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    

Original Roll 1955 Franklin Silver Halves.. Gem Bu1959 Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms65fbl - Pcgs Ms65 Full Bell LinesLot Of 20 1957 P Gem Proof Franklin Silver Half Dollars With Free S/h 1 RollBulk Lot Of 170 Franklin Half Dollars 90% Silver 50¢ Us Silver Coins No Reserve1948-1963 Complete Franklin Half Dollar Set, Whitman Harris Folder ** Free S/hRare Better Date Unc/ms 1952-s Franklin Half Dollar Us 90% Silver,50c,n R!1961-d Ngc Franklin Half Dollar, Full Bell Lines, Ngc Ms 64 FblOriginal Roll 1956 Franklin Silver Halves.. Gem BuRoll Of 20 Franklin Half Dollars Mixed Dates 90% Silver1951-d Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms64 Fbl1962-d Ngc Franklin Half Dollar, Full Bell Lines Ngc Ms 64 Fbl ** Free Shipping!Uncirculated 1955 Philadelphia Mint Silver Franklin Half Free ShippingFranklin Silver Half Dollar Complete Set 35 Coins 1948-1963 - No Reserve!Lot Of 26 : Franklin Silver Half Dollars / 90% Silver / Us Mint / Mixed Dates 1958-d Franklin Half Dollar 50c/ Ngc-ms66 Fbl/ Cac/ Toned/ Ngc Price $325.00Lot Of 40 1963 Au Franklin Silver Half Dollars Silver Free S/h 2 Rolls Scrap1961 Half Roll Proof 90% Silver Franklin Halfs Half Dollars – 10 Proof Coins!!Junk Silver $5 Face Franklin Mixed Years 90% Silver 1/2 Dollars I-1598 CLot Of 10 : 1963-d Franklin Half Dollars / 90% Silver / Us Mint / Usa Coins /1952 Franklin Half Dollar Proof1954 Franklin Half Dollar, Cameo Proof, Solid Gem Pf ** Free Shipping!1959 Ngc Franklin Half Dollar Proof Ngc Pf 671954-s Franklin Half Dollar - Ngc Slabbed Ms651958 Silver Franklin Half Dollar 50c Certified & Graded Pcgs Pr 66 Proof PfBeautiful 1963 Franklin Silver Half Dollar - Old Anacs Ms65Unsearched!! Franklin Half-dollar Roll Capped W/ Walking Liberty On Both Ends RFranklin Silver Half Dollars, 90% Silver, 20 CoinsRoll Of 1963 P Franklin Half Dollars Bu Ms +++1962 Half Roll Proof 90% Silver Franklin Halfs Half Dollars – 10 Proof Coins!!1962 Half Roll Proof 90% Silver Franklin Halfs Half Dollars – 10 Proof Coins!!1951-d Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms65fbl - Pcgs Ms65 Full Bell Lines1950-d Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms64 Fbl1957-d Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms65 Fbl1953-s Pcgs Ms65 Franklin Silver Half Dollar (c82)1949-s 50c - Franklin Half Dollar - Luster - Key Date Icg - Ms 64 75625 1956 Pf68 Type 2 (proof) Franklin Half Dollar Ngc Certified Superb Gem1962 Franklin Half Dollar, Full Bell Lines, Ngc Ms 64 Fbl * Very Tough This Nice1962 Pr68ca (cameo Proof) Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Certified Superb Gem Uncirculated 1949-s San Francisco Mint Silver Franklin Half Free Shipping1953-d Franklin Half Dollar 50c Pcgs Ms64 Fbl1949 D Franklin Half Dollar Key Date Choice Bu***lot Of 85*** 90% Silver Franklin Half Dollars 1951-s Franklin Half Dollar 50c Ngc Ms65 FblLot Of 40 1958 P Bu Franklin Silver Half Dollars Silver Free S/h 2 Rolls Lot Of 20- 1963 Franklin Half Dollar 50c/ Unc/ Coin #2024Franklin Half Dollar Halves 90% Silver Pre 64 $.50 Fifty Cent Ag 100ea. $50 FaceLot Of 25 : 1964-d Kennedy Half Dollars / 90% Silver / Us Mint / Coins / UsaLot Of 10 50c Franklin Silver Half DollarsFull Set 1956-1963 90% Silver Proof Franklin Half Dollars! 8 Total Coins!Lot Of 9 Franklin Half Dollars Brilliant Uncirculated 19631959-d Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms65 Fbl1951 Franklin Half Dollar Pcgs Ms651949-s Franklin Half Dollar, Lustrous Gem Bu++ Key Date, ** Free Shipping!1953 50c Pcgs Ms64fbl *gren Tag*1952-s Cac Pcgs Ms66+ Franklin Half Dollar 1957 Franklin Half Dollar - Ngc Slabbed Ms64 1959 Franklin Half Dollar 50c Silver Certified & Graded Pcgs Proof 66 Pr PfFull Set 1956-1963 90% Silver Proof Franklin Half Dollars! 8 Total Coins!1955 Proof Silver Franklin Half Dollar Ngc Pf66 Sku411851959-d Franklin Half Dollars Complete Bank Roll $20.00