Description and Analysis

Franklin Half Dollars
1959 50C MS

Description & Analysis

Though this issue is plentiful from uncirculated rolls and bags saved at the time, the 1959 Philadelphia Mint half dollar is surprisingly scarce in grades above MS-65. There are two possible reasons for this high grade rarity. Always considered a common issue, 1959(P) was not widely sought as single coins for many decades after being made, and frequent trading by the $50 face value bag led to the coins suffering frequent contact with one another. In addition, the U. S. Mint abandoned its cardboard Uncirculated Set holders that often imparted attractive toning to earlier dates in this series. The 1959 and later sets have instead been housed within plastic and thus never attained pleasing coloration that can boost their grades a point or two.

Like the 1958(P) halves, this issue may be found coined with a reverse die used previously to strike proofs. These are distinguished by the sharp eagle figure, and examples form a minority of the 1959(P) circulating edition. One reverse die was hubbed from both the proof and currency hubs. This resulted in the eagle showing the sharp figure overlapping the weak, and it is a highly prized variety (FS-801).