Franklin Half Dollars


The Franklin Half Dollar series only ran briefly from 1948 to 1963, making it one of the shorter US coin series of the 20th century. It has the misfortune of being placed between two highly popular series, with the Walking Liberty Half Dollar design before it and the Kennedy design after it. Nonetheless, many collectors take particular focus on the series for its challenges and rewards.

Franklin Halves were produced at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints. The Philadelphia Mint struck coins for each year of issue, while for certain years no coins were struck at Denver or San Francisco. Starting in 1950, Proof coins were struck for inclusion in government issued proof sets for coin collectors.

Franklin Half

The obverse design of the coin features a bold portrait of Benjamin Franklin designed by John R. Sinnock. The inscriptions include "Liberty", and "In God We Trust", along with the date of issue. The reverse design features a portrait of the famous Liberty Bell from Philadelphia. A small sized eagle is also placed to the right of the bell to fulfill the legislative requirement for its appearance on the denomination. The inscriptions read "United States of America", "E Pluribus Unum", and "Half Dollar".

Of particular interest for the Franklin Half Dollar series are two areas. The first is the Full Bell Lines designation. Coins with this designation exhibit uninterrupted sets of horizontal lines on the reverse Liberty Bell. This generally denotes a strong strike and absence of bag marks which can trouble many coins of the series. Third party grading services use the designation FBL to denote this.

Also of interest are coins with a cameo or deep cameo finish. These proof coins exhibit frosted raised elements over mirrored backgrounds. Coins with cameo finishes for early years of the series can be particularly difficult to find. Third party grading services use the designation DCAM or Ultra Cameo to denote this.

On this site you will find a full selection of PCGS and NGC certified Franklin Half Dollars available for sale, as well as additional information about the series.