In 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her LA home and the Cuban Missile Crisis took place, and the U.S. Mint was pumping out millions of 1962 Franklin half dollars. So, how much value has the 1962 Franklin half dollar gained after six decades of circulation?
Well, let’s find out.
And to give you an idea of some of the figures to expect, here’s a valuation summary:
1962 Franklin Half Dollar Value Chart
|1962 Half Dollar
No Mint Marks
|1962-D Half Dollar
|1962-P Proof Half Dollar
1962 Half Dollar: Physical Features
The 1962 Franklin half dollar is a product of an era when coins were made of real silver. So, the silvery appearance of this coin comes from real silver and not the nickel-coating you find in today’s half-dollar coins.
The table below highlights the physical features of the 1962 Franklin half dollar:
The 1962 Franklin half dollar is a perfectly rounded coin with a reeded edge, adding to the texture and beauty of the already magnificent coin.
The obverse of 1962 was designed by John R. Sinnock. John was the eighth Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, serving from 1925 to 1947, when his tenure was cut short by his untimely death. In fact, the Benjamin Franklin Half Dollar design was his last contribution as a U.S. Mint engraver.
John Sinnock included the following elements in his design:
- The right-facing portrait of Benjamin Franklin is prominently centered in the middle of the obverse.
- The designer’s initials, “JRS,” can be found under the shadow of President Franklin’s portrait.
- The legend“LIBERTY” is directly above President Franklin’s head, arching with the coin’s curvature.
- The year of issue“1962” is embossed under President Franklin’s chin.
- The motto, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” is perfectly centered at the bottom of the coin, aching with the coin’s curvature.
There are two sides to every coin, and we cannot talk about the obverse without mentioning the reverse. Like the obverse, the reverse’s principal design was imagined by John R. Sinnock.
Unfortunately, John died before he could complete his reverse design. But because the show had to go on, the U.S. Mint sought the services of Gilroy Roberts to complete John’s design.
The reverse of the 1962 Franklin half dollar contains the following characters:
- The image of the Liberty Bell is perfectly centered and features prominently on the back of the coin.
- The country of issue, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” is above the Liberty Bell, with the “O” being of a smaller font than the rest of the letters.
- The mint mark features between the country of issue and the Liberty Bell.
- The image of a bald eagle is on the left side of the coin.
- The motto, “E PLURIBUS UNAM,” features on the right side of the coin.
- The Denomination, “HALF DOLLAR.”
1962 Half Dollar: Historical Background
The 1962 Franklin half dollar belongs to the Franklin Half Dollar series of coins that ran between 1948 and 1963. This family of coins was commissioned by the then Director of the U.S. Mint, Nellie Tayloe Ross, a long-time admirer of President Benjamin Franklin.
In 1947, she charged her then Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock to design the Benjamin Franklin-themed half dollar. John worked on the coin’s design but died before he could finish the reverse. So, his successor stepped in and completed what was left of the reverse.
Upon completing the coin’s design, the United States Mint passed on its designs to the Commission of Fine Arts for its advisory opinion. The commission was not a big fan of the Liberty Bell on the reverse, citing that the crack on the bell would be subject to a lot of ridicule from the public. The U.S. Mint stuck with their original designs anyway.
The Franklin Half Dollar was replaced in 1964 by the Kennedy Half Dollar, a coin issued in remembrance of the assassinated president, John F. Kennedy.
1962 Half Dollar: Varieties and Mint Marks
The 1962 half dollar is one of those rare coins that came with only two kinds of mint marks: no mint mark for the Philadelphia Mint and “D” for the Denver Mint. So, based on the mint marks, we can only derive two varieties of 1962 Franklin half dollars. They include:
1962-P Half Dollar (No Mint Marks)
The 1962-P half dollar is the product of the Philadelphia Mint, which strikes coins with no mint Marks. For the year 1962, they made 9,714,000 of these coins, many of which have been lost or abused over time.
