Table of Contents
- 1961 Franklin Half Dollar value
- History of the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
- 1961 Franklin Half Dollar Types
- Features of the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
- 1961 Franklin Half Dollar Value Guides
- 1961 No Mint Mark Franklin Half Dollar Value
- 1961 proof Franklin Half Dollar Value
- 1961 D Franklin Half Dollar Value
- 1961 Franklin Half Dollar Grading
- Rare 1961 Franklin Half Dollar Errors List
- FAQ about the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
In 1961, no one could imagine it would be one of the last minting years for Franklin half dollars. Unfortunately, Kennedy’s assassination affected numerous things, including American coinage.
Nowadays, the 1961 Half Dollar value is moderate for most coins, but some rare specimens can be costly. While regular pieces cost a few dozen bucks, you need to set aside hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the highest-rating ones with Full Bell Line. Let’s see.
1961 Franklin Half Dollar value
|Condition||1961 No Mint Mark half-dollar||1961 half-dollar DDR||1961 D half-dollar|
History of the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
The Franklin Half Dollars minted from 1948 to 1963 were elegant silver coins dedicated to this Founding Father. They had the Liberty Bell on the reverse as a powerful symbol of American freedom.
1961 Franklin Half Dollar Types
|Philadelphia||1961 No Mint Mark half-dollar||8,290,000|
|Denver||1961 D half-dollar||20,276,442|
|Philadelphia||1961 proof half-dollar||3,028,244|
Franklin’s famous quote about saving pennies was a reason to consider this honorable man’s portrait for a penny obverse. However, the Mint director, Nellie Ross, believed such a man deserves to appear on at least half-dollar.
Jacqueline Kennedy disagreed to replace Washington’s portrait from quarters after the 35th President’s assassination on November 22, 1963. Therefore, the US Mint canceled the Franklin Half Dollar era and started Kennedy’s half-dollar minting.
Features of the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
The Franklin Half Dollars’ designer was John R. Sinnock. He created a coin that gave a tribute to one of the most prominent Founding Fathers, and the US Mint released them from 1948 to 1963.
The obverse of the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
The 1961 half-dollar obverse includes Benjamin Franklin’s portrait facing right with the word LIBERTY above and IN GOD WE TRUST below. There are also the designer’s initials, JRS, and the minting year (1961).
The reverse of the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
The coin reverse shows the Liberty Bell in the center, with ·E·PLURIBUS UNUM on the left and a tiny eagle on the right side. The UNITED STATES oF AMERICA is placed above the bell, while the denomination is on the coin bottom.
1961 Franklin Half Dollar Details
|Face value||Fifty cents ($0.50)|
|Coin diameter||30.6 mm (1,20472 inches)|
|Coin weight||12.5 g (0.40188 troy ounces)|
|Silver weight||11,25 g (0.36169 troy ounces)|
|Coin thickness||1.8 mm (0,07086 inches)|
|Compound||Silver and copper in 90%: 10% ratio|
Other features of the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
A reeded edge keeps a diameter of 30.6 mm (1,20472 inches) untouchable for counterfeiting. Each piece has a thickness of 1.8 mm (0,07086 inches).
1961 Franklin Half Dollar Value Guides
The US Mint had an atypical redistribution of coin production this year. Even though the mint in Philadelphia minted two coin types, the one in Denver struck twice as many half-dollars.
In other words, approximately two-thirds of the coins put into circulation had the letter D engraved above the Liberty Bell. The total mintage was 31,594,686 coins.
1961 No Mint Mark Franklin Half Dollar Value
Over 60 years ago, the Philadelphia mint produced 8,290,000 half-dollars with Benjamin Franklin on the obverse and the Liberty Bell on the reverse side. Nowadays, these coins are worth many times more than their face value.
For instance, you can buy one circulated specimen for $11 to $14, while most pieces in the mint state are worth up to 36. Only those in MS 66 grade are more expensive, with an average assessed price range from $220 to 264.
