1949-S Franklin Half Dollar
Get hold of a 1949-S Franklin Half Dollar, the second year in the Franklin series minted from 1948 to 1963 with founding father Benjamin Franklin's portrait on the coin's obverse side. The Franklin halves are among the more popular designs as they are 90% silver, and a find in an uncirculated condition brings you more than the bullion value of this coin. What's more, the Franklin series represents the end to an era of U.S. half dollars as it was the first to bear a design that was not the depiction of a metaphorical Liberty figure.
The U.S. Mint's Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock designed Franklin's portrait based on a bust by 18th-century sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon with the inscriptions "Liberty" and "In God We Trust" above and below Franklin. The reverse, a depiction of the Liberty Bell, was based on Sinnock's own design for the 1926 Sesquicentennial Commemorative half dollar, although credit was later given to artist John Frederick Lewis as they were based on his sketches.
The Franklin series ended abruptly with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A commemorative half dollar coin was put into circulation based on a new bill that overruled an existing law mandating circulating coin designs are used for 25 years before being replaced.
In addition to Franklin's likeness and the Liberty Bell, the other distinctive feature is the eagle's inclusion, which unlike other half dollars is relatively small. It was the law that all half dollars include a depiction of the eagle. The piece also has a reeded edge with the mint mark "S" below the inscription "United States of America," representing its San Francisco minting.
Although there are lower mintages, the 1949-S Franklin half dollar is still one of the lowest in the series at 3,744,000. Its value in circulated form is derived mostly from its silver, although its uncirculated worth still breaches the hundred-dollar mark.