The US Mint produced Franklin half dollars from 1948 to 1963, when they were replaced by Kennedy’s half dollars, struck in memory and respect for the assassinated President. You can find two types of this coinage nowadays, specimens with and without Full Bell Lines.
The most valuable Franklin half dollars are those with the horizontal lines banding the Liberty Bell depicted on the reverse. As a rule, collectors use the FBL term only for uncirculated business-strike pieces since all proofs regularly exhibit Full Bell Lines.
Franklin Half Dollars
Three mints produced Franklin half dollars from 1948 to 1963, after the John R. Sinnock and Gilroy Roberts design. These coins made of 90% silver and 10% copper with reeded edges weigh 0.40188 troy ounces (12.50 g).
Their diameter is 1.2 inches (30.61 mm), and their thickness is 0.07087 inches (1.8 mm). Each piece contains 0.36169 troy ounces (11.25 g) of silver, meaning that it is always worth at least as much as the precious metal it is made of, regardless of the condition.
You can see Benjamin Franklin’s profile on the obverse with inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST along the rim. The date is struck on the right side.
The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and HALF DOLLAR surround the Liberty Bell. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM and small eagle are placed on the left and right sides.
Most Valuable Franklin Half Dollars
Almost all Franklin half dollars under extra fine conditions are worth $9.57, regardless of the minting year. Those in the mint state are more costly, and you should pay $40 to $610 for one. However, you can also find unique, rare, and error pieces that reach high prices at auctions. Let’s see.
The most valuable Franklin half dollars by PCGS
|Lots found||Year||Auction record|
|2977||1958 MS 66 FBL||$129,250|
|3420||1963 MS 66+ FBL||$85,187.50|
|3138||1953 S MS 66 FBL||$69,000|
|2351||1952 MS 67+ FBL||$42,300|
|2021||1950 MS 67+ FBL||$39,600|
|4139||1958 D MS 67+ FBL||$32,900|
|2055||1950 D MS 67 FBL||$32,400|
|3007||1949 S MS 67+ FBL||$31,725|
|2804||1953 D MS 67 FBL||$30,550|
|2292||1951 S MS 67 FBL||$30,550|
|3652||1948 MS 67 FBL||$28,750|
|2719||1960 MS 67 FBL||$28,200|
|1842||1951 MS 67+ FBL||$26,400|
|2070||1952 S MS 66 FBL||$25,850|
|3366||1954 D MS 67 FBL||$21,275|
|1962||1961 MS 66+ FBL||$18,000|
|1856||1962 MS 66 FBL||$17,825|
|3875||1963 D MS 67+ FBL||$16,800|
Most silver Franklin half dollars of 4,000,000 produced in the Philadelphia mint in 1958 are worth $9.33 to $46. Even though these coins are pretty common on the market, those with Full Bell Lines in the top grade of MS 67+ are precious.
The most expensive specimen is one of four certified this way. Its unique wild toning was so fantastic that one collector paid $129,250 for it at Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2018. For comparison, you should know that a similar piece in MS 66 grade without FBL was paid a modest $1,680 at an auction.
The Philadelphia mint produced 22,164,000 silver Franklin half dollars in 1963. Unlike most pieces worth $9.33 to $40, the top-notch 1963 MS 66+ FBL Franklin half-dollar was paid $85,187.50 at Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2019.
Most collectors believe that only spectacularly toned coins can reach high prices, but it is a beautiful exception. This brilliant specimen is untoned with fully defined Bell Lines, making it rare and highly graded.
The San Francisco mint struck 4,148,000 Franklin half dollars in 1953, but only rare pieces are highly graded. This particular specimen rated with MS 66 FBL won an auction record when one collector paid an astonishing $69,000 for it at Bowers & Merena auction in 2001.
Most coins produced this year are known for their low quality and weak details on the Liberty Bell. However, this one is in a group of fifty existing Full Bell Line half dollars.
Interestingly, it is the weakest struck but still the most expensive piece in the series. Another MS 66 FBL coin and only one existing MS 67 FBL were paid less, showing how deceptive auctions can be.
The 1952 MS 67+ FBL Franklin half-dollar is a rare coin minted in Philadelphia this particular year, worth more than the standard price of $9.34 to $74. One collector paid $42,300 for this specimen with unique and attractive color at Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2019.
Its antique golden hue with hints of teal, magenta, and hot-pink tones over smooth surfaces makes this piece one in a kind, and worth every cent spent. This beautiful coin got a CAC certificate thanks to the exceptional strike and bold bell lines.
The extraordinary 1950 MS 67+ FBL Franklin half-dollar is the highest graded coin in the series. Therefore, one collector paid a fantastic $39,600 for it at an auction in 2018.
Other half dollars of 7,742,123 minted in Philadelphia in 1950 are typically worth about $9.34 to $122. However, this piece stood out from the crowd, thanks to its beautiful and smooth surfaces with vivid cobalt blue, pink, and orange-gold toning.
Most of the 23,962,412 Franklin half dollars produced in the Denver mint in 1958 are worth $9.34 to $46. Only pieces with Full Bell Lines can reach a price of about $150.
The final price depends on the condition, but even the poorest coins are worth something, thanks to the silver content. The most expensive half-dollar minted this year is the 1958 MS 67+ FBL Franklin half-dollar paid $32,900 at an auction in 2020.
