The Franklin half dollar was struck from 1948 until 1963 and was designed by Mint engraver John R. Sinnock, who also designed the Roosevelt dime. It was the last coin credited to Sinnock, who passed away in 1947 before it circulated.

Sinnock’s Franklin featured the bust of the great Philadelphia inventor, publisher, and signer to the Declaration of Independence on the obverse, with an image of the Liberty Bell on the reverse. Sinnock adapted his Liberty Bell from one he had used for the 1926 commemorative sesquicentennial half dollar. As it turned out, Sinnock's bell was based on an uncredited sketch by fellow engraver John Frederick Lewis.

To contemporary eyes, the Liberty Bell appears innocuous, but it was greeted with strenuous objections from the government’s advisory Fine Arts Commission. The controversy concerned the bell’s crack, which the commission feared “might lead to statements derogatory to United States coinage.” The commission's formal rejection of the design was ignored by Treasury officials, and the coin’s bell, like the real one, was struck with its crack intact.

Another feature of the coin’s reverse is a small heraldic eagle, which was placed there thanks to a 1792 law requiring all coins of greater denomination than a dime to depict the regal raptor. Engraved by Frank Gasparro, the eagle was placed to the right of the bell, but its relief during the coin’s first decade of circulation was so low that in 1958 a Type II coin was introduced. Eagles on these coins featured greater relief and can be differentiated from earlier versions by the three eagle wings to the left of the bird’s perch rather than four.

The most common problem with the Franklin half dollar is on the reverse, where the rows of faint horizontal lines at the bottom of the bell are often incomplete. Coins with fully struck lines are highly sought-after by collectors. The most infamous error occurred in the 1955 coins, in which a die clash gave Franklin a few extra teeth, creating what has become known as the Bugs Bunny variant.

Like the Roosevelt dime, the Franklin half dollar bore Sinnock’s initials. But on the Roosevelt dime, Sinnock used only the letters "J" and "S" for his first and last name, which some Americans believed stood for Joseph Stalin, a claim the U.S. government was obliged to counter with the facts. To squelch such Cold War rumors before they got started, Sinnock added his middle initial, "R," to his signature on the Franklin half dollar.

Franklin half dollars could have been struck in 1964, but on November 25, 1963, just three days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mint director Eva Adams called engraver Gilroy Roberts to inform him that the late president's portrait needed to be readied for a silver coin. By December 30, 1963, Congress had passed a bill authorizing the Kennedy half dollar.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Legendary Coins and Currency

Legendary Coins and Currency

This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is a great way to get an overview… [read review or visit site]

