US Coins

Inside Coin World: Two reverse styles for Proof 1956 half dollars

Two different reverses were used on Proof 1956 Franklin half dollars, with one version scarcer than the other. The key to identifying which version is the eagle found to the right of the Liberty Bell.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Coin Values Spotlight: 1956 Franklin half dollars

Collectors looking at Proof 1956 Franklin half dollars could benefit from counting the number of wing feathers borne by the small eagle on the coin’s reverse. As I write in my “Coin Values Spotlight” for the July 29 issue of Coin World, two different reverses were used.

The first coins were struck with the design first used for circulation strikes in 1948, in the coin’s first year of production, and for the first Proof versions starting in 1950. Early in 1956, however, a new reverse design was introduced, creating two distinct subtypes for the coin.

The differences are most identifiable on the small eagle found to the right of the Liberty Bell, and all it takes is counting the number of wing feathers on either side of the bundle of arrows the eagle holds in its feet. To learn how to identify the two designs and why one version can be worth a lot more, read my column in the print and digital editions of Coin World.

The Joys of Collecting: King Farouk auction

In his “The Joys of Collecting” column in the July 29 Coin World, Q. David Bowers recalls the experiences of the American collectors and dealers who attended the auction of the King Farouk Collection in Egypt in 1954.

While Bowers did not personally attend the auction, he knew most of those who did. He stood ready to purchase some of the pieces those in attendance picked up at the auction, though many of those pieces exhibited damage resulting from the king’s less than perfect collecting habits. The auction followed the overthrow of the throne in Egypt by military personnel in the country.

Read more about the auction and the experiences of some of the Americans in attendance in David’s latest column, found only in the print and digital issues of Coin World.

Tokens to Collect: Anti-Jackson Hard Times token

Andrew Jackson ran for president on a platform aimed at the common man, including taking a position against the Second Bank of the United, which served as the nation’s central bank and whose charter ended during his term in office, as Chris Bulfinch writes in his “Tokens to Collect” column.

Jackson was successful in his fight against the bank and it did not receive a new charter from Congress. The closing of the bank helped create a financial panic in the mid-1830s, followed by a recession, an event that is captured on a number of cent-sized tokens issued during the financial meltdown.

To learn more about the era and about one of the anti-Jackson tokens, see Chris’ column, found only in the print and digital editions of the July 29 Coin World.

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