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35-Piece Complete Franklin Silver Half Dollar Collection

The Franklin Silver Half Dollar was struck from 1948 until 1963, when it was suddenly replaced with the Kennedy Half Dollar in memory of President John F. Kennedy. This collection includes every coin issued for circulation, from the first in 1948 to the last in 1963 - every year of issue and every Mint mark.

Set Includes:
  • Philadelphia Mint (16) - 1948-1963
  • Denver Mint (14) - 1948-1954, 1957-1963
  • San Francisco Mint (5) - 1949, 1951-1954

The obverse of the Franklin Silver Half Dollar features colonial patriot and inventor Benjamin Franklin. He was the first actual person other than a President to appear on a circulating U.S. coin. Among his many achievements, Franklin was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The portrait is based on a bust by famed French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon that was made during Franklin's lifetime.

The reverse of the coin shows the Liberty Bell. According to tradition, this bell was rung to announce the Declaration of Independence to the people of Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. It was originally housed atop Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Declaration was drafted and signed. There is a very small eagle to the right of the bell. By law, this coin had to show an eagle as the symbol of the United States - but Franklin thought the wild turkey should be the national bird, so out of respect for him the eagle was made very small!

Every Franklin Half Dollar was struck in .900 pure silver. In fact, the Franklin Silver Half Dollar was the last coin series to be minted entirely in silver. Due to the rising cost of silver, millions of these coins were melted over the years - making the few remaining coins even more sought-after.

The Franklin Half Dollar was struck for circulation at three U.S. Mints: Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. The Mint mark ("D" for Denver, "S" for San Francisco, no mark for Philadelphia) is above the center of the Liberty Bell. All 35 coins are in Very Fine to Brilliant Uncirculated condition and are protected in a custom Dansco Album.

Display Box Dimensions: 9-1/2" x 8" x 3/4"

Distributed by the Franklin Mint. Country of origin is United States.

Model Number
Model Number FM1031

Franklin Half-Dollar:
Three years after the end of World War II, the United States Mint announced intentions to replace the aging Liberty Walking half-dollar design with a brand new motif featuring a likeness of noted American inventor, philosopher, and statesman, Benjamin Franklin. Treasury Secretary John Snyder had hopes that Franklin's virtues of thrift and financial responsibility might be included among the many themes celebrated and commemorated by the coin's design. The United States Mint produced the coin until 1963, when special legislation replaced it with the Kennedy Half-Dollar.

Franklin's image on the obverse of coin was created by John R. Sinnock, who was also responsible for Franklin Roosevelt's portrait on the obverse of the 1946 dime. For the reverse of the Franklin half dollar, the Mint chose another icon from America's founding era, the Liberty Bell. However, a problem arose in the design as, according to established law, a representation of an eagle must be present on all silver coins with denominations greater than one dime. U.S. Mint sculptor, Gilroy Roberts, added a small eagle to the left of the Liberty Bell on Sinnock's design in order to comply with the requirement.

Kennedy Half-Dollar:
Following the tragic events of November 22, 1963, the United States Mint, at the behest of the newly sworn President Lyndon Johnson, began designing a coin for circulation that would feature the image of President John F. Kennedy. An influx of letters from the public to the Mint suggested that a significant portion of the grieving American citizenry agreed with the idea of honoring the late thirty-fifth President. The White House proposed the new coin be of half-dollar denomination and Congress swiftly passed the appropriate legislation to fast track production.

The Chief Engraver of the United States Mint at the time, Gilroy Roberts, created the now famous, commanding bust of President John F. Kennedy, which appears on the obverse of the coin. The reverse of the coin features U.S. Mint Engraver Frank Gasparro's slightly modified version of the official Presidential Seal. The new half-dollar coin became a part of the nation's circulating coinage starting in 1964 and remains so to the present. The only major change in design over the past 46 years came in 1976 when the United States celebrated its bicentennial. Just for that year, the reverse displayed an image of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the obverse featured a dual date of 1776 - 1976. The original design resumed in 1977.

Liberty Walking Half-Dollar:
Renowned designer Adolph Weinman created the images displayed on this legendary fifty-cent piece which was struck by the United States Mint between the years 1916 and 1947. The obverse shows Lady Liberty mid-step, draped in the American flag with her right arm extended toward the sun and her left arm cradling olive branches. The reverse features a bald eagle perched on a branch.

