Honoring Benjamin Franklin

Posted by Derek Sawchenko on

Benjamin Franklin was many things; leading author, politician, printer, scientist, philosopher, inventor, civic activist and most importantly, he was one of the great men that founded this country. Because Franklin was all of these things and more, it was decided in 1948 that a coin would be created to honor him. This coin came to be the Franklin half dollar. The obverse of this coin features the bust of Benjamin Franklin, modeled from the original Jean-Antione Houdon bust, sculpted when Franklin was the ambassador of France. The reverse depicts the Liberty Bell as the main focal point and to the side of the bell is a small eagle. The eagle being depicted on a coin honoring Benjamin Franklin is a bit ironic as Franklin argued that the eagle should not be the symbol of our country. Franklin believed a more “noble” bird such as the turkey was a better fit. That being said, the eagle was not originally a part of John R. Sinnock’s design of this coin but was later added in accordance with U.S. law that states that all silver coins larger than the US. Dime must contain the image of an American eagle. Both the obverse and reverse designs for this coin were rejected by the Commission of Fine Arts as they were concerned that the crack on the Liberty Bell would result in derogatory remarks, but the coin was created anyway, and the Commission's concerns were never realized.
     Minted from 1948-1963, the lifespan of this coin was cut short due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In addition to the fact that these coins were only minted for a limited amount of time, many of these coins had also been melted down for bullion after 1964, due to the fact that their 90% silver content was worth more than 50 cents at the time.  Proof Franklin half dollars were minted from 1950-1963. All proof versions were minted in Philadelphia and therefore do not contain mint marks. Proof Franklin half dollars are usually found with fully brilliant surfaces. Sometimes the coins will be found with a cameo or deep cameo. The cameo effect on a proof coin is produced by the field having a mirror-like surface while the coin's devices have a frosted surface. Deep cameo simply means that there is a more dramatic contrast between the field and the devices of the coin. For any more information regarding this coin, please contact us online or give us a call at 516-218-2094! Certified Coin Consultants is always happy to hear from you. Like and follow us and Facebook and Twitter to be the first to know about new posts to our blog!

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