Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock created the Franklin half-dollar in 1948, and their mintage continued until 1963. Even though these pieces depicted one of the Founding Fathers and were made of silver, they were not particularly popular.
Consequently, the 1959 half dollar value is pretty moderate, except for collectible pieces with Full Bell Lines. Such coins can be worth a lot when in the highest grades. On the other hand, you can count on only $10 for low-quality pieces that spent years in use.
1959 half-dollar Value Chart
|Condition||1959 No Mint mark half-dollar||1959 D half-dollar|
*by USA Coin Book
The Value Guides of the 1959 Franklin Half-dollar
Only two mints produced Franklin half dollars in 1959, and the total mintage was 20,403,041 coins. The Denver mint’s share was almost twice as high as Philadelphia, although it minted both regular and proof coins.
1959 No Mint Mark half-dollar Value
The 6,200,000 Franklin half dollars from Philadelphia minted in 1959 are now worth about $10 per piece if they are from circulation. Those that never spent a minute in use are worth $12 to 420, depending on grade.
However, you can expect coins with an MS 67 rating to be expensive and can reach $2,000 to 2,400 at the open market. One 1959 MS 67 half-dollar exceeded that price and was sold for $5,060 in February 2005.
1959 Franklin half-dollar Value
|Condition||1959 No Mint mark half-dollar||1959 D half-dollar|
|MS 60||$12.71 to 17.71||$12.71 to 17.71|
|MS 61||$12.71 to 17.71||$12.71 to 17.71|
|MS 62||$12.96 to 17.96||$12.96 to 17.96|
|MS 63||$14.96 to 22.96||$14.96 to 22.96|
|MS 64||$20 to 28||$20 to 28|
|MS 65||$40 to 50||$35 to 50|
|MS 66||$240 to 420||$368 to $423|
|MS 67||$2,000 to 2,400||$3,000 to $3,500|
Be aware that coins with Full Bell Lines are often incomparably more valuable. To make things more clear, one 1959 MS 66+ FBL specimen won the auction record in 2018 after selling for $14,688 at an auction.
1959 proof half-dollar Value
Besides regular halves, Philadelphia also minted coins intended for collectors. A total of 1,149,291 pieces were struck in 1959, and they are usually well-preserved but with different cameo contrast.
The most affordable are standard proofs cost $20 to $520, depending on the rating. As expected, collectors prefer specimens with cameo contrast, and their prices can be significantly higher.
For instance, one piece in a PR 69 grade costs $520, but the CAM Franklin half-dollar with the same rating is worth $8,000 to $9,200. On the other hand, you can find beautiful coins in lower conditions for $25 to $1,840.
1959 Franklin half-dollar proof prices
|Condition||1959 PR half-dollar||1959 PR half-dollar (CAM)||1959 PR half-dollar (DCAM)|
|PR 60||$17 to $20.40||/||/|
|PR 61||$17 to $20.40||/||/|
|PR 62||$17 to $20.40||/||/|
|PR 63||$17 to $20.40||$25 to $30||/|
|PR 64||$18 to $22||$50 to $60||$1,500 to $1,750|
|PR 65||$20 to $24||$75 to $90||$2,000 to $2,300|
|PR 66||$24 to $32||$175 to $201.75||$5,000 to $5,750|
|PR 67||$35 to $45||$350 to $550||$12,000 to $14,000|
|PR 68||$60 to $72||$1,600 to $1,840||$17,000 to $19,550|
|PR 69||$450 to $517||$8,000 to $9,200||/|
The most expensive are 1959 half-dollar proofs with deep cameo contrast. Their DCAM quality brings $1,500 to almost $20,000, depending on ranking. As expected, many rare coins are worth even more when offered at auctions.
For example, the most expensive is one half-dollar paid $1,425, while one with cameo contrast won the auction record after selling for $15,863. The most pricey specimen in the set is the 1959 PR 67 DCAM Franklin half-dollar, sold for $22,800 at Heritage Auctions in 2020.