These days, a good quality 1962-P Franklin half dollar can fetch you about $9.00. Fine examples go for $9.25, and extremely fine 1962-P half dollars sell for about $9.50.
Mint state examples are quite sought after by collectors, attracting bids worth up to $1,900. So, check your grandma’s purse; today might be your lucky day.
1962-P Half Dollar Proof Coins
The Philadelphia Mint also produced a small number of proof coins. These 1962-P Proof half dollars are more rare than the typical 1962-P half dollar and, therefore, very valuable.
A mint state 1962 proof half dollar can be worth as much as $9,200. This 1962 50C PR69 half dollar sold in 2008 for $9,200. It is an extremely clean example and thus deserving of the high price tag.
1962-D Half Dollar
The other U.S. Mint that punched 1962 Franklin half dollars was the Denver Mint. You can identify these coins by the “D” mint marks on their reverse. The Denver Mint pumped out 35,473,281 of these half dollars for the issue year 1962.
Despite having a larger mintage, the 1962-D half dollar is almost as valuable as the 1962-P Franklin half dollar. A good condition 1962-D half dollar is worth $9.00. Fine and very fine examples can sell for up to $9.00 and $9.50, respectively. Mint state 1962 Franklin half dollars are worth $1,130.
As for the most expensive 1962-D Franklin half dollar ever sold, that title was grabbed in 2004 by this 1962-D 50C MS66 half dollar that sold for $9,200. This particular coin is an exceptionally clean specimen, lacking any significant blemishes.
Valuable 1962 Franklin Half Dollar Error Coins
Error coins almost always sell for a premium. So what are some of the most valuable error coins in the 1962 half dollar lineup? We scoured the internet and found these five 1962 Franklin half dollar error coins:
This coin does not have any errors; it’s just an exceptional strike with great quality. The complexity of the Liberty Bell makes it hard to imprint the design on the Franklin half dollar.
Most strikes are missing some of the bell’s horizontal lines, not this 1962-P half dollar. This particular coin has all the horizontal lines. Add in the pristine condition of the coin, and you have an asset worth a small fortune.
This particular coin has aged quite well, oxidizing to an almost golden tone; plus, it has the FBL designation for full bell lines. These factors combine to make this coin an exceptionally rare and valuable find. This piece sold on auction in 2012 for $10,350.
Here’s another 1962 Franklin half dollar that has earned the FBL (full bell lines) designation. It is among just a handful of 1962 half dollars with full bell lines. It may have failed to sell for as much as the coin in the previous entry, but it is still a valuable coin.
One interesting thing about old silver coins is that they oxidize to beautifully colored coins. This particular coin oxidized to a nearly golden color. These champagne-gold tones are prominent around the coin’s periphery, adding to the beauty and rarity of the Franklin half dollar.
This particular coin was struck on an undersized nickel planchet. As a result, the legend “LIBERTY” and part of President Franklin’s scalp are cut off by the coin’s rim. This error also affects the reverse, cutting off the “IN GOD WE TRUST” motto. Appearance-wise, the coin is in great condition, lacking any blemishes. It exchanged hands in an auction for $5,750 in 2006.
The same coin was later sold in 2009 for $4,313.
Final Thoughts: Is the 1962 Half Dollar Worth Collecting?
The 1962 Franklin half dollar is quite a valuable coin. It is one of those old coins that contain actual silver. Circulated 1962 Franklin half dollars can fetch anywhere between $9 and $9.50.
For the big bucks, you need to hunt down uncirculated examples. These mint statecoins can earn you up to $1,900. Proof coins of this error are absolute jackpots, with pristine examples selling for up to $9,200.
The 1962 Franklin half dollar is a worthy investment.
Jenson is a professional numismatist, a dedicated coin collector, a graduate of the College of Business at Oregon State, a life member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), and an overall coin nerd. He is the founder of Coin Value List.