Home Money Precious Metals to Invest In: The Ben Franklin Half Dollar

Precious Metals to Invest In: The Ben Franklin Half Dollar

by Paul-Martin Foss

Replacing one of the most beautiful coins in American numismatic history, the Franklin half dollar was perhaps always going to disappoint. Ben Franklin was chosen for the coin’s obverse because Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross had always been a great admirer of his. Mint Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock’s medal of Ben Franklin served as the inspiration for the obverse portrait.

The design of the reverse was panned by the Commission of Fine Arts, with both the crack visible in the Liberty Bell and the tiny eagle next to the bell being flagged as potentially making the coin subject to ridicule. Yet the Secretary of the Treasury approved the coin’s design, and it went into production in 1948.

The Franklin half dollar was the last circulating coin denomination to replace a depiction of Liberty with the face of a prominent American historical figure. Production ceased in 1963, with recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy replacing Franklin on the half dollar in 1964.

Total mintage of the Franklin half dollar came to nearly 500 million coins, none of which are considered particularly rare, although many coins have been melted down over the years for their silver. Because the Franklin half dollar’s production coincided with rising silver prices and a surge in hoarding of silver coins, many Franklin halves are still found in excellent condition today.

As with all old circulating silver coinage, the Franklin half dollar is not eligible for investment through an IRA. Investors who wish to establish a silver IRA, precious metals IRA, or other form of self-directed IRA can only invest in modern US Mint-produced silver coinage or bullion coinage with at least 99.9% pure silver.

Despite that, the Franklin silver dollar remains a good source of silver for those looking to hold “junk” silver to use as money in a future SHTF-type scenario, or even just for those interested in collecting historical American coins.

Coin Specifications

  • Weight: 12.50 g
  • Purity: 90% Silver
  • Silver Content: 0.36169 troy oz.
  • Diameter: 30.61 mm
  • Thickness: 1.8 mm

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