I noted that 1954 and 1955 Franklin, “Bugs Bunny” half dollars sold
at the January Heritage auction. Are these legitimate coins? I never
saw them in past “Red Books” and I don’t recall seeing coverage in
Are these Bugs Bunny varieties acceptable coins now like overdate
coins? Does Coin World recognize these Bugs Bunny varieties
as legitimate coins?
If so, will they now be in Coin World’s U.S. values
section? If they are, then I would need to add them to a half dollar
collection, but only if they are recognized by Coin World as
a real variety.
The nickname “Bugs Bunny” is given to certain Franklin half
dollars bearing clash marks projecting from the vicinity of Benjamin
Franklin’s mouth. The clash marks were transferred from the eagle’s
feathers on the reverse, when obverse and reverse dies came together
without an intervening planchet, or “clashed.” The clashed feathers
vaguely resemble the buck teeth of Bugs Bunny.
The Bugs Bunny half dollars are legitimate coins, but they are not
listed as die varieties in standard reference works like A Guide
Book of United States Coins (the Red Book) and Coin
World’s U.S. values section for various reasons. Although the
coins are popular with some collectors, standard price guides have
limited space for listing die varieties, die stages and die states.
For example, Coin World’s values section lists fewer than
a dozen doubled die varieties for the Lincoln cent series, yet more
than a thousand individual doubled die varieties have been identified
for the Lincoln cent series alone.
In deciding whether to add a variety or related coin to its price
guides, Coin World looks at the marketplace and asks: Is this
coin significant enough to list? Is there a history of broad collector
interest in this coin? Is there a strong two-way market for this coin?
Will we be able to obtain accurate pricing information?
Using these criteria, the Bugs Bunny half dollars do not currently
warrant inclusion. Nonetheless, they are legitimate error coins and
are considered collectible.
The Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United
States Coins does list the 1955 Franklin, Bugs Bunny half
dollar. This reference is a specialized work, in that it focuses
solely on die varieties. The book is not all-inclusive; it does not
list all die varieties.
Ultimately, each collector decides what to collect. If a collector
wants to collect the Bugs Bunny coins, great! If not, that is OK as well.
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