David Hall: Even though it has nearly the identical mintage as the 1936-D, the 1936-S Rhode Island is the rarest of the three Rhode Islands by a significant margin. None of the three are rare in an absolute sense, but the 1936-S has the fewest number of coins graded by PCGS and is obviously tougher to find in Gem condition than the 1936 or 1936-D.
The typical 1936-S has frosty luster, with some specimens having semi-prooflike surfaces. The shallow relief of the Rhode Island design makes for more marks than other commemorative designs of the era. Toning can be evident in ranges from fairly attractive to somewhat dark and crusty. Like all commems, eye appeal is an important issue for Rhode Islands.