Franklin half dollar – Wikipedia

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The Franklin half dollar is a coin that was struck by the United States Mint from 1948 to 1963. The fifty-cent piece pictures Founding Father Benjamin Franklin on the obverse and the Liberty Bell on the reversion. A small eagle was placed to the good of the bell to fulfill the legal necessity that half dollars depict the number of an eagle. Produced in 90 percentage argent with a reeded edge, the coin was struck at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints. As of December 30, 2021, the melt value of the $ 0.50 mint was approximately $ 8.37. Mint film director Nellie Tayloe Ross had long admired Franklin, and wanted him to be depicted on a coin. In 1947, she instructed her foreman engraver, John R. Sinnock, to prepare designs for a Franklin one-half dollar. Sinnock ‘s designs were based on his earlier work, but he died before their completion. The designs were completed by Sinnock ‘s successor, Gilroy Roberts. The Mint submitted the new designs to the Commission of Fine Arts ( “ Commission ” ) for its advisory opinion. The Commission disliked the humble eagle and felt that depicting the snap in the Liberty Bell would expose the coinage to jokes and ridicule. Despite the Commission ‘s disfavor, the Mint proceeded with Sinnock ‘s designs. After the coins were released in April 1948, the Mint received accusations that Sinnock ‘s initials “ JRS ” on the shortcut at Franklin ‘s shoulder were a tribute to soviet authoritarian Joseph Stalin ( Stalin did not have a middle name that began with an ‘R ‘ ). No change was made, with the Mint react that the letters were simply the artist ‘s initials ( The same accusation was made after the release of the Sinnock designed Roosevelt Dime in 1946 ). The coin was struck regularly until 1963. Beginning in 1964 it was replaced by the Kennedy half dollar, issued in respect of the assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Though the coin is hush legal bid, its prize to collectors or as silver medal ( bullion rate ) both greatly exceed its confront value.

Background and excerpt [edit ]

Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross had farseeing been an admirer of Benjamin Franklin, and wished to see him on a coin. In 1933, Sinnock had designed a decoration featuring Franklin, which may have given her the idea. Franklin had opposed putting portraits on coins ; he advocated proverbs about which the holder could profit through contemplation. In a 1948 interview, Ross noted that Franklin only knew of living royalty on coins, and presumably would feel differently about a republic honoring a dead person laminitis. indeed, Franklin might have been more swage at the rearward design : as numismatic writer Jonathan Tepper noted, “ Had Benjamin Franklin known that he would be appearing on a half dollar with an eagle, he most probable would have been quite upset. He detested the eagle, and numismatic lore has it that he often referred to it as a magpie. Given the practical man that he was, Franklin proposed the godforsaken turkey as our national bird. ”
The Sesquicentennial half dollar. Its reverse was used as the basis for the Franklin half dollar ‘s revoke. An 1890 legislative act forbade the substitute of a coin design without congressional action, unless it had been in avail for 25 years, counting the year of first issue. The Walking Liberty half dollar and Mercury dime had been first issued in 1916 ; they could be replaced without congressional action from and after 1940. mint officials considered putting Franklin on the dime bag in 1941, but the visualize was shelved due to grave demands on the Mint for coins as the United States entered World War II. During the war, the Mint contemplated adding one or more raw denominations of neologism ; Sinnock prepared a Franklin design in prediction of a modern issue, which did not occur. The dime was redesigned in 1946 to depict fallen President Franklin Roosevelt, who had been closely associated with the March of Dimes. The Walking Liberty design seemed antique to Mint officials, and the entirely other coin being struck which was eligible for successor was the Lincoln cent. Abraham Lincoln remained a beloved calculate, and Ross did not want to be responsible for removing him from the neologism. In 1947, Ross asked Sinnock to produce a design for a half dollar featuring Franklin. The headman engraver adapted his earlier work for the obverse. He had designed the decoration from a break of Franklin by Jean-Antoine Houdon. Sinnock based his plan for the turn back on the 1926 commemorative half dollar for the sesquicentennial ( hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary ) of american Independence. Numismatic writer Don Taxay late discovered that Sinnock had based his Liberty Bell ( as depicted on both the Sesquicentennial half dollar and the Franklin half ) on a sketch by John Frederick Lewis. Sinnock died in May 1947, before finishing the reverse design, which was completed by the raw head engraver, Gilroy Roberts. Similar to Sinnock ‘s work for the Roosevelt dime bag, the portrayal is designed along childlike lines, with Franklin depicted wearing a period suit. The small eagle on the reverse was added as an reconsideration, when Mint officials realized that the Coinage Act of 1873 required one to be displayed on all coins of greater prize than the dime. The Mint sought comments on the designs from the Commission of Fine Arts, which was provided with a lead hit of the obverse and a opinion of the revoke ; Taxay suggests they were shown a plaster model. On December 1, 1947, Commission chair Gilmore Clarke wrote to Ross saying that they had no objection to the obverse, in which they recognized Sinnock ‘s “ good craft ”. As for the reverse ,

