The Franklin Half Dollar honors Benjamin Franklin, the legendary colonial patriot, inventor, and statesman. Franklin was the first historical person other than a President to appear on a circulating U.S. coin. Among his many achievements, Franklin signed both the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution in 1787. The reverse of the coin shows the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. According to tradition, the Liberty Bell was rung to announce the Declaration of Independence to the people of Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Also shown on the reverse is a tiny eagle. Originally, the eagle was left off because Franklin hated eagles – but it was added at the last minute because it is required by law.
The last Franklin Silver Half Dollar was struck in 1963. It was suddenly replaced with the Kennedy Half Dollar in memory of President John F. Kennedy in early 1964. Each Franklin Silver Half Dollar was struck in .900 silver. Due to the unexpected end of the series, few people were able to save the last coin in 1963. Later, untold numbers of Franklin Silver Half Dollars – including the 1963 coins – were melted for the precious silver, leaving even fewer for collectors. 5 x 3 1/2"