- Product ID: 3148
The coin world changed when Benjamin Franklin was placed on the obverse of the 1948 Half Dollar. He was the first non-Lady Liberty figure or president to be featured on US coinage. In the 1940's, the Mint Director, Nellie Tayloe Ross, was legally allowed to change the design of the half dollar, since the Walking Liberty had been in circulation for over 25 years. Ross greatly admired Franklin but was also aware of his distaste for portraits on US currency. Franklin once thought US coins should contain Proverbs, so the coin holder would have something to contemplate while looking upon the coin. Ross approached Mint Engraver, John R. Sinnock, the create a design of the Founding Father. At the turn of World War II, Sinnock had designed a commemorative of Franklin, which was never used. This previous design was used to help design the Franklin Half Dollar.
Franklin is a key leader in American history and mostly known for his technological advances when it came to electricity and the modern home. But this Founding Father was a jack of all trades and a scientist was only one of them. Franklin was also a renowned polymath, author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. His accomplishments earned him a lot of public attention but it wouldn't be until well after his death a Mint Director would want his portrait on US coinage. The obverse features the balding Founding Father, complete with his round head and reading spectacles. The reverse depicts an aging Liberty Bell, with the coin's legal tender value. The 1948 Franklin Half Dollar contains 90% silver and is in circulated condition, which ranges from good to AU condition. The Philadelphia Mint, once again, has its hand in the main production of this coin, producing millions each year.