Franklin Half Dollars

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Franklin Half Dollar For Sale

The Franklin Half dollar is the predecessor to our current half dollar in the United States, the Kennedy Half Dollar. The Franklin Half Dollar was designed to commemorate and honor the memory of Ben Franklin, one of our founding fathers. The obverse depicts a right-facing portrait of Ben Franklin, which was designed by John Sinnock. The reverse shows the liberty bell, that was designed by Gilroy Roberts. This coin was minted from 1948-1963. Both proof and mint state versions were produced. The proof were made starting in 1950 and until 1963. Each Franklin Half Dollar was minted in 90% silver.

Franklin Half Dollar values vary from $10 to tens of thousands of dollars. Varieties such as full bell lines and cameo or deep cameo examples of Franklin Half Dollars are typically the ones that are worth the most. Only the highest quality franklin half dollars are worth big money.

Franklin Half Dollar Value

While most Franklin Half Dollars are accessible to collectors at reasonable prices, especially in circulated conditions, the most expensive ones are typically those in high-grade uncirculated condition, with full bell lines (FBL) on the Liberty Bell on the reverse, indicating strong, detailed strike quality. Here are some of the most expensive Franklin Half Dollars and their approximate values based on recent auctions and sales data:

  1. 1953-S Franklin Half Dollar, MS67+ FBL (Full Bell Lines): This coin, in a nearly perfect state with the coveted Full Bell Lines designation, can fetch upwards of $30,000 to $40,000, making it one of the most valuable Franklin Half Dollars due to its rarity in such a high grade.

  2. 1949-S Franklin Half Dollar, MS67 FBL: The 1949-S in MS67 condition with Full Bell Lines is extremely rare and sought after by collectors. Prices for this coin can range from $20,000 to $25,000, depending on the auction and the coin's overall eye appeal.

  3. 1952-S Franklin Half Dollar, MS67 FBL: Like other S-mint Franklin Half Dollars, the 1952-S in MS67 FBL condition is a rarity. It can command prices in the range of $15,000 to $20,000.

  4. 1951 Franklin Half Dollar, MS66+ FBL: The 1951 Philadelphia issue is particularly rare with Full Bell Lines in high grades. A coin in MS66+ FBL condition can be valued at around $10,000 to $15,000.

  5. 1950 Franklin Half Dollar, MS66+ FBL: The 1950 issue in MS66+ FBL condition is another key coin for collectors, with values typically ranging from $8,000 to $12,000.

  6. 1955 Franklin Half Dollar, MS66+ FBL: Despite being from a later year, the 1955 Franklin Half Dollar in MS66+ FBL condition is quite rare and can sell for around $5,000 to $7,000.

  7. 1956 Franklin Half Dollar, MS67 FBL: The 1956 issue, while more common in lower grades, becomes a rarity in MS67 FBL condition, with prices often reaching $4,000 to $6,000.

  8. 1948 Franklin Half Dollar, MS66+ FBL: The first year of issue, the 1948 Franklin Half Dollar in MS66+ FBL condition, is highly prized, with values around $3,000 to $5,000.

Historical Significance and Design

The Franklin Half Dollar was first made in 1948 and continued interrupted until 1963. The coin was made to commemorate Ben Franklin, one of our most beloved founders. Ben Franklin played a huge role making our great country what it is today. His devotion to America really was as patriotic as they come. He was admired by many people, including Nellie Tayloe Ross. Nellie was governor of Wyoming and was the first woman to hold such a government position. Furthermore, Ross wanted to see Franklin’s face on a coin, and so she made sure he was featured on a Half Dollar, the Franklin Half Dollar.

The Franklin Half Dollar was introduced to honor Benjamin Franklin, who was known for his pivotal role in the American Enlightenment and the Revolutionary War. The choice to depict Franklin on a coin was significant, as it marked one of the few times a non-presidential figure was chosen for this honor, underscoring his impact on American history and values. The obverse of the coin features Franklin’s side profile, while the reverse design prominently displays the Liberty Bell, cracked yet enduring, alongside a diminutive eagle – a nod to Franklin’s own skepticism about the eagle as a national symbol and his preference for the turkey.

In 1947, the chief engraver John Sinnock was assigned the duty of designing the coin, due to his untimely death he could not complete his design. Thereafter, a engraver named Gilroy Roberts completed the design. Then on April 19th, 1948 the Franklin Half Dollar was released! The Franklin Half Dollar design consists of a detailed side portrait of our founding father which ends at the shoulder, the word “Liberty” standing tall at the top of the coin, and the phrase “ In God we trust” surrounding Franklin at the bottom of the coin. On the reverse of the Franklin Half Dollar shows the shining Liberty Bell with enough detail to show the famous crack of the bell. Alongside the bell is a bald eagle. Around the bell lies multiple phrases including “United States Of America, E Pluribus Unum and Half Dollar”. The coin's series was minted from 1948 - 1963 and was produced at the Philadelphia, Denver and, San Francisco.

Franklin Half Dollar Collectibility

For collectors, the Franklin Half Dollar is a series of great interest due to its historical significance, aesthetic appeal, and the variety within the series, including different mint marks and variations in condition. While most Franklin Half Dollars carry a value above their face value, especially in higher grades, certain years and mint marks are particularly sought after. The series also includes proof issues, which are prized for their sharp details and mirror-like finish. Collectors often seek to complete the entire series, including coins from the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints.

