I would like to announce the completion of the Poe Collection of Franklin Halves. I have been working on this set for 8 years now, constantly striving for the highest quality strikes. It has been a journey full of ups and downs, but the thrill and excitement of each purchase as been worth every second of it. I have enjoyed the opportunity to build this set and share my passion with you in these pages, and I hope you too have enjoyed viewing my set. It is my sincere hope that you will learn something and be inspired to start your own Franklin Half Dollar set. Going forward, there are a few coins that I would like to upgrade, but for the most part I am content with the coins I have. Many of them are upgrades themselves, purchased while I waited for the last few elusive coins to come along. I’m not sure which set I will pursue next, but for now, I hope you enjoy my set!
My very first coin show was a tiny local show in Charleston, SC. I was a senior in high school, I had just gotten my first car, and was enjoying a little newfound freedom. I walked in with $45 in cash – at that time it seemed like a princely sum. I walked around the 20 or so dealers’ tables, and my eye caught a pair of Franklin halves. For some reason, then and there I decided that I would collect these gorgeous hunks of silver. I can remember the first one even now – a 1963D, a little beat up, but it had a gorgeous crescent of orangey golden album toning around the rims. I was hooked.
Today, my budget is a bit larger, but the fascination still remains. To most, the Franklin is an ugly coin; the bust of Franklin is kind of dull, the bell only mildly interesting, and the scrawny eagle is just pathetic. To others, the Franklin is nothing more than a common modern coin, even if it does have a healthy 0.3617 troy ounces of 90% pure silver. Yes, most dates are pretty common. For many, the mintages are actually higher than even the largely ignored Kennedy half. But a student of the series will tell you that Full Bell Line coins, the epitome of the Franklin series, are often very difficult to find. The student of the series will appreciate the vagaries of strike and die wear, and even the mint that produced it, that all contribute to the scarcity of the so called FBL coin.
I had a friend ask me the other day what FBL stood for; she wasn’t a collector, but looking over my set she noticed it on several of my slabs. The question is a good one, and well worth answering for anyone interested in the Franklins (I’ll give you bit more detail here than I gave her, as I’m assuming that if you are taking the time to read this then you are at least mildly interested in the Franklin.) The term and all that it implies is discussed in the entry for my 1948 Franklin.
I am very honored to win the Best Presented award for 2008. I have spent many hours working on this set, and enjoyed every minute of it. I do it because I enjoy it, and if someone else can enjoy it too, and possibly learn a little bit, then I am very happy. So, a great big thank you to NGC – first for hosting this Registry, and second for giving me this award. Congratulations to all the other award winners as well.
As this set matures, I’ve begun to creatively work around the limitations of a single obverse and reverse picture – there are a growing number of descriptions where more than one coin must be shown, or a close-up, or something. In this case, I show the main coin in the ‘primary’ slot, or top position, and a ‘secondary’ coin in the bottom position.
I’ve included, as an interesting little addition, a little of what was going on in the world at the time these coins were minted. P mints get a “notable events” section, D mints get “notable entertainment,” focused on movies since that is another of my hobbies, and S mints get a “notable music.”
Maybe a Table of Contents might be a good idea, to see what is featured in various entries (* means the entry is not finished yet):
1948 – A thorough description and explanation of the term Full Bell Lines
1948D – A survey of Franklin Half Dollar literature and web resources
1949 – The Origin of the Franklin Half Dollar
1949D – Collecting the Franklin Half Dollar
1949S – The Prooflike Franklin
1950 – Luster, a Beginner’s Guide
1950D – A short Biography of the Great Benjamin Franklin
1951 – A Double Die Discovery Piece
1951D – The Four Sisters, the series of 4 very similar D mint issues.
1951S – An Introduction to San Francisco mint Franklins
1952 – Coin Photography
1952D – Mintage Figures of the Franklin Half
*1952S – The Orange Peel Effect
1953 – Buying Franklin Halves, or, My Favorite Sources
1953D – A description of Water Spots
1953S – The Famous 1953S, and Space Shuttles
1954 – Grading the Franklin Half
1954D – Displaying My Collection
1954S – An explanation of good strike vs. full details and high point pitting
1955 – The Bugs Bunny Variety
1956 – Double Dies, RPMs, Varieties, and Errors on the Franklin
1957 – Attack of the Prongs!
1957D – Some Thoughts on Toning
1958 – Type I and Type II Reverse Franklins
1958D – The Science of Toning
1959 – Slabs as a Collectible
1959D – The FUN show
1960 – The Re-Engraved Master Die
1960D - Buying Slabbed Coins
1961 – Some Thoughts on Putting this Set Together
1961D – Storing Your Collection
1962 - Why I Like Die Polish Lines
1962D – Standards
1963D - Conclusion