OverviewThe Benjamin Franklin half dollar coin was minted from 1948-1963. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Congress passed a bill replacing the Franklin half dollar with the Kennedy half dollar in February 1964, nine years before the design would normally have been up for change.Many Franklin half dollars were melted for their silver after 1964, when the silver’s intrinsic value exceeded the face value.
DesignBenjamin Franklin is on the obverse (front) and the Liberty Bell on the reverse. A small eagle right of the bell was necessitated by law, though Franklin had opposed the selection of the eagle as the U.S. national symbol, arguing that the wild turkey is a “more noble bird.”
MintingAbout 510 million Franklin half dollars were minted from 1948-1963. Coins without a mint mark were minted in Philadelphia, those with a “D” in Denver, and those with an “S” in San Francisco. If the piece has a mint mark, it is on the reverse, above the bell yoke. Engraver John R. Sinnock’s initials are at Franklin’s shoulder on the obverse.
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