The situation is different with the 1961 MS 67 half-dollars, which can reach $1,600 to 1,900 on the market. For now, the most expensive piece is one MS 66-rated coin sold at Heritage Auctions at $4,830 in 2005.
Keep in mind that half-dollars with Full Bell Lines are more collectible, so their prices are often significantly higher. For instance, you need to set aside about:
- $25 to $30 for MS 61-rated coin
- $35 to $42 for MS 62-rated coin
- $45 to $60 for MS 63-rated coin
- $72 to $86 for MS 64-rated coin
- $630 to $724 for MS 65-rated coin
- $4,400 to $5,060 for MS 66-rated coin
- $25,000 to $28,750 for MS 67-rated coin
The 1961 MS 66+ Franklin FBL Half Dollar is the costliest piece of this kind, with an auction record of $18,000 from 2019.
1961 proof Franklin Half Dollar Value
Besides coins from regular strikes, the mint in Philadelphia struck 1961 proof half-dollars in the mintage of 3,028,244 pieces. Thanks to many surviving coins, their prices are affordable, even in the highest ranks.
In most cases, you can find a decent piece at a price range from $13.50 to $400. However, one Franklin Half Dollar minted this year in PR 69 grade changed the owner in 2021 for $1,800.
The 1961 CAM half-dollars are more appreciated among collectors, so their prices are a bit higher. For instance, you can buy one PR 62-graded coin for $17 to $19, while the one in PR 68 rank costs $200 to $230.
The most valuable pieces with cameo contrast are those ranked PR 69, which estimated price is about $1,400 to $1,610. As you know, some auctions can bring surprises to coin owners. That happened at Heritage Auctions in 2021 when one 1961 PR 69 Franklin CAM Half Dollar sold at $6,600.
In rare cases, you can also find proofs minted in 1961 with DCAM quality. Calculating $30 to $1,100 per piece is necessary unless you want a coin in PR 69 grade.
Such a piece costs approximately $15,000 to $17,250. Still, one attractive coin of such quality won an auction record after selling for $40,800 in 2018.
1961 D Franklin Half Dollar Value
Since the Denver mint had a high mintage of 20,276,442 half-dollars in 1961, the expected prices for surviving pieces are pretty modest. For instance, you can purchase one coin that spent some time in circulation for $11 to $14, while the value of those in the mint state goes up to $55 in most cases.
Only specimens in MS 66 grade have assessed prices from $250 to $300. However, estimations and reality don’t always match, so one 1961 D Franklin Half Dollar with AU 53 ranking reached $5,290 at Bowers & Merena in 2002.
Many collectors prefer buying Franklin Half Dollars with Full Bell Lines despite their higher value. The expected price range for these coins is the following:
- MS 61 – $20 to $25
- MS 62 – $22 to $28
- MS 63 – $28 to $38
- MS 64 – $36 to $46
- MS 65 – $360 to $425
- MS 66 – $2,200 to $2,530
- MS 67 – $25,000 to $28,750
Be aware that half-dollars in MS 67 grade are scarce and almost never show up at public auctions. Officially, the most expensive coin minted this year is one ranked MS 66. One collector purchased it in 2004 for $6,613.
Also read: 11 Most Valuable Half Dollars In Circulation
1961 Franklin Half Dollar Grading
Grading is the most reliable method to determine an accurate value of your 1961 Franklin Half Dollar. It is particularly recommended if you assume to have a rare and valuable piece.
Sometimes, only a few details differentiate expensive collectible coins of trash worth only their melting value. That makes the help of an appraiser crucial for any collector.
Rare 1961 Franklin Half Dollar Errors List
The list of errors among the 1961 Half Dollars is pretty limited, making them highly desirable among collectors. It is absolutely fascinating how ordinary wear and tear of minting equipment makes a difference between an affordable coin and a valuable piece.
Doubled Die Reverse proof is the most recognizable 1961 Half Dollar variety. These coins have a prominent and noticeable imperfection of the entire reverse, with the strongest doubling on the left and bottom.
