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 Proof, Superb Blast White Proof! ** Free Shipping!1961 Franklin Half Dollar Roll 90% Silver Gem Proof 20 Us CoinsComplete Uncirculated Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin Set (35 Coins) No Reserve1963 Franklin Bu Roll (20 Coins) Half Dollars Choice Fbl 90% Silver $10 Fv!!1956 Franklin Half Type 1 Pcgs Pr67 Proof Plus Pr67 !!!3 Rolls Of Franklin Half Dollars 60 Coins 90% Silver 1950's Dates Lot 45 Silver Franklin Half Dollars1950-d Ngc Ms 65 Full Bell Lines Franklin Half Dollar!!3 Rolls Of Franklin Half Dollars 60 Coins 90% Silver Mixed Dates Lot 1952-s Franklin Half Pcgs Ms65 Rainbow Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ Gem1948-1963 Complete Set Of Franklin Half Dollars In Dansco Album~with 6 Proofs!1949 S 50c Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms651956 Proof Type 1 Franklin Half Dollar ** Ngc Certified Pf 671953 Proof Franklin Half Dollar Ngc Pr66 Pf66 Silver 50c Free Shipping1956 Proof Set With Type 1 Franklin Half Dollar. Clean, Problem-free Gems! 1953-d Ngc Ms 65 Full Bell Lines Franklin Half Dollar!!One (1) Unsearched Half Dollar Roll Ben/1964 Kennedy Double Silver Enders1953-s Franklin Half Dollar, Gorgeous Gem! ** Free Shipping!1944-d Ms-62 Anacs Walking Liberty Half Dollar! Beautiful! No ReserveUncirculated 1952-s Franklin Silver Half Dollar Free Shipping!  1952-s Ngc Ms 65 Franklin Half Dollar!!1948-d Ngc Ms 65 Franklin Half Dollar!!1952-s Ngc Ms 64 Franklin Half Dollar!!1948 - 1963 Franklin Half Dollar Collection (35 Coins) Item#r737Full Roll 90% Silver Ben Franklin Half Dollars $10.00 FaceBenjamin Franklin Half Dollar Collection 1948 To 1963 Collector Book W/ 17 Coins19 Franklin Half Dollars 90% Silver 1950-63 Lot All Different1952-d Ngc Ms 65 Full Bell Lines Franklin Half Dollar!!Lot (6) Better Franklin Half Dollars 1948 1950 D Uncirculated 1951 S Silver 50cUncirculated 1952-s Franklin Silver Half Dollar Free Shipping!    1949-d Ngc Ms 64 Full Bell Lines Franklin Half Dollar!!Nice Example Of A 1956 Franklin .50 Type 1 Ngc Proof 641958 Franklin Half Ngc Ms66 Rainbow Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ 1957 Franklin Half Ngc Ms66 Rainbow Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ Old Slab1924 D Au Mercury Dime No Reserve Auction!1957 Franklin Half Anacs Ms65 Rainbow Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ Uncirculated Proof 1959 Philadelphia Mint Silver Franklin Half Free ShippingBulk Lot Of 120 Franklin Half Dollars 90% Silver 50¢ Us Silver Coins No ReserveRoll Of 20 Franklin Silver Proof Half Dollars 1961 1962 Some Cameo All Problem1963 50c Franklin Half Dollar Original Bank Wrapped Roll Obw Bu End Roll Toning1952-d Franklin Silver Half Dollar Ngc Ms65 Fbl *hucky* 1954-s Ngc Ms 65 Franklin Half Dollar!!1958-d Franklin Half Pcgs Ms65fbl Rainbow Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ 1951-s Franklin Half Ngc Ms65 Classic Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ Gem1957-d Franklin Half Anacs Ms65fbl Light Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ 1961 Franklin Half Dollar - 1964 Kennedy Silver Half - 6 Mercury Dimes1955 Franklin Half Pcgs Ms65 Light Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ Gem1962 Franklin Half Dollar Pr 67 Dcam (deep Cameo) By Icg!!!!1955 Franklin 50 Cents -full Bell Line- Outstanding Uncirculated90% Silver Franklin Half Dollar Rolls - 2Complete Set Of Franklin Half Dollars In Dansco AlbumFranklin Half Dollars 34 Coins 90% Silver Mixed Dates Lot 26 Coin Lot - $13 Face Value - Franklin Half Dollars - 90% Silver Coin Roll + 61957 Franklin Half Pcgs Ms66 Light Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ Ogh~rattler1952-s Franklin Half Dollar, Lustrous Blazer! ** Free Shipping!1948-d Ngc Ms 65 Full Bell Lines Franklin Half Dollar!!1957 Franklin Half Anacs Ms66 Rainbow Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ 1948 Franklin Half Anacs Ms65fbl Classic Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ 1954-s Franklin Half Anacs Ms66 Rainbow Mint Set Toned~colorful Toning~ Lot/bulk: Five (5) 90% Silver Franklin Half Dollar Coins $2.50 Face Value Junk