18 Most Valuable Franklin Half Dollars Worth Money

Between the years 1948 and 1963, a unique half-dollar coin was minted in the United States. These coins, dedicated to Benjamin Franklin, were succeeded by the Kennedy half dollars, a tribute to the slain President. Interestingly, collectors have noted two distinctive variations in the coin, primarily based on the design details of the Liberty Bell, engraved on the back of the coin.

The highly sought-after versions are those where horizontal striations adorn the image of the Liberty Bell. It is worth noting that these striations, or Full Bell Lines as they’re often called, are only used to classify mint condition coins that were intended for circulation. Proofs of these coins, however, always exhibit the Full Bell Lines.

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Detailed Description of the Benjamin Franklin Half-Dollar

The Benjamin Franklin half-dollar coins have an interesting lineage. Crafted following the designs of John R. Sinnock and Gilroy Roberts, these coins were made by three distinct U.S. mints from 1948 to 1963. These substantial pieces of metal consist of a blend of 90% silver and 10% copper, contributing to their mass of approximately 12.5 grams (or around 0.40188 troy ounces).

With a diameter measuring approximately 30.61 mm (or about 1.2 inches) and a thickness of roughly 1.8 mm (or 0.07087 inches), these coins command a physical presence. Each coin houses about 11.25 grams (or 0.36169 troy ounces) of silver, ensuring that its value will never dip below the current silver market price, regardless of its physical state.

The design on the coin’s face features a portrait of Benjamin Franklin, encircled by the words LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. The date of minting is engraved on the right side of the coin.

Turning the coin over reveals the iconic Liberty Bell, flanked by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and HALF DOLLAR. You’ll also find the Latin phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM inscribed on the coin, as well as an image of a small eagle, the national bird of the United States.

Noteworthy Franklin Half Dollars: A Closer Look

The Franklin half dollar coin, a popular collector’s item, typically fetches $9.57 when it’s in a grade below ‘extra fine’. However, coins that remain in mint condition command a heftier price tag, ranging from $40 to a steep $610, depending on the specific coin. But where the real treasure lies is in the hunt for those elusive, one-of-a-kind coins, marked by their rarity or minting anomalies. These extraordinary pieces can command astonishing sums when they go under the hammer. Let’s delve deeper.

The Franklin Half Dollar Elite: A PCGS Study

Now, let’s look at a tabulation of the crème de la crème among Franklin half dollars as certified by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). The categories are divided into the number of occurrences, the year of minting with the specific grading, and the record-breaking auction prices achieved.

Quantity Unearthed Minting Year and Grade Auction Peak
2977 1958 MS 66 FBL $129,250
3420 1963 MS 66+ FBL $85,187.50
3138 1953 S MS 66 FBL $69,000
2351 1952 MS 67+ FBL $42,300
2021 1950 MS 67+ FBL $39,600
4139 1958 D MS 67+ FBL $32,900
2055 1950 D MS 67 FBL $32,400
3007 1949 S MS 67+ FBL $31,725
2804 1953 D MS 67 FBL $30,550
2292 1951 S MS 67 FBL $30,550
3652 1948 MS 67 FBL $28,750
2719 1960 MS 67 FBL $28,200
1842 1951 MS 67+ FBL $26,400
2070 1952 S MS 66 FBL $25,850
3366 1954 D MS 67 FBL $21,275
1962 1961 MS 66+ FBL $18,000
1856 1962 MS 66 FBL $17,825
3875 1963 D MS 67+ FBL $16,800

This comprehensive list gives you a peek into the world of coin collecting and the potential value of these seemingly ordinary half dollars. As you can see, coins from various years and mints, graded differently by PCGS, can dramatically vary in their market price. Happy coin hunting!

The Exclusive Story of Three Renowned Franklin Half Dollars

The Franklin half dollar possesses a rich history, notably exemplified by three distinctive editions.

The Unique 1958 Gem with Full Bell Lines

While the Philadelphia mint generated approximately four million silver Franklin half dollars in 1958, the allure lies in the few minted with the Full Bell Lines design in an impressive MS 67+ grade. Typically, such coins fall within the range of $9.33 to $46. However, one strikingly toned sample from this batch stands above the rest.

Known as one of the four specimens distinguished with the MS 67+ FBL grade, this coin boasts a mesmerizing and extraordinary toning. It was so alluring that it fetched a staggering $129,250 at the Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2018, dwarfing the modest $1,680 paid for an equivalent piece graded MS 66 sans the FBL.

The Radiant 1963 Franklin Half Dollar with Untoned Beauty

In 1963, the Philadelphia mint produced over 22 million silver Franklin half dollars. Though many of these coins are typically worth between $9.33 to $40, there is one standout that smashed expectations. The beautiful MS 66+ FBL grade coin from this year, remarkable for its untouched purity and crisp Bell Lines, was sold at Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2019 for an impressive $85,187.50.

This coin busts the myth that only coins with a spectacular toning can command high prices, making it a glittering exception to the rule.

The Unusual 1953 S Franklin Half Dollar – An Exception to Quality

1953 saw the San Francisco mint produce over four million Franklin half dollars. This year, however, is notorious for the low-quality coins and lackluster detail on the Liberty Bell, making higher graded pieces extremely rare.

