Benjamin Franklin Half: 1948-1963


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1948-1963
Mints: Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver
Composition: 0.900 silver, 0.100 copper
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Weight: 12.5 grams (0.36169 oz. actual silver weight)
Total Mintage: 739,148,459
Edge: reeded


Designed by John Sinnock, the Franklin Half had a composition of 90% silver & 10% copper.

The obverse features a portrait of Benjamin Franklin facing right with the inscription LIBERTY on the outer periphery above the portrait. Just below the chin of Franklin is the date and on the lower outer periphery is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The portrait of Benjamin Franklin marks the first U.S. circulating coinage to feature a real person that was not a U.S. President.

The reverse design features the Liberty Bell that was similar in design to the one used by Sinnock on the 1926 Sesquicentennial of American Independence half dollar commemorative. Above the bell on the upper outer periphery are the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" on the lower outer periphery below the bell are the words HALF DOLLAR. To the left of the bell in small text are the words E PLURIBUS UNUM. A mint mark for Denver (D) or San Francisco (S) can be found just above the bell while Philadelphia issues carried no mint marks. To the right of the bell is a small eagle.

To some, the small eagle design on the reverse seems out of place but was required to bring the coin design into compliance with the federal Coinage Act of 1793. The Act mandated the placement of an eagle on every U.S. silver coin larger than the dime. The eagle was added by Gilroy Roberts, who completed work on the coin following Sinnock's death in 1947


General Market Notes

Coins are plentiful and affordable to collectors in all grades.

The closest thing to a key coin for the series is the 1949-S issue. For a sleeper coin take a look at the 1953 issue.

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