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[1948-1964] Franklin Half Dollars

Designed by John R. Sinnock, the Franklin Half Dollar was the first half dollar to depict the image of an actual historical figure. Up until 1948, all circulation half dollars had allegorical figures in the design. Nellie Taylor Ross, United States Mint Director from 1933 until 1953 was instrumental in choosing Benjamin Franklin as the subject of the coin that was issued from 1948 until 1963. Due to the untimely death of John F. Kennedy, assassinated in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963, the Mint changed the design in 1964 to honor the fallen President. Because the entire series consists of only 35 regular strikes and 14 proof strikes (none of which are particularly expensive) the series has a large collector base and is a favorite of novice collectors. The coin was struck from an alloy of .900 silver and .100 copper, weighs 12.50 grams and has a 30.6 millimeter diameter. It was struck at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints.

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