1959 D half-dollar Value
The Denver mint produced about twice as many 1959 Franklin half dollars as Philadelphia, precisely 13,053,750 coins. The price of those from circulation is approximately $10 to $12, while most better-rated pieces are worth up to $420.
Be prepared that coins in an MS 67 grade are scarce nowadays, and their value is about $3,000 to $3,500 on the current market. Interestingly, the 1959 D AU 58 Franklin half-dollar reached the best price in January 2006. It was paid $7,590 after appearing at Heritage Auctions.
The half-dollar with Full Bell Lines and in an MS 67 grade was even more pricey. One collector grabbed it for $9,694 in 2019.
1959 Franklin Half-dollar Variations and Errors
You can recognize one standard variation among Franklin halves minted in 1959 and a few errors. The Bugs Bunny error typical for this series is the most recognizable and famous.
1959 Franklin Half-dollar Full Bell Lines
Halves with the Full Bell Line are coins with complete and uninterrupted lines on the Liberty bell that represent proof of strike quality. Remember that FBL Franklin half dollars are not errors but perfectly and fully struck coins.
Therefore, you can expect them to be pricey. The most expensive coin from regular strikes is the 1959 MS 66+ FBL half-dollar. Its owner sold it at LRC Auctions in July 2018 for $14,688. The coin minted in Denver in 1959 in an MS 67 grade with FBL reached $9,694 at the same auction but a year later.
The 1959 FBL Franklin half-dollar prices
|Condition||1959 No Mint mark FBL half-dollar||1959 No Mint mark DDR FBL half-dollar||1959 D FBL half-dollar|
|MS 63||$20 to $25||$85 to $100||$20 to $25|
|MS 64||$24 to $32||$100 to $120||$$24 to $32|
|MS 65||$56 to $70||$200 to $240||$67 to $90|
|MS 66||$780 to $897||$1,200 to $1,400||$370 to $500|
|MS 67||$9,500 to $10,825||/||$5,700 to $6,500|
1959 Franklin Half-dollar Bugs Bunny
The Bugs Bunny (buck tooth) is a well-known error among Franklin half dollars discovered a few decades ago. This coin got a funny nickname because of the Franklin look, but it is actually a standard die clash error. In this case, it appears across Franklin’s mouth, reminding buck teeth.
These error coins are collectible and can be highly valuable. The most expensive is the 1959 MS 66 FBL Franklin Bugs Bunny half-dollar, sold on eBay for $2,500 in April 2021.
1959 Franklin Half-dollar Doubled die reverse
This error refers to design element doubling created due to the die misalignment. In this particular case, you can find doubling on the reverse, mainly on the image or lettering.
The most expensive coin with this imperfection was paid $464 on eBay, while the one in an MS 66 grade with FBL is worth an impressive $2,992.
1959 Franklin Half-dollar Goiter
The Goiter error is actually the die break appearing on Franklin’s throat. Some collectors found it to resemble a goiter and hence the nickname. This die variety was documented on halves a few years ago and immediately became popular.
For instance, one 1959 MS 65 FBL Franklin Goiter half-dollar reached $1,128 on eBay in March 2019. A piece in a bit lower grade and without Full Bell Lines came to the price of $789 seven years before.
History of the 1959 Franklin Half-dollar
The silver Franklin half-dollar production lasted from 1948 to 1963 when Kennedy’s assassination aborted the process. This coin paid tribute to the beloved Founding Father and one of the most admired people in American history.
1959 Franklin half-dollar
|Philadelphia||1959 No Mint mark half-dollar||6,200,000|
|Philadelphia||1959 proof half-dollar||1,149,291|
|Denver||1959 D half-dollar||13,053,750|
Sculptor-engraver John Sinnock designed this beautiful coin, and it became the last American silver coinage minted for circulation. Despite a few affairs, including the claim that the struck initials belonged to Stalin, this coin remains a collectible and appreciated piece to this day.
How to Identify the 1959 Franklin Half-dollar?
The 1959 Franklin half dollars are elegant coins that come in two variations. Those with the original design containing Full Bell Lines are precious and collectible. On the other hand, you can find numerous pieces with broken lines at the bottom of the bells, resulting from minting limitations.
