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Franklin Half Dollars – Key Dates & Varieties 

The Benjamin Franklin Half Dollar was first struck in 1948, after the Walking Liberty Half Dollar had been struck between 1916 and 1947. The Franklin Half Dollar coin was designed by Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock, of the United States Mint. It was struck through 1963 but was ended due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the public outcry for a coin to honor the slain President.  

The Franklin Half Dollar features a profile of Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, facing right with “LIBERTY” above, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” below and the date in the right open field in front of the portrait. The reverse depicts the Liberty Bell, housed in Philadelphia, with which Franklin is deeply associated. 

The Franklin Half Dollars are graded just as are other coins, but exceptionally well-struck specimens may also have what is called Full Bell Lines (FBL) which is when the horizontal lines at the bottom of the bell are full and unbroken. The coin must grade a minimum of MS-60 (Uncirculated) to receive this designation and it may dramatically increase the value.  

For this series, there are only a couple of key dates and major varieties so there is no real impediment to completing a collection of these coins. 

For more information on this coin series, read our article on the Franklin Half Dollar’s history.

Key Dates and Varieties

1949-D Franklin Half Dollar

Although this coin had 4,120,060 coins struck, it is a scarce date, but only in grades of MS-65 or higher. At the MS-65 level, its value is two to three times greater than an average Franklin Half. 

1950-D Franklin Half Dollar

Although more than 8 million coins of this date and mintmark were struck, it is a scarce coin in MS-65 and above. Most are plagued with marks and scuffs.  

1955 Franklin Half Dollar

The 1955 coin struck at the Philadelphia Mint had a very low mintage of only 2,498,181 coins. It is a bit more valuable in all grades. 

1955 Bugs Bunny Variety Half Dollar

There is a so-called “Bugs Bunny” variety of 1955 Franklin Half Dollar. It is a well-known variety where it appears that  the two front teeth of Franklin protrude outside his lips.

1955 Franklin Half Dollar Bugs Bunny Variety
Closeup of the protruding teeth

1960-D Franklin Half Dollar

This is another date that was struck in very large quantities for this series (18,215,812). Despite this, it is very scarce in MS-65 or higher grades to the tune of two to three times the value of a common date.

1961 Doubled Die Reverse Proof

This is a scarce error variety that was struck in Proof condition. There were 3,028,244 Proof coins struck. The reverse doubling is prominent on the “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” motto. This coin is quite rare and valuable.

1961 Doubled Die Reverse


Date MM Mintage Very Fine Abt Unc Gem Unc 
1949-D 4,120,600 $15 $40 $250 
1950-D 8,031,600 $15 $30 $170 
1955 2,498,181 $15 $20 $85 
1955 Bugs Bunny Unknown $20 $30 $100 
1960-D 18,215,812 $15 $20 $95 
1961 Dbl Die Rev 3,028,244 Proof $600 $3,000 
Common Date —- $15 $17 $35 

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