The eagle shown on the model is so little as to be insignificant and hardly discernible when the model is reduced to the size of a coin. The Commission hesitate to approve the Liberty Bell as shown with the crack in the bell visible ; to show this might lead to puns and to statements derogative to United States neologism. The Commission disapprove the designs .

numismatist Paul Green late noted, “ Over the years there would probably have been even more puns and derogative statements if there had been an try to depict the bell without a crack. ” The Commission suggested a purpose contest under its auspices. Its recommendations, which were merely advisory, were rejected by the Treasury Department and the coin was approved by Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder, which Taxay ascribes to an unwillingness to dishonor Sinnock .

unblock and production [edit ]

On January 7, 1948, the Treasury issued a iron liberation announcing the new one-half dollar. The Commission ‘s disapproval went unreported ; alternatively the unblock noted that the design had been Ross ‘s idea and had received Secretary Snyder ‘s “ enthusiastic approval ”. The passing noted Franklin ‘s reputation for parsimony, and expressed hope that the half dollar would serve as a admonisher that excess cash should be used to purchase savings bonds and savings stamps. Franklin became the fifth person and first non-president to be honored by the issue of a regular-issue US coin, after Lincoln, Roosevelt, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In a speech given when she unveiled the blueprint in January 1948, Ross indicated that she had been urged to put Franklin on the cent because of his association with the proverb “ a penny saved is a penny earned ” ( in Franklin ‘s master, “ A penny saved is twopence dearly ”. ) Ross stated, “ You will agree, I believe, that the fifty-cent while, being larger and of flatware, lends itself a lot better to the production of an impressive consequence. ” On April 29, 1948, the day before the coin ‘s public release, Ross held a dinner party for 200 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia ; each guest received a Franklin half dollar in a card signed by Ross. The newly half dollars first went on sale at noon on April 30, 1948, the anniversary of George Washington ‘s 1789 inauguration as President. They were sold from a booth on the steps of the Sub-Treasury Building in New York, by employees of the Franklin Savings Bank dressed in Revolutionary-era dress .
The Roosevelt dime had been designed by Sinnock, and had provoked complaints by citizens viewing Sinnock ‘s initials “ JS ” on the coin as those of Joseph Stalin, placed there by some Kremlin infiltrator within the Mint. evening though Sinnock ‘s initials ( placed on the cutoff of Franklin ‘s break ) were expressed “ JRS ”, the Mint still received like complaints, to which they responded with what numismatic historian Walter Breen termed “ outraged official denials ”. According to The New York Times, “ People wrote in demanding to know how the Bureau of the Mint had discovered that Joe Stalin had a middle diagnose. ” Another rumor was that the small “ oxygen ” in “ of ” was an error, and that the coins would be recalled. This claim died more promptly than the Stalin rumor. After the character assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Congress and the Mint moved with great accelerate to authorize and produce a half dollar in protection to him. With the authority of the Kennedy half dollar on December 30, 1963, the Franklin one-half dollar series came to an end. Breen reports rumors of 1964 Franklin half dollars, produced possibly as trial strikes to test 1964-dated dies, but none has ever come to light. A total of 465,814,455 Franklin half dollars were struck for circulation ; in accession, 15,886,955 were struck in proof.

