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Coin Of the Month

Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin

Ben Franklin-Liberty Bell Half-Dollar (1948–1963)

Greetings, fellow patriots!  I'm Peter the Mint Eagle, here to introduce you to the July coin.  I chose the Ben Franklin half-dollar because it's perfect for this month's big holiday—July 4th, the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress.

You probably know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.  But did you know that he got help from Ben Franklin?  Franklin helped write the Declaration of Independence, which, as a member of the Second Continental Congress, he also signed.  Franklin was a very good writer.  In fact, he was only a teenager when he published his first newspaper essays.  Later on, he became a printer and an inventor.  He also started the first fire department and public library.

Maybe Jefferson wouldn't let Ben write the whole Declaration because he knew what a humorist Ben was, and worried that he'd throw in a few jokes.  In any case, Jefferson's work became the most cherished and important of our country's documents.  It not only declared our independence from England, it stated our most important beliefs—that all men are created equal and entitled to certain rights, including the right to govern themselves.

First minted in 1948, this coin was around for many years after and probably jingled in your parents' or grandparents' pockets.  Some people consider Franklin half-dollars valuable because they were made of 90% silver.

Peter, the Mint Eagle

Teacher Feature

OBVERSE: Ben Franklin-Liberty Bell Half-Dollar (1948-1963)
Obverse:  The coin features an engraving of Ben Franklin modeled after a bust that was sculpted in France while Franklin was there seeking help for the newly independent colonies.

REVERSE: Ben Franklin-Liberty Bell Half-Dollar (1948-1963)
Reverse:  Notice the crack on the Liberty Bell. That didn't actually appear on the bell until long after Franklin died.

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