1958 Franklin Half Dollar: Learn How To Grade The Franklin Half Dollar

Franklin Half Dollar Overview

Made to commemorate the Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Half Dollar has been a favorite of collectors for decades. With a simple pleasing obverse and reverse design, it's no wonder that most collectors have an extensive collection of Franklin Half Dollars.

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John Sinnock, who was the chief engraver at the time, started work on the Franklin Half Dollar but passed away before completing the design. Gilroy Roberts was able to complete the rest of Sinnock’s design, and in 1948, the Franklin Half Dollar was put into production.

Sinnock’s design featured a bust of Ben Franklin facing right on the obverse of the coin. The word “LIBERTY” can be found above the bust and “IN GOD WE TRUST” can be found below. The date of mintage can be found directly below Franklin’s chin.

The reverse of the coin seems a little more cluttered with the main design of the Liberty Bell and a small eagle to the right. “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be seen at the left. The mottos, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “HALF DOLLAR”, can be found above and below the Liberty Bell respectively. If minted at Denver, the mint mark of “D” would be found just above the Liberty Bell.

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 grams. Reeding is present on the edge of the coin.

History of the 1958 Franklin Half Dollar

In 1958, the Franklin Half Dollar was minted at both the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, with a mint mark present only if the coin was made in Denver. If a 1958 Franklin Half Dollar was minted at Philadelphia, it will have no mint mark.

In 1958, the Philadelphia Mint reports striking only 4,042,000 examples of the Franklin Half Dollar. This is almost six times less than what was struck at the Denver Mint. It was very common at the time that the Philadelphia Mint produced less Franklin Half Dollars than the Denver Mint.

Another interesting fact about the 1958 Franklin Half Dollar is that 875,652 proof examples were also minted at Philadelphia.

1958 Half Dollar

Image Source Flickr user Kyle Van Horn

Grading Franklin Half Dollars

Since the prices of coins are normally directly related to what condition that they are in, coin collectors regularly use a scale from 1-70 to assign a “grade”

The grading scale works with a “1” being a coin that can just barely be identified and “70” being a “perfect coin”. Knowing where your Franklin Half Dollar falls on this scale can definitely help you get a more accurate price for your coin.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow to help you accurately grade your Franklin Half Dollar:

  • Uncirculated 60 - No signs of wear present and coin has full mint luster. Contact marks could be present but are not overly distracting.

  • Uncirculated 63 - A coin that has a more consistent and possibly brighter mint luster than in Uncirculated 60. Only a couple contact marks are present in spots that are not very noticeable.

  • Uncirculated 65 - Very strong mint luster with great eye appeal. Only a couple scattered contact marks that are almost not visible. Strike may be of higher quality.

  • Uncirculated 67 - Really strong and unbroken mint luster that definitely has good eye appeal. One or perhaps two very small hairline contact marks. Overall a superb coin.

Only Uncirculated Franklin Half Dollar examples have a real numismatic value higher than silver value. By using these guidelines, you should be able to get an idea as to where your Uncirculated Franklin Half Dollar will fall.

Valuing the 1958 Franklin Half Dollar

As stated earlier, only Uncirculated 1958 Franklin Half Dollars are worth more than their silver value. Any grades lower are still worth what the silver content of the coin is. At the time of this writing, each lower-grade Franklin Half Dollar is worth $7.50 in silver value.

Those examples that are in Uncirculated condition do have a premium over silver value. 1958 Franklin Half Dollars in MS-60 condition are valued slightly over melt value and are worth $9. Premium Uncirculated grades like MS-63 and MS-65 are worth $16 and $42 respectively.

A huge jump is seen between MS-65 and MS-67 condition, with prices jumping to $500 for an MS-67 example.

If you have a 1958 Franklin Half Dollar with an exceptional strike that features Full Bell Lines on the reverse, it will be worth much more. Most prices are doubled over a non-Full Bell Line designated coin. A third-party grader will be needed to determine if your Franklin Half Dollar does indeed have Full Bell Lines.

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