These coins are scarce and expensive, and you can count on the price range from $450 to $5,520, depending on each piece’s quality. The ultimate award for every collector is the half-dollar with this error in the highest (PR 68) grade. Its estimated value is approximately $12,000 to $13,800.
The 1961 DDR CAM proof half-dollars are worth even more, and you need to set aside $3,200 to $32,200 to get one. Only rare pieces with deep CAM exist, and an official estimation for those in PR 67 and PR 68 is $30,000 to $46,000.
The Bugs Bunny error is the most prominent in half-dollars from 1955 and 1956, but you can find a few pieces from 1961 with this imperfection. In this case, the tiny damage on the obverse die caused something resembling the Franklin upper lip’s splitting.
Even though these coins are not particularly rare, a few exceptional specimens were sold for about $1,000. This error is atypical for FBL half-dollars, but one such piece in MS 65 grade sold at $1,275 on eBay in 2021.
When the die hits the planchets a few times, it sometimes breaks under the pressure. The result is an improperly cut coin with visible clipped edges or cracked marks on the surface. These pieces’ prices depend on numerous factors, primarily the size and place of the imperfection.
FAQ about the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar
Are 1961 Franklin Half Dollars scarce nowadays?
Since these coins are 60 years old, most are still in circulation. Therefore, you can consider them modern and effortlessly find a desirable piece on the market. Only the best-preserved half-dollars can be rare and pricey, but not many such specimens exist.
Which 1961 Franklin Half Dollars are the costliest in the set?
- 1961 PR 69 Franklin DCAM Half Dollar cost $40,800 at Heritage Auctions in 2018
- 1961 PR 67 Franklin CAM DDR Half Dollar cost $22,800 at Stack’s Bowers in 2023
- 1961 MS 66+ Franklin FBL Half Dollar cost $18,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2019
- 1961 PR 68 Franklin DDR Half Dollar cost $15,000 at Stack’s Bowers in 2020
- 1961 D MS 66 Franklin FBL Half Dollar cost $6,613 at Heritage Auctions in 2004
- 1961 PR 69 Franklin CAM Half Dollar cost $6,600 at Heritage Auctions in 2021
- 1961 D AU 53 Franklin Half Dollar cost $5,290 at Bowers & Merena in 2002
- 1961 MS 66 Franklin Half Dollar cost $4,830 at Heritage Auctions in 2005
- 1961 PR 68 Franklin DDR Half Dollar cost $2,040 at Heritage Auctions in 2022
- 1961 PR 69 Franklin Half Dollar cost $1,800 on eBay in 2021
- 1961 PR 67 Franklin CAM Half Dollar cost $1,680 in 2022
- 1961 MS 65 Franklin Bugs Bunny FBL Half Dollar cost $1,275 on eBay in 2021
- 1961 MS 65+ Franklin Bugs Bunny Half Dollar cost $995 on eBay in 2021
- 1961 PR 66 Franklin DDR Half Dollar cost $557 on eBay in 2010
How much money for the 1961 Franklin Half Dollar?
Most circulated half-dollars cost $11 to $14, while you can buy one in the mint state for $264 max. The only exceptions are those in MS 67 grade with an assessed price range from $1,600 to 1,900.
On the other hand, half-dollars with Full Bell Lines are more expensive, with an average price range from $25 to $5,000. Only scarce coins in MS 67 grade are worth a fortune, about $25,000 to $28,750.
What is the list of the priciest Franklin Half Dollars?
- The 1958 MS 67+ Franklin FBL Half Dollar, sold at $129,250, is the most expensive coin minted in Philadelphia
- The 1951 PR 67+ Franklin Half Dollar, sold at $82,250, is the most expensive DCAM proof coin minted in Philadelphia
- The 1953 S MS 66 Franklin Half Dollar, sold at $69,000, is the most expensive coin minted in San Francisco
- The 1953 PR 68 Franklin Half Dollar, sold at $63,250, is the most expensive proof coin minted in Philadelphia
- The 1958 D MS 67+ Franklin FBL Half Dollar, sold at $32,900, is the most expensive coin minted in Denver