Do you own an old coin adorned with the portrait of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin? If yes, you might be wondering how much can you sell the coin for. Well, you’re at the right place!
In this post, we’ll discuss 1959 Franklin dollars. We’ll learn more about their specifications, their value, as well as several factors that affect their value. Especially if you want to grade the coin, this post is a must-read!
So, if the date on the coin’s obverse reads ‘1959,’ continue reading!
What Are 1959 Franklin Half Dollars?
In 1964, the last 90% silver half-dollar coin, the Kennedy half dollar, replaced the Ben Franklin half dollar.
Features of 1959 Franklin Half Dollars
The obverse side of a Franklin half-dollar coin features Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. Likewise, the coin’s reverse side is decorated with a Liberty Bell with a small eagle on the right side of the bell, as it was imperative at the time that a half-dollar coin feature an eagle.
Two great minds have worked to put together this design. While the primary duty was of the Chief Engraver, John R. Sinnock, Gilroy Roberts had to take over due to Sinnock’s death. On the obverse side of Ben Franklin half dollars, ‘JRS’initials can be witnessed on the cutoff at Franklin’s shoulder.
Furthermore, an interesting fact about the reverse Liberty Bell is that it was based on a sketch by John Frederick Lewis, an English Orientalist painter.
1959 Franklin coins were composed of 90% Silver and 10% Copper. The total mass of the coin is 12.50 gm, in which the mass of the silver is approximately 11.25 gm. These half dollars were 1.8 mm thick and had a 30.61 mm diameter. The edge of these coins was reeded.
While Franklin half dollars were minted in the Philadelphia Mint, the San Fransisco Mint, and the Denver Mint, only two of the minting facilities were used to strike 1959 Ben Franklin half dollars.
You’ll find a small ‘D’ right in between the letter ‘E’ in ‘STATES’ and the bell on the reverse side of the coin. As usual, the Philadelphia minted 1959 Franklin silver coins lack mintmark.
Which Mints Made 1959 Franklin Half Dollars?
6.2 million 1959 Franklin half dollars were minted in the Philadelphia Mint. Moreover, 1,149,291 Proof Franklin half dollars were also minted in this minting facility this year.
In 1959, 13,053,750 Franklin half dollars were minted in the Denver Mint. This mintage number is higher than the average in the Franklin series, and therefore, 1959-D half dollars aren’t deemed too scarce.
Reasons For Minting 1959 Franklin Half Dollars
It is speculated that the Sinnock’s Ben Franklin medal design in 1933 is what gave at time Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross the idea to produce Ben Franklin coins. In fact, Ross prized Franklin and wanted to honor the Founding Father.
In the unveiling event of January 1948, Ross mentioned how she wanted to put Franklin’s portrait in cents. She wanted to honor Franklin’s saying, ‘A penny saved is twopence dear’, meaning a penny saved is a penny earned.
However, Ross did not want to remove America’s beloved Abraham Lincoln from the coinage as Lincoln Cents were running at the time. She mentioned in the speech that half dollars being bigger and of silver will make sure in impressive production and mintage.
Finally, Franklin silver half dollars were released on 30th April 1948 and were minted until 1963. Therefore 1959 Franklin half dollar mintage was simply another issue of half dollars honoring Ben Franklin and supplying money for the circulation.
What Factors Influence The Value of 1959 Franklin Half Dollars?
Errors and Rarities:
A few curved clip and doubled die errors in 1959 Ben Franklin Half Dollars have been identified. While a typical About Uncirculated 1959 half dollar costs you around $18, this curved clip is priced at $69.99.
Likewise, Full Bell Lines in 1959 Franklin half dollars are also deemed very scarce. For instance, while a typical MS67 1959 half dollars cost you around $1,500, the Full Bell Lines version of the coin is worth $12,000 and above.
The latest auction price for NGC graded MS 67 1959 Franklin half dollar, FBL was $10,800, and the current PCGS price estimation is $35,000.