The obverse of the 1959 Franklin half-dollar
The designer placed Benjamin Franklin’s bust in the coin center and surrounded it with two vital American inscriptions:
- LIBERTY, the word struck along the top rim, above Franklin’s head
- IN GOD WE TRUST, the motto visible along the bottom rim, below the bust edge
The obverse also includes the DATE, so you can see the number 1959 on the right. There is one more thing. The designer’s initials (JRS) are struck below the Founding Father’s shoulder.
The reverse of the 1959 Franklin half-dollar
The elegant and stylish reverse depicts the centrally positioned Liberty Bell. The original design included clearly visible lines, but minting limitations left most pieces without their desired look. Therefore, coins with continuous lines are pricey and highly desirable among collectors nowadays.
On the bell’s left and right sides are placed:
- E PLURIBUS UNUM, the Latin motto
- A tiny bald eagle that looks like it is ready to take off
Above the composition is the country name (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA), with the mint mark between it and the bell yoke. Only coins from Denver have it, while that space is empty in pieces struck in the Philadelphia mint. Along the bottom rim is struck the HALF DOLLAR. It shows you the coin denomination.
1959 Franklin half-dollar
|Face value||Fifty cents ($0.50)|
|Compound||Silver-copper alloy with 90% of precious metal|
|Coin thickness||1.80 mm (0.0709 inches)|
|Coin diameter||30.60 mm (1.2047 inches)|
|Coin weight||12.50 g (0.4019 troy ounces)|
|Silver content weight||11.25 g (0.3617 troy ounces)|
Other features of the 1959 Franklin half-dollar
The 1959 Franklin half-dollars are round silver coins that contain 12.50 g (0.4019 troy ounces) of precious metal. Its share is 11.25 g (0.3617 troy ounces), while the rest is copper.
These round pieces with a reeded edge have 30.60 mm (1.2047 inches) in diameter. Their standard thickness is 1.80 mm (0.0709 inches).
What makes a 1959 Franklin half-dollar rare?
The most valuable Franklin half dollars minted in 1959 are rare specimens in the highest grades with Full Bell Lines. It is challenging to find the best-preserved coins, making them pricey. Collectors are willing to set aside about $6,000 to $11,000 for such ‘jewels.’
Which 1959 Franklin half-dollar is worth a lot of money?
- 1959 PR 67 DCAM Franklin half-dollar ($22,800 at Heritage Auctions, February 2020)
- 1959 PR 69 CAM Franklin half-dollar ($15,863 at Heritage Auctions, August 2017)
- 1959 MS 66+ FBL Franklin half-dollar ($14,688 at LRC Auctions, July 2018)
- 1959 D MS 67 FBL Franklin half-dollar ($9,694 at LRC Auctions, September 2019)
- 1959 D AU 58 Franklin half-dollar ($7,590 at Heritage Auctions, January 2006)
- 1959 MS 67 Franklin half-dollar ($5,060 at Heritage Auctions, February 2005)
- 1959 MS 66 FBL DDR FBL Franklin half-dollar ($2,992 on eBay, January 2022)
- 1959 MS 66 FBL Franklin Bugs Bunny half-dollar ($2,500 on eBay, April 2021)
- 1959 PR 69 Franklin half-dollar ($1,425 on eBay, June 2019)
- 1959 MS 65 FBL Franklin Goiter half-dollar ($1,128 on eBay, March 2019)
- 1959 MS 64 Franklin Goiter half-dollar ($789 on eBay, April 2012)
- 1959 MS 66 DDR Franklin half-dollar ($464 on eBay, June 2015)
- 1959 MS 64 Franklin Bugs Bunny half-dollar ($461 on eBay, November 2010)
How much is 1959 No Mint Mark Franklin half-dollar worth?
The 1959 Franklin half dollars from circulation are now worth about $10, while pieces that never spent time in use are worth $12 to 420, depending on the preservation level. Only specimens in an MS 67 grade are expensive and typically reach $2,000 to 2,400 at auctions.