as “Cameo” sell for multiples of the price of non-Cameos.

    I would assume he meant coins with cameo contrast but without designation as some of those years have no designated examples. Moderate contrast coins aren’t common but as you know there are many more of them out there than many collectors probably think.

    Years with cameo designated coins:
    PCGS: 1938, 1939, and 1942
    NGC: 1938 and 1942

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you are going to get a cameo WLH, it will not be cheap. They are beautiful, but expensive. Cheers, RickO

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 3,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, cameos will cost you an arm and a leg based on my YN budget lol. The last CAM sold was a 1942 in 66CAM in 2016, its went for $13,513. I got this from coin facts. On a side note, the 1939 CAM on coinfacts doesn't look very CAM, almost no frost on the sun.

    Coin Photographer.

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    MarkInDavisMarkInDavis Posts: 1,702 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 20, 2022 5:30PM

    As others have said cameos are a big reach, but I find that there are lots of near cameos (nice mirrors, lots of contrast and frost but almost undoubtedly none on the sun) and they seem to sell quickly when they come up. This is what I look for in Walker proofs.

    image Respectfully, Mark
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    bagofnickelsbagofnickels Posts: 349 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks to everyone who replied. I feel like I got a lot out of asking this here. As for cameo WLH proofs as much as I would love to own one my budget does not permit it. I think I will likely look for a coin in the PR66 range potentially going a point above or below depending on the coin. I dont typically purchase coins in this price range and therefore am keen to not jump at the first attractive proof that crosses my path. Someone mentioned a book about US proofs from 36-42 by Roger Burdette so I'm going to likely buy a copy of that and read it.

    I didn't know that proof WLH sometimes do not possess full detail. I was, for whatever reason, assuming that most proofs are fully or well struck compared to a business strike WLH. This is another thing to look out for in addition to determining whether or not the level and tone of the haze is acceptable. The coins posted are beautiful and right up my alley and I appreciate posting them. Thanks again all who replied I'm feeling more confident going forward.

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    messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,764 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Don't buy into the "missing initials" varieties. This just means the die was polished too much and is missing a lot of detail. Make sure one you choose has sharp detail on the lowest relief parts of the design, like the deeper folds of the flag/gown and the feathers between the eagle's legs. Look at a bunch of CoinFacts and you'll see what I mean. The 1942 half that FlyingAl and the 1941 the BigTree posted are both coins I would recommend.

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    batumibatumi Posts: 805 ✭✭✭✭

    @winesteven said:
    As I often do, I’ll take the minority view.

    So what’s so nice about a Proof Walker that has haze caused “unnaturally” by the cellophane, as that haze is a distraction, versus a coin that was very gently and quickly dipped, and looks like the designer envisioned the coin to look? Is the Emperor wearing no clothes? Being honest, a Walker that is fully brilliant IS a more attractive coin than one with haze but no attractive toning.

    I have a set of 1936 - 1942 Proof Walkers, and CAC put their coveted sticker on every one, despite the dipping, as it was done gently enough. We all agree that overdipped coins are not attractive!

    Here’s my 1939 PR67+ w/CAC:

    Steve

    Super nice set, winesteven. I have seen a few other of your coins that you have posted and are also super nice.

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    messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,764 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here's my 41 proof:

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    DelawareDoonsDelawareDoons Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like my proof walkers sans haze. Yes, haze is original, but it's from a poor storage medium too. Go for 66's, thats where they really start to pop. CAC if you can. Ratchet up the difficulty by going for older holders if you want. A matching, pq set in fatties, for example, would be a sight to behold.

    Professional Numismatist. "It's like God, Family, Country, except Sticker, Plastic, Coin."

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    bagofnickelsbagofnickels Posts: 349 ✭✭✭✭

    @ChrisH821 said:
    Here is an example of an over-polished die from my set. This coin has excellent mirrors but lacking in low relief detail. Note the re-engraving of the flag outline and that the sun sort of melts into the field.
    FWIW this coin graded PR67

    Thanks for posting what I should keep an eye out for. I'm realizing I may spend longer and more money looking for the right coin than I thought. I knew that the 30s proof walkers had lower mintages but didn't know they had less die polishing and sharper struck details. I'm going to reevaluate which dates I'm choosing from. I really appreciate all the advice and the pictures especially. I think that PR66 CAC coins may be what I aim for.

    @DelawareDoons said:
    I like my proof walkers sans haze. Yes, haze is original, but it's from a poor storage medium too. Go for 66's, thats where they really start to pop. CAC if you can. Ratchet up the difficulty by going for older holders if you want. A matching, pq set in fatties, for example, would be a sight to behold.

