Mastering Franklin and Kennedy Half Dollars – Two of the Most Popular Series in American Numismatics

Today, Franklin half dollars (minted from 1948 to 1963) are avidly collected. Scarcely a month or two goes by without excitement in the auction room when a particular variety described as FBL (Full Bell Lines), perhaps of a date and mint that is very common without this feature and otherwise inexpensive, sells for in the many hundreds or thousands of dollars. Beyond that, and probably most applicable to you, a basic set of dates and mintmarks in a highly desirable grade such as Mint State-65 can be collected relatively easily, with an attractive display being the result. Proofs were struck beginning in 1950, continuing to the end of the series, and provide a separate collection to go with the circulation strikes.

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Today, numerical grading comprises many more numbers than when first conceived by Sheldon in. In the Mint State and Proof category alone we have all numbers from 60 through 70 inclusive, for a total of 11 in each category. We also have different degrees within this, such as + signs added by NGC and PCGS, and also stars and other designations. As grading is an art and not a science, not even the most sophisticated grader can consistently assign the same numbers to the same coins. No matter; people love numbers, and they will be with us for a long time to come. And, without question, a certified MS-66 coin is nearly always better than one certified as 63. However, cherrypicking for quality and extra value, something the Guide Book of Franklin and Kennedy Half Dollars (third edition now available for preorder) will aid you in doing, can often lead to finding a 65 that can be certified as a much more valuable 66.

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