In 1948, a significant change was completed in American coinage with the introduction of the Franklin Half Dollar: coins meant for circulation would from that point on depict actual Americans instead of figures from American symbolism and allegory. The artistic “golden era” of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, Standing Liberty Quarter, and Mercury Dime had come to an end as history replaced imagery at the U.S. Mint.
Benjamin Franklin – printer, scientist, inventor, and diplomat – served as an ideal candidate for this first generation of commemorative coins, enjoying an unequaled status among his contemporaries at home and abroad.
John R. Sinnock, the Mint’s chief sculptor-engraver at the time, was chosen to design the new half dollar. The obverse, or front, of the coin is based upon an 18th century bust by sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. It depicts Franklin in profile, facing right, with a gentle, bemused look on his face. The reverse displays a prominent Liberty Bell, based on a sketch by John Frederick Lewis, that, like Franklin, was closely tied in many American minds to the city of Philadelphia and the birth of the nation.
Despite their popularity, Franklin Half Dollars had a particularly short production run due to the decision by Congress in late 1963 to issue a new half dollar to memorialize the martyred president. They were minted in Philadelphia (no mintmark), San Francisco (“S” mintmark), and Denver (“D”), are composed of .90% silver yielding .36169 troy ounces of pure silver per coin, and measure 30.6mm in diameter.
These coins may show signs of aging and wear, though the year of minting will be decipherable.
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|Metal Content||Between .51-1.0|
|Condition||Au or Better|