The 1942 half dollar is one of the most unique coins minted in the country’s coinage history. Also called the Walking Liberty half dollar because of the device on the obverse, the coin can be worth a few tens of dollars if you find one in decent condition.
But if you are looking for the 1942 half dollar value in mint state or uncirculated condition, it may be difficult to find. That does not mean such coins do not exist, but most of them are already in the collection of people who are not ready to sell them just yet.
Nevertheless, you will learn how to determine the value of this coin, no matter the condition or grade. You will also know other factors that make it valuable, including errors and mint marks.
1942 Half Dollar Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|1942 No Mint Mark Half Dollar Value||$7.49||$9.27||$11.23||$31|
|1942 ‘D’ Half Dollar Value||$7.49||$9.27||$11.23||$33|
|1942 ‘S’ Half Dollar Value||$7.49||$9.27||$11.23||$36|
The 1942 half dollar is a pretty valuable coin to own. A circulated half dollar from that year can get you a little over $7, which is a decent amount compared to its face value. And from the chart, it is clear that the 1942-S half dollar has the most value, although there is no hard and fast rule about it.
In other words, the value can change or fluctuate based on the condition of the coin, its actual grade, its mintage, and the purpose of the collector. Some collectors may have a sentimental attachment to the coin and will make do with any of it, regardless of the grade, which may also translate to paying good money for it.
The price listed in the value chart can also change, depending on the price of silver on the open market. What this means is that the price can significantly increase or drop if the price of silver fluctuates. The silver fineness is 0.900, but it was 0.8924 for the silver half dollars before 1837.
The coin’s mintage was a little over 71.5 million, including Proof coins struck at the Philadelphia mint. Denver, San Francisco, and Philadelphia were the mints that struck the coins, which means that some of them have no mint marks. Philadelphia struck the most coins that year.
One of the most vital reasons behind the value of the half dollar for that year is the mintage. It is low enough to increase its rarity on the scale and make it high on the demand scale. This is especially true for Proof coins, which have the lowest mintage, and uncirculated coins, which are difficult to find.
The Walking Liberty half dollar replaced the Charles Barber-designed half dollars which had run their course from 1892 to 1915. Production for the new coin began in 1916 and continued until 1947 when the Franklin half was designed and replaced it.
The condition of a coin is crucial to determining its true worth, and no professional grader can put a price on an old coin without first checking its condition. If you must determine the value of your 1942 half dollar, it is important to know what to look for and how to check the condition correctly.
You will typically find a coin in good, fine, or extremely fine condition. It is not very common to find an old coin in a mint state or uncirculated condition, as we have in our value chart unless it is well-preserved. Most times, such coins are already collected by enthusiasts.
An uncirculated 1942 half dollar is usually without damage and the shine is intact. It is the best condition in which you can find any coin. And in this condition, even without further grading, it can be worth a lot of money, especially if there are rare errors or markers absent in other coins.
The next best on the list is the extremely fine condition. This type of coin is slightly degraded but so much as to remove the details or luster. You can still see most of the features and details in sharp relief, and some of such coins have a bit of shine. The coin can also fetch you good money if you can find a rare one.
For a worn-out coin, we say it is in good condition, especially if the details are hardly there and all the luster is gone. A fine coin is close to the former one except that it is slightly better. It will also have better value than a good coin.
1942 No Mint Mark Half Dollar Value
The Philadelphia mint struck 47,818,000 half dollars for 1942, which is the highest number for that year. That means there are more coins with no mint marks than there are coins with mint marks; Philadelphia mint coins have no mint marks. As a result, they are usually the least valuable, although this is not always the case.
Since the coin was minted during the war period, it is safe to assume there is a high value attached to it. This may be part of the reason it is in high demand, as the Walking Liberty half dollars had a long coinage, so there is nothing particularly unique about it except a sentimental attachment.
You can get a 1942 no-mint mark half dollar for about $30 if it looks decent. Some may be as valuable as $600, but in MS+ condition, the coin can go for about $18,000 to $26,000. Interestingly, a Philadelphia no-mint mark coin is the most expensive one ever sold at $78,000.
The mint also struck 21,200 Proof half dollars for 1942. Proof coins are not your regular ones because they are struck on special coin planchets with burnished dies and a mirror-field technique. This produces coins with spectacular shine, luster, and details much sharper than regular coins.
Because of this special look, Proof coins are typically more valuable than regular strike coins. A decent Proof coin can go for as high as $700, and a mint state one is usually expensive, sometimes as high as $25,000.