The Liberty Walking Half-Dollar and the Mercury Dime, both designed by Adolph Weinman and introduced in 1916, each replaced a coin created by Charles Barber in their respective denominations. A new initiative championed by President Theodore Roosevelt near the turn of the century sought to have the nation's coinage redesigned and infused with a fresh sense of artistry. The movement resulted in the Barber-designed half-dollar, quarter-dollar, nickel, and dime being succeeded by the Liberty Walking Half-Dollar, Liberty Standing Quarter-Dollar, Buffalo Nickel, and Mercury Dime between the years 1913 and 1916.

Mints & Mint Marks

Mints
The United States' first mint was opened in Philadelphia in 1793. Cents and half-cents were its first coins struck for circulation. Dies were cut by hand and each cutter added their own touch to the coin. Horses and strong men were the "machines" that operated the presses that made the coins. Mints were located in Philadelphia (PA), Denver (CO), West Point (NY), San Francisco (CA), Carson City (NV), New Orleans (LA), Charlotte (NC) and Dahlonega (GA). Only four of these mints currently exist: Philadelphia, Denver, West Point and San Francisco. The other four were closed soon after the Civil War.

Mint Marks
A mint mark is a small letter struck on an open area of a coin to represent the mint location where it was made. While mint marks began in ancient Greece and Rome, the first mint marks to appear on coins in the United States were in 1838. Mint marks were usually struck on the reverse side of the coins. In 1968, however, mint director Eva Adams changed the striking to the obverse of the coin in order to gain uniformity.

Mint marks are quite important to collectors because they help to determine a coin's value. A coin may have been struck in mass quantities at one mint, yet struck in smaller quantities at another. The coin struck in smaller quantities may be worth more than the one produced at a larger count. Mint marks are also important to collectors who gather the same coin from every mint it was struck.

The Philadelphia Mint has always been the main U.S. Mint location, yet the majority of coins struck there did not have mint marks until 1980. It carried the title of the world's largest mint until 2009. All coins from Philadelphia carry the letter "P". Pennies, however, are the exception, as they do not carry mint marks.

The Denver Mint opened in 1906 due to the gold and silver discoveries in Colorado. Coins produced there are marked with the letter "C". The West Point Mint opened in 1988 and coins produced there are marked with the letter "W". The San Francisco Mint opened in 1854, thanks to the gold rush in California. Coins produced there are marked with an "S".

Coin Grading
The grade of a coin is an essential element of information when it comes to coin collecting. The grade explains what physical condition the coin is in, therefore is important in determining a particular coin's value. Below explains the different coin grades given by most certification companies, from flawless to poor condition.

  • Mint State (MS-70 through MS-60): a coin with no imperfections after production at a 5x magnification is considered a MS-70 grade. MS-69 to MS-60 advises what level of Mint State a coin might be given the small imperfections; MS-60 is the lowest Mint State grade.
  • About Uncirculated (AU-58, 55, 53, 50): a coin where light wearing can be seen somewhere on the coin by the naked eye; MS-50 is the lowest About Uncirculated grade.
  • Extremely Fine (XF-45, 40): a coin that has light wearing throughout; XF-40 is the lowest Extremely Fine grade.
  • Very Fine (VF-35, 30, 25, 20): a coin that still shows the major details but also shows moderate wear; VF-20 is the lowest Very Fine grade.
  • Fine (F-15, 12): a coin showing moderate to heavy wear, but the major details are still visible.
  • Very Good (VG-10, 8): a coin with the design worn down by heavy wear, however the major design is outlined; VG-8 is the lowest Very Good grade.
  • Good (G-6, 4): a coin with flattened details but the design is still outlined, but some features of the coin are unclear; G-4 is the lowest Good grade.
  • About Good (AG-3): a coin with flattened details but the design is still outlined, however some of the edge of the coin is lost because of wear.
  • Fair (FA-2): a coin that is still identifiable in the design and outline, however the edge of the coin is no longer visible.
  • Poor (PR-1): a coin that is still identifiable in the design or date, but in the most poor quality.
  • Coin Certification Companies

  • ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service): This grading and certification service certifies coins as genuine then grades and encapsulates them. ANA is one of the original grading services.
  • NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation): NGC is one of the three most popular coin grading certification services today. They are considered a third party service, in that they are not directly controlled by any coin dealers.
  • PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service): PCGS certifies coins as genuine and determines their grades according to a popular coin grading scale (of 1 to 70). They charge a fee for their services and seal the coin in a tamper-resistant protective holder. PCGS is one of the top three independent grading services today.