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Selling Franklin halves in

With 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.

It’s 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 cents.

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 it’s $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.

More Resources:

2010 U.S. Coin Digest, The Complete Guide to Current Market Values, 8th ed.

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money, 1928 to Date

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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