An MS 66 FBL specimen from this year astonishingly fetched $69,000 at a Bowers & Merena auction in 2001, setting a record. Despite being the weakest struck among approximately fifty existing Full Bell Line half dollars, this coin’s unique characteristics rendered it the priciest in its series. Intriguingly, another MS 66 FBL and the only known MS 67 FBL fetched lesser prices, illustrating how unpredictable the auction environment can be.

The Illustrious 1952 Franklin Half-Dollar in Mint State 67+ Full Bell Lines

In 1952, Philadelphia had the privilege of minting a Franklin half-dollar that would eventually exceed its conventional price range of $9.34 to $74 by an unimaginable margin. Such a piece, graded Mint State 67+ Full Bell Lines, piqued the interest of a particular collector in 2019. This discerning individual saw the value behind its mesmerizing color palette and splurged an astounding $42,300 at the Legend Rare Coin Auctions to claim it.

Bathed in an old-world gold patina, sprinkled with shades of teal, magenta, and vibrant hot-pink across its sleek surface, this coin is nothing less than a numismatic work of art. Further solidifying its worth, it proudly holds a CAC certificate, a testament to the impressive strike quality and clearly defined bell lines.

The Prestigious 1950 Franklin Half-Dollar in Mint State 67+ Full Bell Lines

The year 1950 brought forth another treasure from Philadelphia’s mint—a Franklin half-dollar. This coin distinguishes itself by being the highest graded in its series, achieving the coveted Mint State 67+ Full Bell Lines status. A passionate collector, recognizing the coin’s supreme quality, parted with an impressive $39,600 during a 2018 auction to secure this extraordinary piece.

Out of the 7,742,123 half dollars minted in 1950, this coin rises above the rest, boasting a value far beyond its usual $9.34 to $122 range. What sets it apart? Its impeccably smooth surface presents a captivating dance of colors, intertwining cobalt blue, delicate pink, and orange-gold tones.

The Treasured 1958 Denver Mint Franklin Half Dollar

Emerging from the famed Denver Mint in 1958, the Franklin half dollars are a treasure for collectors. Among the batch of nearly 24 million coins, most carry a value between approximately $10 and $50. However, the gems among them are those with fully-struck, clear Bell lines that can garner a valuation of around $150.

The coin’s final worth hinges on its quality and state. Even the ones faring poorly on this front have a base value, thanks to their silver composition. The record-breaking specimen of this year, an impeccable MS 67+ FBL Franklin half dollar, fetched an impressive sum of $32,900 at a 2020 auction.

The Esteemed 1950 Denver Mint Franklin Half Dollar

In the early half of the 1950s, specifically in 1950, the Denver Mint created over 8 million Franklin half dollars. These coins presently command a range of $10 to almost $300 in the market. The rare pieces bearing distinct Bell lines vary considerably in worth, and depending on their quality, you might have to allocate $50 to nearly $1,000 to secure one.

The cream of the crop, an immaculate MS 67 FBL Franklin half dollar from 1950, was auctioned at Heritage Auctions for a commendable $32,400 in 2020.

The Remarkable 1949 San Francisco Mint Franklin Half Dollar

The San Francisco Mint in 1949 produced less than 4 million silver Franklin half dollars, and their value in today’s market is relatively moderate. Most can be procured for between $10 and around $160. However, the ones displaying the Full Bell Lines command a higher premium. For example, a coin that achieved the MS 67+ FBL grade managed to fetch a hefty $31,725 at a Legend Rare Coin Auctions event in 2018.

The Distinguished 1953 D MS 67 FBL Franklin Half Dollar

The Denver mint put forth an impressive 20,900,400 Franklin half dollars in 1953. Most of these coins, bearing the impressive image of Benjamin Franklin, hold a modest value ranging from about ten to a little over a hundred dollars. Among these, however, there are some scarce gems boasting Full Bell Lines, commanding prices from around $20 to a substantial $465, depending on their condition and line clarity. The star of the show was one particular coin, whose aesthetic allure earned it a substantial bid of $30,550 in a 2914 auction at Goldberg Auctioneers.

The Remarkable 1951 S MS 67 FBL Franklin Half Dollar

In 1951, the San Francisco mint took their turn at producing the silver Franklin half dollars, with a total of 13,696,000 entering circulation. You can generally acquire these coins at a price between ten and seventy-four dollars. However, if you’re a fan of Full Bell Lines, you might have to dig deeper into your pocket, with prices escalating to a potential $7,000 to $9,000. There’s a fascinating story attached to the 1951 MS 67 Franklin half-dollar, demonstrating how the whims of the auction world can greatly impact a coin’s value. The very same coin fetched a high bid of $30,550 in 2013, yet another of equal grade fell short, selling for a mere $1,495 in 2005.