    I always keep my eye out for old holders. Never a requirement ut always a bonus for me when choosing coins.

    Thank you again. This has been a buffet of information. A lot of which I didn't have before.

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 3,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

    All, I think that we can agree that the haze often present on these coins is fairly unattractive. But there are also those coins that have color resulting from the haze that is attractive.

    For example, let’s take @BillJones’s 1942 half. The coin has some haze that seems to have resulted from the cellophane but it does not detract from the eye appeal, but rather highlights the devices and surrounds the rims with a nice gold tone. This coin would be the “diamond in the rough” because the haze is attractive and the coin would likely be a coin that many of us would pass on without it.

    Now in the case of coins with unattractive haze or cameo contrast, which many dipped Walkers have, a quick dip is certainly a good option. It’s just deciding if the haze adds to the coin, or detracts. I’ll put an example of a 1938 quarter below. It has haze that detracts. Is a dip a good choice? Probably. But I would never dream of dipping my 1942 quarter, I’ve grown fond of the blue toning.

    Coin Photographer.

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    olympicsosolympicsos Posts: 720 ✭✭✭✭

    Cameo vs non cameo doesn't matter to me IMO. The contrast isn't as strong plus the way these coins were designed, a brilliant proof finish doesn't do these coins justice whereas a satin proof would.

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    ChrisH821ChrisH821 Posts: 6,392 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I wouldn't entirely dismiss PR65's from the running, there are some very nice ones out there.
    I was lucky to find this beauty semi-locally a couple years ago (not a 1940's but you get the idea)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpZiLEzNzxk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmz5IO8Vdg4

    Collector, occasional seller

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 3,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ChrisH821 That is a beauty! I think anyone would be pleased with that!

    Coin Photographer.

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    RarityRarity Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭

    @cameonut2011 said:

    @MFeld said:

    @Rarity said:
    I am not in the market for WL half proof but I came across some (40,41,42) CAM, exceptionally beautiful coins w/o haze or toning in auctions just last year. They can be had for reasonable premium.

    I don’t know what you mean by “reasonable premium”, but examples which have been designated as “Cameo” sell for multiples of the price of non-Cameos.

    I would assume he meant coins with cameo contrast but without designation as some of those years have no designated examples. Moderate contrast coins aren’t common but as you know there are many more of them out there than many collectors probably think.

    Years with cameo designated coins:
    PCGS: 1938, 1939, and 1942
    NGC: 1938 and 1942

    Thanks Cameonut for clarification. Yes I was bidding on a nice, clean cameo contrast WL half proof coin in PCGS holder and I believe the coin was sold for less than $2000. At that time, I had 3 in my watch list.

    Here are some nice looking 1941 and 1942 proof WL half sold by Legend recently.

    https://www.legendnumismatics.com/archive-inventory/?search=PR+Walking+Liberty+Half

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    RarityRarity Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭

    Sold for $1292 in 2021 PCGS PR67 CAC

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    RarityRarity Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭

    Sold for $1880 in 2021 PCGS PR67CAC

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    RarityRarity Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 25, 2022 6:43PM

    Sold for $5523 in 2021 in Legend Auctions PCGS PR66 CAC

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    RarityRarity Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭

    Someday in the future I might search for the 1940-1942 proof set in cellophane holder/envelope. The coins may not be attractive but its originality is fascinating.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,080 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:
    Yes, cameos will cost you an arm and a leg based on my YN budget lol. The last CAM sold was a 1942 in 66CAM in 2016, its went for $13,513. I got this from coin facts. On a side note, the 1939 CAM on coinfacts doesn't look very CAM, almost no frost on the sun.

    That’s a newer true view as there was nothing there until very recently. That is definitely a different coin after all.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,080 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @winesteven said:
    As I often do, I’ll take the minority view.

    So what’s so nice about a Proof Walker that has haze caused “unnaturally” by the cellophane, as that haze is a distraction, versus a coin that was very gently and quickly dipped, and looks like the designer envisioned the coin to look? Is the Emperor wearing no clothes? Being honest, a Walker that is fully brilliant IS a more attractive coin than one with haze but no attractive toning.

    I have a set of 1936 - 1942 Proof Walkers, and CAC put their coveted sticker on every one, despite the dipping, as it was done gently enough. We all agree that overdipped coins are not attractive!

    Here’s my 1939 PR67+ w/CAC:

    Steve

    That’s not the minority view at all. It is the prevailing market view.

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