Franklin Half Dollar Minting and Composition

Each Franklin Half Dollar had a .50c denomination and was composed of 90% silver. Collectors love the Franklin Half Dollar because of its low mintages in comparison to the Kennedy Half Dollar and its high silver content. Half Dollars the came after the Franklin Half Dollar rarely had silver in them. The only years that did were the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar which had 90% silver, the 1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars that had 40% silver, and thereafter most half dollars no longer had any silver. The series was minted at a time when silver coins were transitioning out of circulation, adding an element of nostalgia and tangible value to each piece.

Franklin Half Dollar Legacy

The Franklin Half Dollar series was ultimately replaced by the Kennedy Half Dollar in 1964, following President John F. Kennedy's assassination, which led to a public demand for a coin commemorating the fallen president. Despite its relatively short run, the Franklin Half Dollar remains a beloved series among collectors and historians alike, offering a window into mid-20th-century America and the enduring legacy of one of its most influential figures.

Where to Buy Franklin Half Dollars Online

You can find Franklin half dollars either online or on the phone at Bullion Shark. We carry Franklin Half Dollar Rolls in mint state and proof condition, PCGS certified and NGC certified Franklin Half Dollars, and individual ungraded ones.


How did Nellie Tayloe Ross influence the creation of the Franklin Half Dollar?

Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first female director of the United States Mint and former governor of Wyoming, played a pivotal role in the creation of the Franklin Half Dollar. Admiring Benjamin Franklin for his contributions to American history and values, Ross was instrumental in advocating for his likeness to be featured on a coin. Her position as Mint Director allowed her the unique opportunity to influence the coin's design and production. Under her guidance and insistence, the Franklin Half Dollar was brought to life, commemorating Franklin's legacy on American currency. Ross's admiration for Franklin and her leadership at the Mint were key factors in ensuring Franklin was honored in this way, marking one of the few instances a non-presidential figure was chosen for such an honor.

What led to the selection of the Liberty Bell and the small eagle on the reverse of the coin?

The selection of the Liberty Bell for the reverse of the Franklin Half Dollar was a nod to Benjamin Franklin's significant contributions to American independence and his residence in Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell is located. The Liberty Bell, with its famous crack, symbolizes freedom and the American spirit of independence, themes closely associated with Franklin's own life and legacy. The inclusion of a small eagle alongside the Liberty Bell was a legal requirement at the time for half dollar designs to feature an eagle. However, it's also an interesting compromise given Franklin's well-documented preference for the turkey over the eagle as a national symbol. The eagle's presence serves to fulfill the legal mandate while subtly acknowledging Franklin's unique perspectives on American symbols.

Where can collectors find Franklin Half Dollars today?

Collectors interested in acquiring Franklin Half Dollars today have several avenues to explore. Bullion Shark offers a variety of Franklin Half Dollars for sale, including mint state and proof condition coins, as well as pieces certified by PCGS and NGC. In addition to Bullion Shark, collectors can find these coins through online auctions, coin shows, numismatic dealers, and sometimes in estate sales. For those looking for specific grades or rare variations, professional numismatic associations and grading services' websites can also be valuable resources for finding reputable dealers and auctions. Collectors are encouraged to purchase from reputable sources to ensure authenticity and fair pricing.


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Franklin Half Dollar Coins FAQs

The Franklin half dollar was designed by John R. Sinnock, the Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint at the time.

The Franklin half dollar contains 90% silver and 10% copper. Given its total weight of 12.5 grams, the silver content in a Franklin half dollar is:

0.90 (90% of the coin's weight) × 12.5 grams = 11.25 grams of silver.

In troy ounces (with approximately 31.1035 grams in a troy ounce):

11.25 grams ÷ 31.1035 grams/ozt = 0.3617 ozt of silver.

So, a Franklin half dollar contains approximately 0.3617 troy ounces of silver.

The Franklin half dollar contains 90% silver and 10% copper.
The Franklin half dollar was minted from 1948 to 1963.
The Franklin half dollar coins lowest mintage appears to be 1955, with a mintage of 2,876,381 from the Philadelphia Mint. This makes the 1955 Franklin half dollar the key date with the lowest mintage in the series.
After the Franklin half dollar, the Kennedy half dollar was minted. It was issued in honor of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. The Kennedy half dollar began production in 1964 and is still being minted today.

The Franklin Half Dollar is a 50-cent coin issued by the United States Mint from 1948 to 1963. It features Benjamin Franklin on the obverse and the Liberty Bell on the reverse. The coin was designed to honor Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and was part of the U.S. Mint's initiative to commemorate historical figures on its currency.

Full Bell Lines (FBL) refer to a designation for Franklin Half Dollars that exhibit full, clear horizontal lines on the bottom of the Liberty Bell on the reverse of the coin. Coins with FBL are considered to be of higher quality and are more sought after by collectors due to the sharpness of their strike.

While the Franklin Half Dollar series does not have key dates in the same way as other coin series might, certain years and mint marks are more valued by collectors, especially those in high grades with Full Bell Lines. The 1949-S, 1952-S, and 1955 issues are among those that collectors often seek out.

While most Franklin Half Dollars are relatively common, certain condition rarities, especially those with Full Bell Lines or in high-grade proof condition, can be considered rare and command higher prices.