Selling Franklin Halves in '70s a Smart Move
By Paul M. Green
each passing year we seem to be learning more
and more about the Franklin half dollar. One of
the prime things we are learning is that many of
us should have saved more Franklin half dollars
when we had the chance.
Itís simply a classic case of a coin being
overlooked at the time it was available only to
turn out to be much better than anyone expected,
primarily because it was not saved. In the case
of Franklin half dollars, that seemed to apply
in the case of almost every date and certainly
in the case of the 1960.
The reasons that the Franklin half dollar was
overlooked were numerous. Certainly high on the
list was simply the denomination. The majority
of collectors at the time were young and their
collecting was basically limited to Lincoln
Looking back at it today, the 1960 seems like a
lower mintage date with a production of
6,024,000 business strikes and another 1,691,602
proofs. At the time, however, those totals were
not lower. Every Franklin half dollar produced
at Philadelphia since 1955 except for the 1959
had a lower mintage. As a result, no one would
have gone to any special trouble to find and
save the 1960.
Additionally, in 1960, the spotlight in terms of
interest in current coins was grabbed by the
1960 Lincoln cent, because there were large and
small dates from both Philadelphia and Denver.
If there were rolls or larger quantities of the
1960 Franklin half dollar saved, those numbers
would have been relatively small.
Even with limited saving, there were still those
1,691,602 proofs. The general belief back in
1960 would have been that they were going to
stay with their original holders unless
something dramatic happened.
In fact, something dramatic did happen. In the
late 1970s the price of silver rose beyond $40
an ounce, even briefly reaching $50 an ounce. At
such levels, any half dollar was worth perhaps
$15 and that was far more than anyone had ever
dreamed they would receive for a 1960 half
dollar. Many took that opportunity and sold
their singles, rolls and even their 1960 proof
and mint sets. It was simply smart business,
since a 1960 today in MS-60 is at just $7.90,
roughly one-half of what you would have received
for an example back around 1979.
There was, however, another side and that is
that no one at the time really bothered to check
to see if the coins they were selling were cameo
proofs or full bell line MS-65 coins. We see
that fact today when we check the prices of the
1960 Franklin half dollar in higher grades. An
MS-65 is at $110 and if it has full bell lines
itís $340. Although prices have not continued to
climb in recent years, it is certainly
reasonable to expect that the 1960 Franklin half
dollar will be in short supply, especially if
you want the very best.