A Series Concluded Before Its Time

The Franklin Half Dollar coin series replaced the prior Walking Liberty series starting in 1948. Many thought it was fitting to recognize this important American on a circulating coin. Collectors who preferred the beauty of the prior series, perhaps overlooked the new series at first.

The coin featured a portrait of Benjamin Franklin and the Liberty Bell of Philadelphia on the reverse. A tiny Bald Eagle also appears to the right of the eagle to satisfy the legal requirement to include it on the half dollar denomination. The coin was designed by John R. Sinnock, who was the Chief Sculptor Engraver of the United States Mint.

When the series began, it was expected to run for at least 25 years due to the laws in effect at the time. This would have allowed the Franklin Half to continue until at least 1972. Tragic events took place that changed the plans.

After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, there was an immediate idea to memorialize him on a newly designed coin. Legislation was passed at the end of 1963 to authorize the new coin and overturn the requirement for a 25 year series duration. The Kennedy Half Dollar was released in 1964 and immediately popular with the American public.

The Kennedy series has continued to the current day, giving the series a duration of nearly 50 years!

Posted on December 22, 2009 at 10:05 am by admin · Permalink
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