- Product ID: 3173
The Franklin Half Dollar was minted from 1948-1963, with pretty large mintages each year. These large mintages do affect the half dollar's numismatic value but as investors have found, the real value is in their 90% silver content. There is a law that unless the US Mint took congressional action, then a coin must be in service for 25 years before being replaced. Since the Walking Liberty Half Dollar served longer than 25 years, the Mint Director didn't need permission to move onto a new design. The design she chose was of Benjamin Franklin, which was originally going to be used on a dime in 1941. The Mint Engraver, John R. Sinnock, designed this dime that never was produced and wouldn't be taken out until the new Franklin Half Dollar would be released. Although Franklin himself despised portraits on US coins, the Mint Director promised he was only referring to royalty portraits and he would be honored to be featured on the coin. Franklin has been quoted saying he would rather a proverb be featured so collectors can have something to ponder while holding the coin.
Aside with disagreeing to having portraits on coins, Franklin also disagreed with the Bald Eagle being the national bird. He claimed among numismatist lore, that the eagle was only viewed as a scavenger. Being the logical man he was, Franklin offered the wild turkey to stand as the nation's brave bird. Obviously, he didn't get too far with that idea and the eagle accompanies the Liberty Bell on the reverse of every Franklin Half Dollar. Benjamin Franklin, distinctly recognizable, is featured prominently on the obverse, with the coin's date of mintage also present. The 1959 Franklin Half Dollar is in circulated condition and was minted by the Philadelphia Mint, which stands as the original US mint facility.