- Product ID: 3156
Usually associated with his efforts towards electricity, Benjamin Franklin was jack of many trades. He was also a renowned polymath, author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. His accomplishments earned him a lot of public attention but it wouldn't be until well after his death a Mint Director would want his portrait on US coinage. The Franklin design is considered controversial since Franklin himself was against portraits on coins. He was also against the bald eagle and deemed the wild turkey a better fit for the country. The obverse features the balding Founding Father, complete with his round head and reading spectacles. The reverse depicts an aging Liberty Bell, with the coin's legal tender value.
Nellie Tayloe Ross, the Mint Director from 1933-1953, 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. At the turn of World War II, Sinnock had designed a commemorative of Franklin, which was never used. This previous design was used to help design the Franklin Half Dollar. The 1951-D Franklin Half Dollar is in circulated condition, and its exact condition can range anywhere from good to almost uncirculated. The Denver Mint marks all its coins with the "D" mint-mark, which can be found on the reverse of the Franklin Half Dollars.