- Product ID: 3151
Nellie Tayloe Ross, the Mint Director from 1933-1953, was well aware of Benjamin Franklin's stance on having portraits on US money. He thought it would be better to have Proverbs written on each coin, providing a contemplative thought for the coin holder. Ross defended her decision by saying that Franklin was only familiar with royalty portraits and that a Founding Father, like himself, would be honored to be featured. Franklin is also known for suggesting the wild turkey be the US national bird, since the Bald Eagle is viewed as a scavenger. The obverse presents the legend, Benjamin Franklin, with the "JRS" initials underneath his shoulder. The reverse contains the cracked Liberty Bell, since Philadelphia is where Franklin died, and a small eagle to its right. Since it was minted at the Denver Mint, a "D" mint-mark is placed underneath the bell. The 1949-D Franklin Half Dollar is in circulated condition, ranging from good to AU condition.
The Franklin Half Dollar was abundantly minted from 1948-1963, before being replaced by the Kennedy Half Dollar. The Mint Director, Nellie Tayloe Ross, has admired Benjamin Franklin, and worked hard for years to get his face on US coinage. At the brink of World War II, the Mint Engraver, John R. Sinnock, designed both a Franklin commemorative and a Franklin dime, which neither saw production. When the Walking Liberty Half Dollar had seen over 30 years of production, Ross knew it was Franklin's time to be featured on the obverse of the new half dollar. Sinnock used the inspiration from both of his designs to create the half dollar but died before its completion. Underneath Franklin's shoulder, Sinnock's initials are etched, JRS. The US Mint was accused of putting Joseph Stalin's initials on the half dollar, but it was clear that Stalin's middle name did not start with the letter "R." The US Mint kept Sinnock's initials on the obverse through the entire minting of the Franklin Half Dollar.