The Franklin Silver Half Dollar was struck from 1948 until 1963, when it was suddenly replaced with the Kennedy Half Dollar in memory of President John F. Kennedy. This collection includes every coin issued for circulation, from the first in 1948 to the last in 1963 – every year of issue and every Mint mark.
The obverse of the Franklin Silver Half Dollar features colonial patriot and inventor Benjamin Franklin. He was the first actual person other than a President to appear on a circulating U.S. coin. Among his many achievements, Franklin was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The portrait is based on a bust by famed French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon that was made during Franklin’s lifetime.
The reverse of the coin shows the Liberty Bell. According to tradition, this bell was rung to announce the Declaration of Independence to the people of Philadelphia on July 4, 1776; it was originally housed atop Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Declaration was drafted and signed. There is a very small eagle to the right of the bell. By law, this coin had to show an eagle as the symbol of the United States – but Franklin thought the wild turkey should be the national bird, so out of respect for him the eagle was made very small!
Every Franklin Half Dollar was struck in .900 pure silver. In fact, the Franklin Silver Half Dollar was the last coin series to be minted entirely in silver. Due to the rising cost of silver, millions of these coins were melted over the years – making the few remaining coins even more sought-after. The Franklin Half Dollar was struck for circulation at all three U.S. Mints – Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The Mint mark (“D” for Denver, “S” for San Francisco, no mark for Philadelphia) is above the center of the Liberty Bell. Among the key coins in this collection are the following:• 1948 – first year of issue. • 1953 Philadelphia Mint – the rarest Franklin Half Dollar. • All five of the rarely-seen San Francisco Mint coins. • 1963 – the final year of issue. All 35 coins are in Very Fine to Brilliant Uncirculated condition and are protected in a custom Dansco Album. The breakdown of coins is as follows:
Philadelphia Mint (16) – 1948-1963Denver Mint (14) – 1948-1954, 1957-1963San Francisco Mint (5) – 1949, 1951-1954