- Product ID: 3171
The Franklin Half Dollar has a special place in the Philadelphia Mint's heart, since the pictures on the actual coin are native to the original capital of the US. The obverse design reveals a side portrait of Benjamin Franklin, with the coin's date of mintage next to it, knowing Franklin died in Philadelphia. The reverse depicts the famous Liberty Bell, with its crack down the middle, and also contains the coin's legal monetary denomination. The Commission of Fine Arts didn't actually approve of the Liberty bell's crack being pictured, on the reverse of the Franklin half dollar, in fear of it being ridiculed by the public. Although the design was not approved, the US Mint still minted it as the new design. The 1958 Franklin Half Dollar is considered to be in circulated condition, which ranges widely from good to almost uncirculated condition. Since Franklins are mainly sought after for their 90% silver content, collectors aren't picky about their condition when it comes to the half dollars.
Right before the Franklin Half Dollar was minted, 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. Ross approached the Mint Engraver, John R. Sinnock, and asked him to design a portrait of Franklin for the new half dollar. Sinnock used past designs of his to get the new half dollar underway but would not see the end result. Sinnock died before the completion of the Franklin Half Dollar, leaving it up to his successor, Gilroy Roberts, to finish the job.