By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Though often overlooked by seasoned collectors, the “modern” US series struck in the mid-to-late 20th century can offer a considerable challenge at the very highest levels of production quality and preservation.
The Franklin half dollar is one of these series, featuring a surprising number of condition and strike rarities despite mintages as high as 35.4 million pieces (1962-D). In our March 2020 Baltimore auction, we are delighted to offer a stunning 1953-S Franklin half dollar that ranks among the most desirable survivors of just 4.14 million struck. Certified MS-65 FBL by PCGS, it is one of only 22 graded by PCGS at that level and just five coins rank finer.
This rare Gem features a delicate champagne gold patina with hints of cabernet at the borders. The strike is truly exceptional, displaying a profound definition of Franklin’s portrait and ideal sharpness to the bell lines on the reverse. This technical superiority is enhanced by rich mint frosting across each side.
Specialist Rick Tomaska notes in his 2011 Guidebook on the series that the 1953-S is “far and away the rarest date in MS-65 with full bell lines.” He goes on to say “while most examples are minimally bag marked, they are also very weakly struck.”
We have had the pleasure of handling two Gem Full Bell Lines examples in recent years, including this very piece that realized $14,400 USD in our August 2018 sale of the Anne Kate Collection. A year prior we offered another MS-65 FBL (PCGS) in our August 2017 sale of the High Rise Collection, which realized $14,100. The present Gem will be featured in Rarities Night of our March 2020 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo in Baltimore. To include your coins or collection in this exciting sale, speak with a numismatic representative today at 800-566-2580 or email consign@Stacksbowers.com. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our auctions via your Android or Apple device.