Franklin Half Dollar – Collector Availability

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The Franklin Half Dollar: A Short Mintage Series (1948-1954)

The Franklin half dollar series, minted from 1948 to 1954, holds a unique place in American coinage. These beautiful coins, depicting Benjamin Franklin, were intended to replace the Walking Liberty half dollar design. However, the series itself was short-lived due to dwindling demand for half dollars in general.

Mintage Makes a Difference

Here’s a quick rundown of the mintage numbers for each year of the Franklin half dollar series:

  • 1948: This is the key year of the series, with the lowest mintage at just over 1.8 million coins. Availability in higher grades like MS65 or above is especially scarce.
  • 1949: The mintage saw a jump to over 6 million, making them more available than 1948 coins.
  • 1950 & 1951: These years saw even higher mintages, exceeding 14 million coins each.
  • 1952: Production dipped slightly to around 9 million coins minted.
  • 1953 & 1954: The final two years saw mintages climb back above 13 million coins each.

Availability by Grade

Due to the short mintage window, Franklin half dollars in higher grades (MS65 and above) are generally less available than those in circulated grades. However, the 1948 issue, with its significantly lower mintage, stands out in terms of scarcity across all grades.

Here’s a generalized look at availability by grade:

  • Circulated Grades (VG-XF): Relatively common, especially for the later years (1950-1954)
  • Mid-Range Grades (AU): Less common, but still obtainable for most years.
  • High Grades (MS63+): Availability drops significantly, especially for 1948 coins. Finding these in top grades (MS67+) can be a challenge.

Finding Your Franklin Half Dollar

Whether you seek a circulated Franklin half dollar for your collection or a high-grade gem, reputable coin dealers and online marketplaces are your best bet. Remember, for scarcer coins like the 1948 issue, expect to pay a premium for higher grades.