The Franklin half dollar was minted from 1948 to 1963. The relatively short duration of this coin was not by plan. Most new series had a minimum run of 25 years. The unexpected and tragic death of John F. Kennedy in 1963 resulted in the approval of the minting of a new half dollar. The Franklin half was designed by John R. Sinnock. The Liberty Bell depiction is magnificent. There was some initial criticism of the somewhat “scrawny” eagle on the reverse side of the coin, however, the overall design is very pleasing. Here are tips for collecting Franklin half dollars.
1. Franklin Half Dollar
This is a relatively easy set to complete. Despite a huge “meltoff” of silver coins in the mid 1960s and early 1980s, most Franklin half dollar dates are still readily available in circulated condition for a small premium over the cost of bullion silver. Dealers and coin shows are a good source for many of the dates/mints required. A novice collector should try to assemble one representative coin for each year before moving on to the complete set.
1948 P; 1948 D; 1949 P, D, & S; 1950 Proof; 1951 Proof; 1952 Proof; 1953 Proof; 1954 Proof; 1955 Proof
(Note: All Proof issues are from the Philadelphia Mint)
The most valuable coin in this series is the 1961 Double Die Proof which lists for more than $2,000 in the “Red Book.” There is also a reference to a “split dye” 1955 P error coin sometimes called the “Bugs Bunny” variety. It is also an “error” coin and not required for the album.
MODERATELY DIFFICULT DATES TO OBTAIN
1950 P; 1951 D; 1953 P; 1953 S; 1954 S; 1955 P; 1956 P
All other dates are common and were produced in large quantities. More than 140 MILLION Franklin halves were minted during the last two years of the series: 1962 and 1963. Brilliant, uncirculated examples of these specimens are plentiful. Recent increases in the prices of silver may force more of these coins to the melting pot!
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