Franklin Half Dollar Overview
The Franklin Half Dollar doesn’t feature a president, but rather one of the most famous founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. The Franklin Half Dollar also features the iconic Liberty Bell on the reverse, another important icon of the early history of the United States.
In 1947, mint engraver John Sinnock was called upon to create a half dollar that memorialized Benjamin Franklin. Sinnock passed away with his design only partially completed. Gilroy Roberts, who became Sinnock’s successor, completed the remaining few elements of the Franklin Half Dollar.
The obverse of the coin features a bust of founding father Benjamin Franklin centered and facing right. The mottos, “LIBERTY” and IN GOD WE TRUST”, are found above and below the bust respectively. Under Franklin’s chin is where the date of mintage can be found.
On the reverse, The iconic Liberty Bell and it’s famous crack are centered with a small eagle to the right and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” to the left. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is centered along the edge of the coin, above the Liberty Bell. The coin's denomination, “HALF DOLLAR”, can be found centered below.
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 1960 Franklin Half Dollar
Since no mint mark is present above the Liberty Bell, the 1960 Franklin Half Dollar was minted at Philadelphia. During 1960, the Philadelphia Mint only produced 6,024,000 examples of the Franklin Half Dollar.
This mintage figure is much lower than most of the dates in the previous Walking Liberty Half Dollar series, which sometimes had 10’s of millions produced. Despite these low mintages, production would later rise to 22 million produced at the Philadelphia Mint in 1963.
Another interesting fact about the 1960 Franklin Half Dollar is that there were just under 1.7 million proof examples that were also minted at the Philadelphia Mint.
Full Bell Lines On The Franklin Half Dollar
One of the designations that can really increase the value of any Franklin Half Dollar is the Full Bell Lines (FBL) designation. This designation is only given out by third-party graders to uncirculated examples.
Full Bell Lines signify that a particular coin has an above average strike that has resulted in even the finest details being complete. To receive the FBL designation, a Franklin Dollar needs to be uncirculated and have all the lower bands of the bell intact and uninterrupted. Even a small nick or light area will disqualify a coin from FBL designation.
For most Franklin Half Dollars, an FBL designation is somewhat hard to achieve as many of the coins have strikes that are weak. A weak strike will leave parts of the bell lines incomplete or interrupted.
Collectors place a higher value on Franklin Half Dollars that feature FBL because it signifies a strong strike and minimal wear. Some dates can see double the price in the same grade compared to a regular non-FBL strike.
Valuing the 1960 Franklin Half Dollar
Valuing the 1960 Franklin Half Dollar is very easy because the silver value outweighs the numismatic value for most grades. Only Uncirculated examples have a value higher than the current melt value.
1960 Franklin Half Dollars are worth at the very least, $6.10 a the time of this writing. Any grade that is lower than Uncirculated 60 is only worth the current silver price.
For those examples that are in Uncirculated or above condition, the prices tend to be around $10 from MS-60 to MS-62 condition. At MS-63 condition, the price jumps to $16 and rockets to $85 in MS-65 condition. PCGS estimates that there are about 20,000 surviving 1960 Franklin Half Dollars that are in Uncirculated Condition.
Full Bell Line 1960 Franklin Half Dollars see elevated prices compared to regular strikes. A retail value of $11 and $30 is suggested for MS-60 and MS-65 examples respectively. In MS-65 condition, the price goes jumps to about $170.
Uncirculated Franklin Half Dollars are still actively sought after by most collectors because of their relative low mintages and entry level prices.