The Groundbreaking 1948 MS 67 FBL Franklin Half Dollar

1948 marked the inception of the silver Franklin half-dollar, with the Philadelphia mint producing the inaugural 3,006,814 pieces. The Franklin half-dollar is particularly notable as it was the first American coin to display a non-presidential figure on the front. Most of these coins are usually valued from around ten to just under ninety dollars. Yet, there are those that are considerably more valued due to their rarity and pristine condition. One such example is the 1948 MS 67 Franklin half-dollar, which one passionate collector purchased for a hefty $28,750 at a Bowers & Merena auction in 2003.

The Remarkable History of the 1960 MS 67 FBL Franklin Half Dollar

Most of the 1960 Franklin half dollars produced in Philadelphia can be procured for a price anywhere between $9.35 and $113. A striking feature of these coins is the altered design quality that became evident in 1960, with Benjamin Franklin’s hairlines showcased in a more delicate manner than before.

Out of the total 6,024,000 coins manufactured, only a few managed to stand out in terms of quality, demanding prices upwards of $4,500. Nonetheless, the real gem of this collection is the rare MS 67 FBL half dollar, which fetched a staggering $28,200 at Heritage Auctions in 2016, having enamored a collector with its allure.

The Esteemed 1951 MS 67+ FBL Franklin Half Dollar

In 1951, the Philadelphia mint took on the task of producing 16,802,102 Franklin half dollars in silver. Most of these relics are priced between $9.35 and $74 today.

However, there was one coin that broke all records in 2019 for its eye-catching tonal quality. This half dollar was auctioned for an impressive $26,400, garnering the admiration of a dedicated collector. There are an estimated seven such coins globally, but the rarity lies in finding one that is MS 67+ FBL, making it a true collector’s prize.

The Prestigious 1952 S MS 66 FBL Franklin Half Dollar

In 1952, the San Francisco mint achieved an impressive figure of 5,526,000 Franklin half-dollar mintages. The price for these coins today typically ranges from $9.35 to $113. However, if one desires a Full Bell Line in pristine condition, it would require an investment between $300 and $2,450.

Interestingly, these coins are fairly common in grades below MS 66 because the striking was often executed on heavily used dies, affecting the overall quality. Contrastingly, high-grade specimens are a rarity. This fact was underscored in 2014 when a collector parted with $25,850 to secure an MS 67 rated specimen.

1954 Franklin Half Dollar, Denver Mint, Graded MS 67 FBL

In 2002, a particularly attractive Franklin half-dollar, minted in 1954 in Denver, sold for an impressive $21,275 at a Heritage Auction. Its allure lay not only in its excellent grade and intrinsic beauty but also in its delicate blush-toned patina.

With a production volume of 25,445,580, the value of most of these coins ranges between $9.35 and $96, though the Denver mint’s reputation for producing well-struck coins lends them a bit more value. Should you stumble upon a well-preserved, uncirculated specimen, its value might surprise you, ranging from $4,850 to a staggering $12,000.

1961 Franklin Half Dollar, Philadelphia Mint, Graded MS 66+ FBL

A sizeable batch of 8,290,000 silver Franklin half dollars were released from the Philadelphia mint in 1961. Each coin holds value equivalent to its weight in silver, regardless of its state. Regular coins in good condition are priced between $9.35 and $77, while those in immaculate condition can fetch around $1,150 on the open market.

Coins with an MS 65 grade are generally sold for around $100. However, rare MS 65 specimens featuring doubled die proof errors can command a hefty $3,500. The crown jewel of this series is a Full Bell Lines coin graded MS 66+, which fetched a monumental $18,000 at a Heritage Auction in 2019.

1962 Franklin Half Dollar, Philadelphia Mint, Graded MS 66 FBL

There’s no shortage of Franklin half dollars from 1962, with the Philadelphia mint having churned out an impressive 9,714,000 of them. The cost of a regular coin can fall anywhere between $9.35 and $96, depending on its condition.

The stand-out piece, however, is the 1962 MS 66 FBL Franklin half-dollar. Its rarity sets it apart from other coins in the 1960s series, and a lucky collector acquired it for $17,825 at a Heritage Auction in 2004.

A Noteworthy Episode in the Story of Franklin Half Dollars: The 1963 D MS 67+ FBL

In the annals of American numismatics, 1963 was a remarkable year. The Denver Mint, one of the United States’ primary coin production facilities, broke previous records by creating over 67 million Franklin half dollars. This particular year marked the end of an era as these coins were replaced by the Kennedy half dollars the following year, a tribute to the late president.

A typical Franklin half dollar coin from 1963 will commonly change hands in the collector’s market for sums between $9.35 and $46. However, coins of a superior quality, particularly those that have been well-graded, can command prices as high as $1,550. But there’s a unique jewel among these coins: the 1963 D MS 67+ FBL Franklin half-dollar, a coin that shines for its quality and rarity. One of these treasures found a new home in 2019 through Heritage Auctions, fetching an impressive $16,800.

Read More: 26 Most Valuable Half Dollar Coins In Circulation

In Conclusion

While the majority of Franklin half dollars may only hold a modest monetary value today, there are exceptions to every rule. If you were to unearth a Franklin half dollar with a clear depiction of the Full Bell Lines (FBL), the value of that coin could rise significantly in the collector’s market. It is imperative to be able to discern between FBL coins and their counterparts without the FBL distinction when evaluating their potential worth.