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    

1950 Franklin Half Dollar, Beautiful Superb Gem Pf++, Key Date Pr, ** Free S/h!1952 Franklin Half Dollar 50 Cents Ngc Pf 67 CacComplete Set Of Franklin Silver Half Dollars Circulated Condition No Reserve1950 Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Pr65. A Higher End Pr65. Low Reserve!Roll Of 20 Franklin Half Dollars Mixed Dates Choice Bu 90% SilverQuality 1949-s Ngc Cert. Ms63 Benjamin Franklin Half Dollar Coin 50c An4054 M1954 Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Pr 65 1st Generation Ogh Holder CameoLot Of Five (5) Assorted Franklin U.s. Half Dollars 90% Silver Circulated Coins3 Rolls, $30 Walking Liberty, Franklin Half Dollars 90 % Silver Bank Roll Of 1952d Franklin Silver Half Dollars 20pc Gem-bu Uncirculated Original Roll 1961 Franklin Silver Halves.. Gem Bu1953-s Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms 65Lot (15) Proof Franklin Silver Half Dollars, Complete Set 1950 -1963 1951 52 50c Roll Of 1954 S Franklin Silver Half Dollars 20pc Gem-bu Uncirculated Roll Of 1954 D Franklin Silver Half Dollars 20pc Gem-bu Uncirculated Complete 35 Coin Franklin Half Dollar Collection - Postal Commemorative SocietyOriginal Roll 1962-d Franklin Silver Halves.. Gem Bu1951-s Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms 64Original Roll 1958 Franklin Silver Halves.. Gem Bu1958 Vintage Roll Of 1958 Franklin Half Dollars 90% Silver - Bu Unc 76311 Roll Of 1958-p Franklin Silver Half Dollars 20pc Ch-gem Bu Uncirculated Nrfs! Roll Of 20 90% Silver Franklin Liberty Bell Half Dollar Coins 1948-19631956 Pcgs Ms65fbl Gem Original Colorful Mint Set Toned Franklin Half Dollar1954-d Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms 651949 S Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin Pcgs Graded Ms65 Gem Uncirculated1948-d Silver Franklin Half Dollar 50c Uncirculated Details Free ShippingUncirculated 1949-d Denver Mint Silver Franklin Half Free Shipping1948-1963 Complete Franklin Half Dollar Set Some Bu Brilliant Unc 35 PiecesOriginal Roll 1949 Franklin Silver Halves.. Gem Bu Roll Of 1954 P Franklin Silver Half Dollars 20pc Gem-bu Uncirculated Bank Roll Of 1956 P Franklin Silver Half Dollars 20pc Gem-bu Uncirculated 1963 Franklin Original Bank Wrapped Roll Unopened Sealed Free ShippingFranklin Half Dollar Partial Set 1948-1963. 31 Coins1950-1963 Franklin Half Dollar 50c Lot Of 13 Uncirculated Silver Coins Rare!1949 P Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin Pcgs Ms65 Fbl Full Bell Lines Gem Unc1948 D Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin Pcgs Ms65 Fbl Full Bell Lines Gem Unc1953-s Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms 651949 D Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin Pcgs Ms65 Fbl Full Bell Lines Gem Unc1956 Pcgs Ms66 Gem Original Colorful Mint Set Toned Franklin Half Dollar1950 D Franklin Half Dollar Anacs Ms-65 Fbl1948 P & D 90% Silver Franklin Half Dollars Uncirculated1957 Pcgs Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms 65 ** Stunning Blazer!1956 Pcgs Franklin Half Dollar, Full Bell Lines, Pcgs Ms 64 Fbl ** Pq Blazer!1954-s Silver Franklin Half Dollar Ms 64 Ngc1958 Franklin Silver Half Dollar Gem Bu Fbl High Grade Ms++++++1955 Franklin Silver Half Dollar Bu/ms+++ FblRoll 1961 Franklin Silver Halves.. Gem ProofsFranklin Half Dollar Lot 30 Coin Set 1950-1952 90% SilverFranklin Half Dollar Lot 30 Coin Set 1952-1957 Pd 90% Silver Lot #49Nrfs! Roll Of 20 90% Silver Franklin Liberty Bell Half Dollar Coins 1948-19631951-s Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms 651949 Pds 90% Silver Franklin Half Dollars Uncirculated1950 Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms 64 Fbl1951 S Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin Pcgs Graded Ms65 Gem Uncirculated1959 D Franklin Half Dollar Ngc Ms65 Fbl Gem 50c Coin Auction Starts At 99 Cents 1952 Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms651951-1955 Silver Franklin Half Dollar Roll 20 Coins ..free Shipping!!!!1949-d Natural Rainbow Tone Pcgs Ms65 Fbl Franklin Silver Half Dollar 1950 Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms65 Fbl1954-d Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms 65