Placed in a PCGS Gold Shield holder, the coin is one of a population of three at that grade with the Full Lines designation, with only one 1960-D FBL graded finer (MS67) by the company.
An Underappreciated Modern Classic
The relatively short 15-year run of Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock’s Franklin half dollar was bookended by events that encouraged the general public to ignore or even denigrate 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 for generations but that the United States Mint thought was too old-fashioned for the postwar era. Then, with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, a push began to rapidly commemorate the fallen leader on coinage, which led to the Kennedy half dollar replacing the Franklin type in 1964.
Fortunately, over time the Franklin half has reached its own audience within the numismatic community. Consisting of 90% silver, it is a series popularly collected in a number of ways and widely known for great toners. In higher Mint State grades like 66+, the fields are clean and the coin is attractive overall. But what really gets a Franklin collector going is a quality of strike known as “Full Bell Lines”.
Full Bell Lines
The reverse of the Franklin half dollar features a large rendition of the iconic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, replete with the crack that, contrary to assumption, didn’t occur until about 80 to 90 years after it was cast. There is also a superfluous looking mini-eagle, placed there by law, but it does not figure into the idea of “Full Bell Lines”.
What the term refers to is the sharpness and clarity of the lines along the rim of the bell. If the lines on the bell are completely struck and apparent–and not interrupted by dings or marks on the coin’s surface–then a Franklin half dollar is eligible for the much-sought-after designation.
With an impressively sharp strike, full lines, original luster, and pleasant toning, this 1960-D specimen went for a good price according to current market demand.