1953 Franklin Half Dollar Overview
Benjamin Franklin was an important founding father of the United States whose suggested ideas for the government was revolutionary for the time. Americans today are still very familiar with Benjamin Franklin and his contributions to both science and democracy.
Mint chief engraver John Sinnock was tasked with creating a coin design that would commemorate Franklin for all of the work he did to help create the American Democratic system. Sinnock passed away before the design was completed, however, and Gilroy Roberts has to take over and complete the project in 1948. The same year, the Franklin Half Dollar would be put into production.
On the obverse of the coin, a bust of Franklin is centered, facing right. The mottos “LIBERTY” can be found centered above, while “IN GOD WE TRUST” is found centered at the bottom. Just to the right of Franklin’s chin is the year of mintage.
The Liberty Bell is centered on the reverse, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is positioned to the left and an eagle to the right. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” can be found centered above the Liberty Bell. The denomination “HALF DOLLAR” is centered at the bottom along the rim.
Each Franklin Half Dollar is composed of 90% silver and 10% copper. A diameter of 30.6 mm gives the coin a weight of 12.50 g. Reeding is present on the edge of the coin.
History of the 1953 Franklin Half Dollar
Mintage numbers for the Franklin half dollar in 1953 did not experience the large increase in mintages that would happen later on. Despite this, many examples still survive today in many different conditions.
The Philadelphia Mint reports striking a total of 2,668,000 Franklin Half Dollars in 1953. Ten times the amount of Franklin Half Dollars were minted at the Denver Mint during 1953. These coins are denoted with a “D” mint mark and are not covered in this article.
Only 128,000 proof examples of the 1953 Franklin Half Dollar were minted at Philadelphia. Although not covered in this article, the 1953 proof Franklin Half Dollar is an interesting piece of history for the mintage year 1953.
A Shift in Mints for the Franklin Half Dollar
Some US coin series see some type of change in mintage destination during the course of production. The Franklin Half Dollar was one such series, for which mintage duties were slowly moved from Philadelphia to Denver.
At the beginning of the series in 1948, mintage figures were almost equal at each facility. This continued to be the case until 1953, which is when a drastic shift in mintage locations occurred. More than 10 times the number of Franklin Half Dollars were minted in Denver that year.
From 1953 until the end of the series, the mintage responsibilities would remain the same, with Denver producing far more examples than Philadelphia. Part of the reason for the shift was because the Philadelphia Mint was also producing the Proof examples of the Franklin Half Dollar, which used more resources than a normal business strike.
Despite the large difference in mintages, both Philadelphia- and Denver-minted coins have relatively the same price. This means that collectors can put together collections without having to pay huge prices for Philadelphia examples. Prices given in the next section are only for Philadelphia-minted examples, but Denver examples are similar in price.
Pricing the 1953 Franklin Half Dollar
Although the Philadelphia-minted Franklin Half Dollars were outminted 10:1, the prices for most examples are relatively low. Even in the lowest grades, every 1953 Franklin Half Dollar is worth at least $6 in silver.
In the grades between Good 4 and Very Fine 20, each coin is worth $7.50. Extremely Fine 40 examples see a slight bump in price to $8.75. Most low-grade coins do not carry much of a premium, despite the fact that only 2.66 million were minted.
Uncirculated examples are generally worth much more but are still relatively cheap. An MS-60 and MS-63 example is worth $22 and $38, respectively. A jump to $125 is seen when an examples grades MS-65.
1953 Franklin Half Dollars that are able to get the Full Bell Lines designation are worth a premium to regular uncirculated examples. Most collectors of high-grade Franklin Half Dollars only purchase coins that have Full Bell Lines.