The Denver mint produced 8,031,600 Franklin half dollars in 1950, and their price on the current coin market is approximately $9.34 to $287. However, you should set aside $50 to $950 for rare Full Bell Line versions, depending on their condition.
The most expensive specimen struck this year is the MS 67 FBL1950 Franklin half-dollar, sold for $32,400 at Heritage Auctions in 2020.
Since the San Francisco mint produced 3,744,000 silver Franklin half dollars in 1949, their price is expectedly moderate. You can buy most pieces for $9.34 to $161, but those with Full Bell Lines are pricier. For instance, the auction winner reached an astonishing $31,725. This coin in MS 67+ FBL grade was sold at Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2018.
Most of the 20,900,400 Franklin half dollars minted in Denver in 1953 are worth $9.35 to $122. You can also find rare pieces with Full Bell Lines that typically cost $20 to $465, depending on line quality and coin grade.
However, this unique, highly certified specimen reached $30,550 at Goldberg Auctioneers in 2914, thanks to its timeless beauty.
The San Francisco mint produced 13,696,000 silver Franklin half dollars in 1951. You can find most pieces for $9.35 to $74, but those with Full Bell Lines can be expensive and reach approximately $7,000 to $9,000.
The 1951 MS 67 Franklin half-dollar is an excellent example of how good and poor days at an auction affect coins’ value. This one won an auction record in 2013 after reaching $30,550. On the other hand, a specimen in the same grade was paid only $1,495 in 2005.
The silver Franklin half-dollar minting started in 1948, and the Philadelphia mint produced 3,006,814 pieces that year. It was the first American coin featuring a real person who was not a President on the obverse.
Even though you can find most of these coins for $9.35 to $86, some can be precious and worth much more. For instance, one collector paid $28,750 for the 1948 MS 67 Franklin half-dollar at Bowers & Merena auction in 2003.
Most of the 1960 Franklin half dollars minted in Philadelphia are worth $9.35 to $113 on the market. They are different from previous mintages because the US Mint changed design quality, particularly visible on Ben’s more delicate hairlines.
Unlike most surviving coins of 6,024,000 minted, some better-quality ones can reach $4,500 on the open market. However, only this rare half dollar in MS 67 FBL is worth $28,200. One collector set aside such a sum of money for this beautiful piece at Heritage Auctions in 2016.
The Philadelphia mint produced 16,802,102 silver Franklin half dollars in 1951. Most survived pieces are worth $9.35 to $74.
However, this vividly toned coin won the auction record in 2019, when one collector paid $26,400 for it at an auction. Experts estimate that there are seven similar pieces worldwide, but only one is MS 67+ FBL, making it extremely rare.
The San Francisco mint reached a relatively high 5,526,000 Franklin half-dollar mintage in 1952. Nowadays, they typically cost $9.35 to $113, but you need to set aside $300 to $2,450 for pieces with Full Bell Line in uncirculated condition.
These coins are common in grades under MS 66 because they were often poorly struck on heavily worn dies. On the other hand, high-quality specimens are rare, so it is not surprising that one collector paid $25,850 for one piece rated MS 67 in 2014.
One stunning 1954 MS 67 Franklin half-dollar produced in Denver reached $21,275 at Heritage Auctions in 2002. The reason was its high grade, astonishing beauty, and soft pink toning.
However, only a few pieces of 25,445,580 produced are worth more than the typical $9.35 to $96, although coins from this mint came with a better strike than in the other two. If you are lucky, you can find one of the quality halves in uncirculated condition, estimated to be $4,850 to $12,000.
The Philadelphia mint produced 8,290,000 silver Franklin half dollars in 1961. Each piece is worth at least its weight in silver, despite its condition. Those in better grades typically cost $9.35 to $77, but those in pristine condition can reach about $1,150 on the open market.
Coins rated MS 65 can sell for approximately $100, while rare, well-preserved Doubled Die proof errors in the same grade are valued at $3,500. The most expensive specimen in the series is the one with Full Bell Lines in MS 66+, sold for $18,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2019.
Franklin half dollars minted in Philadelphia in 1962 are not rare thanks to the mintage of an impressive 9,714,000. You can expect to pay $9.35 to $96 for a piece, depending on the preservation level.
However, the 1962 MS 66 FBL Franklin half-dollar is a real gem and is considered one of the rarest specimens in all series produced in the 1960s. In 2004, one collector bought it at Heritage Auctions for $17,825.
In 1963, the Denver mint set a new record for half-dollar mintage after minting 67,069,292 Franklin half dollars. It was the last year this coin was produced before the US Mint replaced it with Kennedy half-dollars in honor of the assassinated President.
Collectors typically pay $9.35 to $46 for most coins with this date on the obverse. It is also not rare to see someone pay $1,550 for a quality, high-graded piece on the open market, but one gem, the 1963 MS 67+ FBL Franklin half-dollar, was sold at Heritage Auctions in 2019 for $16,800.
Most Franklin half dollars are worth only a few dollars nowadays, but sometimes you can get more on the open market. On the other hand, rare specimens with Full Bell Lines can reach high prices at auctions. It is crucial to differentiate FBL coins from non-FBL ones before looking for their costs.