Franklin Half Dollars

The history of the Franklin Half Dollar, a coin minted by the United States, is a story that spans a brief yet impactful period in American numismatics. In 1947, the US Mint embarked on a mission to replace the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, which had been a familiar sight in the pockets and wallets of Americans since 1916. The task of designing this new coin fell upon the capable shoulders of renowned sculptor John R. Sinnock.

John R. Sinnock was no stranger to the world of coin design. He had already gained significant recognition for his work on various coins, and his reputation for creating visually stunning and historically significant coinage designs made him an ideal choice for the project. The US Mint received numerous design submissions from various artists and sculptors, but it was Sinnock’s vision that ultimately won the approval of the authorities.

Sinnock’s design for the Franklin Half Dollar was chosen, and it was subsequently approved for production by Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder and President Harry S. Truman. This decision marked the beginning of a new chapter in American coinage history. The first Franklin Half Dollars were struck in 1948, and they made their way into circulation on January 30 of that year.

The obverse of the Franklin Half Dollar features a distinctive and detailed bust of Benjamin Franklin. He is depicted facing to the right, with the word “LIBERTY” prominently inscribed above his image. Just below the bust, the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” is engraved. This design pays homage to one of America’s Founding Fathers, a polymath who was a key figure in the early days of the United States. Franklin’s contributions to science, literature, and politics are well-documented, and his image on this coin serves as a constant reminder of his role in shaping American history.

Turning the coin over, the reverse side showcases the iconic Liberty Bell, a symbol deeply connected to American independence and freedom. The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” are prominently displayed above the Liberty Bell, and “HALF DOLLAR” is inscribed below it. The national motto, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” is featured on a banner held by an eagle in flight. This reverse design captures the essence of American heritage and values.

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