Amazing Proof Franklin Half Dollar at GreatCollections

On Sunday, September 29, bidding ends on GreatCollections.com for this 1953 Proof Franklin half dollar, graded PF-68+ CAMEO by NGC and approved by CAC.

Proof Franklin half dollars with Cameo have always excited collectors and the issues struck between 1950 and 1953 represent the most difficult to obtain Cameos in the 14-year series. And at such a high grade, this example is indeed a condition rarity: NGC reports a population of two graded 68+ with only 10 higher in top pop 69.

Unfortunately, there are no auction records for a PF-68+, but since CAC deemed this coin as strong for its already exceptional grade, one may be justified in looking to prices realized for Proof 69s. Earlier this year in January, an NGC-graded specimen sold for $8,400 USD. Going back from there, the next result is for a PCGS example from 2003, which garnered only $3,565. But in 2001, another PCGS PR-69 1953 Franklin went for $15,225.

It is important to note, however, that–with the possible exception of the 2001 half dollar (the record is incomplete)–neither the 2003 nor the 2001 coins were designated as CAMEO, and of course neither came with a CAC Sticker since CAC wouldn’t exist for a few more years.

To check GreatCollections for sales involving other Franklin half dollars, search through the GreatCollections Auction Archives, with records for over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past seven years.

At the time of writing, the starting bid for this Proof Franklin half dollar is $9,500.

The Franklin Half : An Underappreciated Modern Classic

The 15-year run of Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock’s Franklin half dollar was bookended by events that unfortunately led to the public’s neglect of the unassuming modern coin. When it came out in 1948, the Franklin half had the misfortune of following the classic Walking Liberty half dollar (1916-47), a design beloved of coin collectors and bullion investors alike. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 meant that the country longed for a way to commemorate the popular young politician, and Congress and the United States Mint worked rapidly to do so, leading to the Kennedy half dollar replacing the Franklin type in 1964.

Nevertheless, over time the Franklin half has reached its own audience within the numismatic community. Consisting of 90% silver, it is a series collected in a number of ways.

The first Proof Franklins were struck in 1950 and continued to be produced each year for the remainder of the series’ run. Only 51,386 were struck that first year, and mintages increased almost exponentially from there, with the exception of a dip in 1958. In 1953, the fourth year of production, Philadelphia minted 128,800 pieces – making it the fourth-lowest mintage of the Proof issues (excluding varieties).

Like its business strike counterpart, the Proof Franklin half dollar features clean fields and an overall attractive appearance in higher grades.

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