- Uncirculated (MS):
Uncirculated coins are the most preserved ones. You can witness no signs of wear, and the original mint luster is evident on the entire coin surface.
You might notice some minor scratches and damage on lower uncirculated grades such as MS60 to MS63. As the grades go up, the coins gear towards perfection. Uncirculated graded coins rightfully come with significantly higher price tags.
- About Uncirculated (AU):
In About Uncirculated 1959 Franklin half dollars, there will be signs of circulation and wear on the high points of the coins, such as on Ben Franklin’s cheek and the chin on the obverse, and the text on the bell on the reverse.
The luster on these coins is somewhat preserved while still very delicate and easily removable. In uncirculated coins, luster doesn’t break when rotating a source of light from above. On the other hand, in AU coins, the slight remaining luster is discontinuous.
- Extremely Fine (XF):
The satin luster from the mint frost is undetectable in Extremely Fine coins. Fine details on the hair and on the bell are still visible.
However, you might notice the flattening of the coin on Franklin’s cheek and forehead area. Overall, while the structural integrity is decently preserved, you’ll notice dullness and flattening in XF coins.
- Very Fine (VF):
The crack on the bell on the reverse of a 1959 Franklin half dollar is still slightly visible. However, the rest of the fine details are now removed due to the circulation. You’ll notice distinct flattening on Franklin’s face and head.
- Good (G):
In good coins, only the major structural details of the coins remain. While grading this coin, you should notice the flattening of the texts on the coin and merging the texts to the rim. These coins are very affordable relative to MS grades and are often traded in bullion values.
Finally, how well maintained and clean your coin is presented at the selling portal, and auctions also play a role in determining your coin’s worth. Keeping your coin clean and well-maintained appeals to the buyers the best.
Value of 1959 Franklin Half Dollars
The face value of a 1959 silver half dollar is 50 Cents. As of 21st April 2022, its melt value, or the minimum value, is $9.81.
Below is the Franklin Half dollar value chart for circulated conditions: Good (G-6), Very Fine (VF-20), Extremely Fine (XF-40), and About Uncirculated (AU-50).
Please note that all of the values are simply an estimation of 1959 Franklin half dollar worth around the date of curation of this article, and therefore, the prices are subject to changes. The resources we used to build this table are PCGS and online coin buying/selling sites.
|Franklin Half Dollars||Good (G-6)||Very Fine (VF-20)||Extremely Fine (XF-40)||About Uncirculated (AU-50)|
Likewise, here’s another table for Franklin silver half dollars in uncirculated MS states. As you can see from this estimated data, uncirculated Franklin coins demand much greater value than the circulated ones.
|Franklin Half Dollars||MS60||MS63||MS64||MS65||MS66||MS66+||MS67||MS67+||MS68|
Unlike the majority of years where the Proof (PR) coins were more valuable than the circulated/uncirculated ones, in 1959, Franklin Half Dollars, PR coins were relatively affordable.
It is because 1.1 million Proof coins were minted this year, well-struck and well-preserved. Thus, fortunately, 919,000 of these coins have survived to date. Here’s a chart for
|Franklin Half Dollars||PR60||PR63||PR64||PR65||PR66||PR66+||PR67||PR67+||PR68|
|1959 – Proof||$16||$20||$25||$35||$40||N/A||$125||N/A||$725|
|1959 – CAM||N/A||N/A||$70||$125||$250||$325||$650||$825||$2,500|
|1959 – DCAM||N/A||N/A||N/A||$2,500||$4,000||$7,250||$15,000||N/A||N/A|
So, towards which grade is your 1959 Franklin half dollar leaning? Lucky you in case you find yourself a high MS/PR grade Franklin half dollars! You might have known by now; it sells for up to a few thousand dollars!
And, in case you’ve recently bought or sold a 1959 Franklin half dollars, do let us know the current market scenario such that we can update these tables to be even more accurate. Trust us; you’d be doing fellow collectors a BIG favor!