Collecting [edit ]

The Franklin half dollar was struck in relatively small numbers in its first gear years, as there was limit demand due to a flood of Walking Liberty halves. No one-half dollars were struck at Denver in 1955 and 1956 due to a miss of demand for extra pieces. The San Francisco Mint closed in 1955 ; it did not reopen until 1965. In 1957, with improved economic conditions, demand for the pieces began to rise. They were struck in much greater numbers beginning in 1962, which saw the start of the greatly increased demand for coins which would culminate in the bang-up coin dearth of 1964. No Franklin half dollar is rare today, as even low-mintage dates were widely saved. proof coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint from 1950. “ Cameo proof ”, with frost surfaces and mirror-like fields, were struck in belittled numbers and carry a agio. Just under 498 million Franklin half dollars, including proof, were struck .
Close-up of the “ Bugs Bunny ” variety of the Franklin half dollar There are only 35 different dates and mintmarks in the series, making it a relatively cheap collect project. A widely known kind is the 1955 “ Bugs Bunny “ half. This kind was caused by a die clash between an obverse die and a reversion die. The impact of the eagle ‘s wings on the other die caused a notice outside of Franklin ‘s mouth which, according to some, resembles buck teeth. The quality of half dollars struck by the Mint decreased in the late 1950s, caused by deterioration of the victor die from which working dies were made for neologism. In an initial attack to improve the quality of the pieces, the Mint made flimsy modifications to the designs, though both the old ( Type I ) and new ( Type II ) were struck in 1958 and 1959. One obvious dispute between the types is the number of long chase feathers on the eagle—Type I half dollars have four tail feathers, Type II only three. approximately 5-10 % of the 1958 Philadelphia neologism is Type II, struck from dies which were first used to strike the 1958 proof. About 70 % of the 1959 half dollars struck at Philadelphia are Type II ; all 1958-D and 1959-D half dollars are Type I. The Mint recut the overcome die before beginning the 1960 coinage, improving quality. An specially well-struck Franklin half dollar is said to have full bell lines. To qualify, the seven parallel lines making up the bottom of the bell must be in full visible, and the three wisp of hair’s-breadth to the right of Franklin ‘s ear on the obverse must besides amply show, and not blend together. many Franklins have been damaged by “ roll friction ” : the tendency of pieces in a easy mint roll to rub together repeatedly, causing steel-gray abrasions, normally on Franklin ‘s cheek and on the center of the Liberty Bell. By mintages, the key dates in this series are the 1948, 1949-S, 1953 and 1955. Franklin half dollars have been extensively melted for their silver, and many dates are rarer than the mintage figures indicate. For example, although more than nine million 1962 halves were struck for circulation, and an extra three million in proof, the mint was more valuable as bullion than in any condition when eloquent prices reached record levels in 1979–1980 .

coinage figures [edit ]

The Numismatist. The release of the Franklin half dollar was front-page news in the coin collecting world, as seen by the June 1948

Mintage figures
Year Philadelphia Mint Denver Mint San Francisco Mint
1948 3,006,814 4,028,500
1949 5,614,000 4,120,500 3,744,000
1950 7,793,509 (51,386) 8,031,600
1951 16,859,602 (57,500) 9,475,200 13,696,000
1952 21,274,073 (81,980) 25,395,600 5,526,000
1953 2,796,820 (128,800) 20,900,400 4,148,000
1954 13,421,502 (233,300) 25,445,580 4,993,400
1955 2,876,381 (378,200)
1956 4,701,384 (669,384)
1957 6,361,952 (1,247,952) 19,966,850
1958 4,917,652 (875,652) 23,962,412
1959 7,349,291 (1,149,291) 13,053,750
1960 7,715,602 (1,691,602) 18,215,812
1961 11,318,244 (3,028,244) 20,276,442
1962 12,932,019 (3,218,019) 35,473,281
1963 25,239,645 (3,075,645) 67,069,292

Note: Numbers in parentheses represent coins which were distributed in proof sets, which are besides included in the totals .

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