1942 D Half Dollar Value
The Denver mint struck 10,973,800 half dollars for 1942, a significantly lower number than the Philadelphia mint. You can recognize them by the D mint mark on the reverse, although it can be difficult to find due to the location. Let us explain the details of the obverse and reverse for a better understanding.
The coin’s obverse bears the image of a walking Lady Liberty. It appears as if she is striding toward the sun with an outstretched arm. The other hand is cradling olive branches and her clothes billow outward on the other side. You can see the sun with rays by her feet and there are stars around her stretched-out arm.
The legend LIBERTY appears around the top half of the coin near the rim. At the bottom of the coin is the mint date and to the right is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The image of Lady Liberty takes up most of the space on the obverse.
On the reverse is an American eagle perched on a rock and looks about to take off. It clutches a branch that prominently sticks out to the left of the coin, and the words E PLURIBUS UNUM appear just on top of the branch. Close to the rim and just under the branch is where you find the mint mark.
At the bottom of the coin and near the rim is the denomination HALF DOLLAR. And around the rim at the top of the reverse are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. It is a pretty intricate design that was a bit challenging to strike on the coin.
The mintage is considerably low, which is good for its overall value. In circulated conditions, the 1942-D coin is worth only a few dollars at best. But in better conditions, it can fetch hundreds of dollars. In mint state, a D half dollar is worth between $26,000 and $40,000. The most expensive D half dollar was an MS 68 grade coin sold at $72,000 a few years ago.
1942 S Half Dollar Value
The San Francisco mint struck a slightly higher number of half dollars in 1942 than the Denver mint. Striking 12,708,000 half dollars, the S coins are still limited in circulation, which makes them decently valuable.
As mentioned, many collectors prefer coins with mint marks to coins without one. So apart from the mintage, the coin’s mint mark is also a determining factor for the value placed on this type of coin. However, it does not significantly increase its value above the coins from other mints as they are almost the same price.
It is near impossible to find S coins with a grade higher than MS 67. If such coins exist, they may be in someone’s private collection. The best S half dollar ever graded is an MS 67 and it is valued between $20,000 and $30,000. The most expensive one sold at $60,000 a couple of years ago.
1942 Half Dollar Grading
You may already know how a coin’s condition affects its value on the open market. A grader or avid collector checks its condition before deciding how much it is worth, and a coin can be in good, fine, extremely fine, or uncirculated condition.
However, some coins look to be in almost the same condition to the naked or untrained eye. This is where coin grading becomes important. Using the Sheldon scale, two coins that look to be in the same condition can be professionally graded and placed at the correct levels. This grading, going from 1 to 70, can significantly change the coin value.
The correct way to grade the 1942 half dollar is explained in the video below:
Rare 1942 Half Dollar Errors List
The following are some rare errors found in a few 1942 half dollars that increase their value.
1942 Half Dollar Off-center Strike Error
The off-center strike error refers to when the die strikes off the center of the blank planchet. This error can be as little as 5% off the center or as much as 95% off the center. But the more off-center the strike is, the more valuable the coin becomes. Not many 1942 half dollars have this error, so the affected coins are rare and high priced.
1942 Half Dollar Doubled Die Error
Some 1942 half dollars have a doubled die error on the obverse and reverse. This refers to when the die strikes the coin more than once off the mark. In other words, the first strike is correct but the second or third strike is slightly off the mark, creating a doubling or tripling of the image.
You may notice this error on the words IN GOD WE TRUST on some coins, while others show the error on the date. You can also check the coin’s reverse for similar errors on the lettering or mint marks.
1942 Half Dollar Die Break Error
A die break error occurs when the die used in striking the planchet breaks during use. This affects the image on the coin, whether it is on the obverse or the reverse. Because it is a rare error, such a coin is expensive, sometimes costing as much as $36,000.
1942 Half Dollar FAQs
Is a 1942 Liberty half dollar silver?
The 1942 half dollar contains 12.5 grams of 90% fine silver. Its silver fineness is 0.900, which is significant if you want to know the melt value. It also contains 10% copper alloy but is meant to strengthen the coin, as silver alone is not particularly strong.
Where is the mint mark on a 1942 half dollar?
The mint mark on a 1942 half dollar is on the reverse. Look to the left of the coin where the rock on which the eagle perches meets the branch in its claw. There is a gap between the bottom of the branch and the rock, next to the rim. The mint mark is ensconced in that small gap.