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- Product ID: 3149
It took a lot of work for the Franklin Half Dollar to replace the beloved Walking Liberty Half in 1948. 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. Once the final design was finished, the Mint Director took it to the Commission of Fine Arts to get it approved. The Commission didn't appreciate the Liberty bell's crack being pictured, on the reverse, 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 Franklin design reveals a side portrait of Benjamin Franklin, with the coin's date of mintage next to it. The reverse depicts the famous Liberty Bell, with its crack down the middle, and also contains the coin's legal monetary denomination. Due to the Mint Act, passed when the first mint in the US was established, the US Mint was required to detail the coin's legal tender value on the actual coin. 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. In 1948, the Denver Mint produced just over 4,000,000 Benjamin Franklin Half Dollars and are a favorite for silver investors.