- Product ID: 3155
The Franklin Half Dollar replaced the beloved Walking Liberty Half in 1948 and wowed the public with its honorary depiction of the late Founding Father. The Mint Director at the time, Nellie Tayloe Ross, long since admired Benjamin Franklin, so when it was time to replace the Walking Liberty, she knew which design would be next. While the Mint Director was a strong admirer of Benjamin Franklin, she knew her favorite Founding Father wasn't a fan of placing portraits on coins. Benjamin Franklin believed coins should exhibit a proverb, something for the coin holder to ponder when observing the currency. In her defense of placing Franklin on the next half dollar, Ross reminded numismatists that Franklin was only aware of the living royalty portraits and that having a Founding Father on the coin would deem honorable by Franklin.
Throughout his career, Franklin also made it clear how he viewed the eagle as a scavenger and not the symbolic figure of power everyone else admired about the bird of prey. He is quoted to have wanted the wild turkey to be the national bird, instead of the eagle, since he was a very practical man. Obviously, despite what the late Founding Father may have thought, Ross continued with the production of the Franklin Half Dollar. Another loop to jump through, the Commission of Fine Arts disliked the cracked Liberty bell on the reverse and were afraid of it being made fun of. Ross ignored their concerns and the Franklin Half Dollar was minted from 1948-1964. The 1951 Franklin Half Dollar is in circulated condition, ranging anywhere from good to almost uncirculated. The Franklin's 90% silver content is just another aspect to love about this series.