U.S. & World Coin News and Articles

Tips from the PCGS Grading Room

In our last eCollector, we discussed telling the difference between a weak strike and wear on a coin. Even though in terms of visible detail, worn and weakly struck coins bear some resemblance, the color of the flat areas and the amount of luster covering the surface will help distinguish a worn coin from a weakly struck coin.

Because of its hardness, coins made with nickel are often the victims of a poor strike. However silver coins also sometimes display poor striking qualities due to worn dies, inadequate striking pressure, improper die spacing or irregularities in the planchets. We'll illustrate some striking issues in Walking Liberty Halves, a popular issue with many collectors.

Note the photograph below. The coin on the left is a reasonably well struck coin, showing good detail in the upper skirt lines, and the hand across the center. The coin on the right (often seen on "S" mint coins of the early 1940s, is weakly struck. Note the lack of detail, particularly in the center portion of the coin.

Should you encounter a 1941-S Walker, for example, with a good strike such as seen on the left, it will bring a large premium provided the luster and surface marks are good as well.

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