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Home to the Society of U.S. Pattern collectors, this well-organized site provides in-depth information on pattern c… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Complete Collection Of Franklin Half Dollars 43 Total In Dansco Album No ReserveComplete Set Of Franklin Silver Half Dollars 35pc 1948-1963 Bu-uncirculated1948-1963 Franklin 1/2 Half Dollar Full Date & Mint Mark Set Complete W 35 CoinsUnsearched!! Franklin Half-dollar Roll Capped W/ Walking Liberty On Both Ends JOriginal Roll Of Uncirculated Or Bu 1957 D Franklin Half Dollars, Many Fbl Coins1962 Franklin Half Dollar Bu Roll 20 Coins Bank Wrapped Obw Crimped End TonedFranklin Silver Half Dollar Complete Set 1948-1963 ~ 35 Coins In Whitman AlbumOriginal Roll 1963 Franklin Silver Halves.. Gem Bu1958 D Roll Of 20 Uncirculated Franklin Half Dollars #21953-s 50c Franklin Silver Half Dollar Pcgs Ms65Roll Of 1962 Franklin Silver Half Dollar Proofs 20pc Ch-gem Bu Uncirculated1950 50c Franklin Silver Half Dollar Ngc Ms65 FblRoll Of 20 1953 Franklin Half Dollars Au 90% SilverLot Of (20) Franklin Silver Half Dollars Mixed Condition/date (a95)Ben Franklin Halves: Lot Of 17 Silver Half Dollars, Nice Assortment!Franklin Half Collection SetRoll (bu) 1963-p Franklin Silver Half Dollars! 90% Silver (see Pictures)1952-s Pcgs Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms 65 ** Tough This Nice ** Free Shipping!Key Date Unc / Ms 1953-s Franklin Half Dollar Coin 90% Silver 50c, No Reserve!Unc / Ms 1950-p 50c Franklin Half Dollar Us Coin 90% Silver, 50c No Reserve !!!1958 P Roll Of 20 Uncirculated Franklin Half Dollars #21961 Franklin Half Dollar Roll Uncirculated 50c Coins Auction Starts At 99 CentsLot Of (20) Franklin Silver Half Dollars Mixed Condition/date (a97)Lot Of (20) Franklin Silver Half Dollars Mixed Condition/date (a01)1949-d Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms 65 Fbl1954 Proof Franklin Half Dollar Bu Rainbow Album Toned ~colorful Toning~Superb Unc 1948-p Franklin Half Dollar Coin Silver, 50c, No Reserve !!Beautiful 1959 Ngc Ms 65 Fbl Franklin Half Dollar Stunning White Blazer, Wow !!1958 Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms 66 Fbl Some Golden Tone Great Detail Full Bell1960/1962 Franklin Half Dollars Pcgs (ms 64) Two Coins!1951-s Franklin Silver Half Dollar ~ Bu "better Date"Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin Lot Of 52Complete Franklin Halves 1948-1963 Whitman BookFranklin Half Dollar Book W/ 20 Silver Coins Lot# Fhbo1963 Franklin Half Dollar Bu Roll Bank Wrapped (head/head)1949 S Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms65 Fbl Full Bell Lines Lot Of 17 1963 D Franklin Half Dollars Uncirculated Bulk Lot Of 163 Franklin Half Dollars 90% Silver 50¢ Us Silver Coins No Reserve1958 Ngc Pf68 * * * Franklin Half Dollar * * Very Nice Flawless Proof Half1953-d 50c Franklin Silver Half Dollar Ngc Ms65 FblSuperb Rare Unc/ms 1956-p Franklin Half Dollar Coin , Silver 50c1963 Franklin Silver Half Dollar Ngc Certified Pf 66 Cameo Gem Proof * Us Coin *Unc / Ms 1951-s Franklin Half Dollar Coin 90% Silver Us Coin 50c No Reserve !!!1961 P Proof Franklin Half Dollar 50 Cents Proof Set CelloLot Of (20) Franklin Silver Half Dollars Mixed Condition/date (a95)1959 Proof Franklin Half Dollar Ngc Pf 68 #z40Full Set 1957-1963 90% Silver Proof Franklin Half Dollars! 7 Total Coins!Lot Of 9 Valuable Benjamin Franklin Half Dollars Lot Of 7 Valuable Walking Liberty Half Dollars 1916 - 1940 Franklin Half Dollar Set (average Circulated In Dansco Album)Pcgs 1949 D Franklin Half Dollar Ms64 FblUncirculated 1948 Philadelphia Mint Silver Franklin Half Free Shipping1948 Pcgs Franklin Half Dollar, Full Bell Lines, Pcgs Ms 64 Fbl ** Free Shipping1954-d Ngc Franklin Half Dollar, Full Bell Lines, Ngc Ms 64 Fbl1958 Proof Ben Franklin Half Dollar 1952 Franklin Half Dollar, Full Bell Lines, Near Gem Bu Fbl 1962 Franklin Half Dollar (pr 66) Pcgs1949-s Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms64*old Green Holder*silver Gem*Lot Of 2 Ben Franklin Half Dollars, 1 1958 & 1 1963, Nice Silver Half DollarsBulk Lot Of 163 Franklin Half Dollars 90% Silver 50¢ Us Silver Coins No Reserve