Franklin Half Dollars

Franklin Half Dollar Coins

Coin Series

The Franklin Half Dollar coin series was introduced in 1948. The coin featured Benjamin Franklin, one of the most renowned of the Founding Fathers. The series was cut short in 1963 to be replaced with the Kennedy Half Dollar the following year. Although the series was relatively short lived, it does provide coin collectors with an interesting and challenging series.

The coin was designed by John R. Sinnock, based on the design for a medal he had previously prepared in 1932. The reverse features a rendition of the famous Liberty Bell of Philadelphia. It was a fitting choice because of Franklin’s ties to the city. Sinnock had used a similar Liberty Bell design on the Sesquincentennial Commemorative Half Dollar from 1926. The reverse also features a diminutive Bald Eagle. This was a necessary addition due to legislation which required the Bald Eagle’s appearance on half dollar coins.

Inscriptions on the obverse include “Liberty” and “In God We Trust.” Inscriptions on the reverse include “United States of America,” “E Pluribus Unum,” and “Half Dollar.” Coins minted at Denver or San Francisco Mints will have a mint mark above the Liberty Bell. Coins minted in Philadelphia do not carry a mint mark.

One of the most notable aspects of the series is the Full Bell Lines (FBL) designation. Many Franklin Halves exhibit weak strikes or excessive contact marks. Coins with the FBL designation have sharp strikes which allow full definition of the two sets of horizontal lines on the reverse Liberty Bell.

Proof coins were issued by the Philadelphia Mint from 1950 through 1963. Early date proof coins are exceedingly difficult to find with cameo or deep cameo finishes. This refers to coins with frosted raised elements and mirrored backgrounds.

Coin Specifications

Dates: 1948 – 1963
Mint: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco
Weight: 12.50 g
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Edge: Reeded

More Information: Franklin Half Dollar Mintage