Learn Your Types: Franklin Half Dollar
The Franklin Half Dollar was designed by John R. Sinnock, who also designed the Roosevelt Dime, which was released two years before the Franklin Half Dollar, in 1946. The Franklin Half Dollar was minted from 1948 to 1963 and was the successor to the popular Walking Liberty Half Dollar, whose obverse design is also on the modern American Silver Eagle coins. In my opinion, the Franklin Half Dollar, along with the other coins released during this time, started the age when American coins began to seem much more boring and uninteresting. The reverse of the coin contains the Liberty Bell, which is the part of the coin that causes the designation, FBL, which means “Full Bell Lines.” On the Liberty Bell, near both the top and bottom, are lines. If the lines are uninterrupted or mushed together, that means the coin is very well struck and may receive the Full Bell Lines designation by the leading grading services.
Every coin is special in its own way, whether it is an extreme rarity or just something that has been in the history of your family for years. Franklin Half Dollars are one of the most commonly collected series of American coins. Franklin Half Dollars have the same dimensions as the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, weighing 12.5 grams with a diameter of 30.6 millimeters. The coin is composed of 90% silver and 10% copper.
No mint mark – Philadelphia
D – Denver
S – San Francisco
One of the reasons Franklin Half Dollars are so often collected is that it is a simple and affordable set to complete. That is partially due to its lack of key dates and also volume of coins available in Mint State. All of the dates have mintages in excess of two million, with the lowest mintage being 1953, which is still very easy to find in almost any condition. The rarest Franklin Half Dollars are the ones minted in 1949 by all three mints. The rarest Franklin Half Dollar is the 1961 Doubled Die Proof, which is a very valuable error coin. This coin, however, is not required to complete a full date and mintmark set. The Franklin Half Dollar series is a great and affordable way to get into classic US coins.
Should I Get A Franklin Half Dollar Graded?
PCGS and NGC are the leading companies for coin grading in the world, however, it is also rather pricey to have a coin graded. If you have a high mint-state example or a 1961 Doubled Die Proof, you should definitely consider getting the coin graded and authenticated. Fortunately, you generally don’t have to worry about counterfeit coins for the Franklin Half Dollar series. Of course, every series is counterfeit, but the Franklin Half Dollar series is far less counterfeited than many other series. Because of the affordability of these coins, it is generally not worth the money to get your coin graded unless it would grade MS-66 or higher.
Every coin is special and individual in their own way and when you learn about a new coin, maybe that will be your next collecting goal!
Yeoman, R S. A Guide Book of United States Coins 2018 Essential Edition: The Official Red Book. Whitman Publishing, LLC, 2017.
"PCGS Photograde Online - Estimating Coin Grades Has Never Been Easier." PCGS, www.pcgs.com/photograde/.
Guth, Ron. "CoinFacts.com - The Internet Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins." CoinFacts.com - The Internet Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins, Collectors Universe Inc., coinfacts.com/.
"NGC Coin Explorer." Online Coin Catalog Search Page - Coin Explorer | NGC, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, www.ngccoin.com/coin-explorer/.
Great blog and information who has an attraction to Franklin's . Thank you!
Great blog! I have a few Franklins... one raw and a couple graded. I like the design alot. Thanks for the research!
Cool! Some like the design and others don't.
Great blog. A lot of research done here. I appreciate the source list. I too remember the Franklin in circulation as a kid. It may not be the most beautiful coin but I like it. Maybe because it was a lot of money for me back then. A friend and I used to catch snakes and sell them to a local pet store. Can't do that any more.I always asked to be paid in Franklin's, at least a few. I would like to see the legal run of them finished.May bring the half buck back. Thanks.
Thanks :) That's a very interesting story. I hope you never got bit ;)
Franklin halves are the next series I thinking about collecting. When I was a youngster in the 60's, half dollars were to expensive to collect out of circulation. 50 cents was a lot of money kids.
Good luck :) My grandpa collects and he's told me he wishes he kept more from his time, like Franklin Halves and Mercury Dimes. In terms of the mintage, the Mercury Dime series had recently finished, but they were still heavily circulated.
I have had the complete set in NGC holders in a previous collecting cycle but do not have more than a handful of proof set and raw Franklins right now. I never liked the design, especially that tiny eagle on the reverse. Would not be a set I would ever actively collect again. Every other Half Dollar type, including our current Kennedys are much more attractive to me. Having said that, it is an excellent set for novice collectors, as iccoins pointed out, due to the lack of any rarities and relatively small size. I would recommend any YN go for the Franklins, it is the only non-current set that is inexpensive to put together. Thanks iccoins for an excellent analysis.
I agree. The Franklins are a bit bland and boring. I won't say I don't like them, I just choose other things. I really think YN's should get into Type Sets to learn more about each series and just to have a collection of all kinds of coins. And it makes it easier on a budget as well.
Love the set unfortunately they can't bring it back. It's the law I wish they could. It's a wonderful set. Thanks for the info. Mike
Thanks for the comment! I had no idea that they are not legally allowed to bring back past coins. That's really interesting to know :)
Franklin halves...the 1st set I was serious abt completing. Overshadowed by the beautiful Walkers & popular Kennedys. I enjoyed this blog.
Awesome! It really is a great set and is also pretty affordable, especially compared to the Walkers, Barbers, and older.