Commemorating 75 Years: The Definitive Guide to Franklin and Kennedy Half Dollars

As collectors and numismatists celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the first minting of the Franklin half dollar, Whitman Publishing is unveiling an updated fourth edition of A Guide Book of Franklin and Kennedy Half Dollars. This 248-page edition, authored by professional numismatist Rick Tomaska, is poised to become an indispensable resource for coin enthusiasts, providing insights into the rich history and intricate details of these iconic coins.

Franklin half dollars, minted from 1948 to 1963, and Kennedy half dollars, minted from 1964 to the present day, hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and investors alike. “Whether you’re a collector spending $50 a month or an investor with a budget of $50,000, there are challenges and rewards to enjoy with these historic coins,” affirms author Rick Tomaska.

The new edition of the guide not only delves into the retail and auction markets but also provides a comprehensive exploration of the coins’ designs, production techniques, and their cultural significance. Tomaska offers valuable insights into the transitions in Mint craftsmanship, shedding light on why Franklin and Kennedy half dollars represent the culmination of a particular era in coinage history.

Readers will find detailed examinations of these coins, including date-by-date commentary on exceptional and highly toned specimens. The book also offers a glimpse into the world of Proof coins, explaining their production and grading processes. Collectors will appreciate the coverage of factors like Cameo and Deep Cameo contrast, Full Bell Lines, certified coin populations, and other elements crucial for assessing value and rarity. To aid collectors further, the guide includes information on collectible die varieties, tips for informed purchasing, and a wealth of full-color photographs.

What’s New in the Fourth Edition:

  1. 1964 Specimen Kennedy Half Dollars: The edition includes new research on these coins, adding to their historical context.
  2. NGC Rick Tomaska Signature Series: The guide covers this unique designation, providing collectors with valuable information.
  3. Updated Coin Photographs: New images enhance the reader’s understanding and appreciation of these coins.
  4. Revised Values: Values for each coin in multiple grades have been updated, reflecting current market conditions.
  5. Auction Data and Recent Retail Sale Records: Providing the latest insights into market trends.

Rick Tomaska’s expertise extends to the fiftieth-anniversary gold and silver Kennedy half dollars minted from 1964 to 2014. Additionally, the guide features illustrated appendices on “Exceptional Cameo Contrast” and remarkable error and misstruck Franklin and Kennedy halves. An illustrated chapter on Proof Liberty Walking half dollars, described as “true classics born during the wonderful Renaissance era in American coin design,” offers a deeper understanding of the coins that paved the way for the Proofs of the Franklin series.

Rick Tomaska, a well-established figure in numismatics and a contributor to the Guide Book of United States Coins (popularly known as the “Red Book”), brings more than forty years of experience to the table. His passion for numismatics shines through as he shares his knowledge. Tomaska commented, “I finally feel comfortable saying that I’ve made my mark on the numismatic community.”

In the foreword, numismatic historian Q. David Bowers emphasizes the value of this guide, stating, “By reading this book you can become an expert on these widely collected coins.” Indeed, the fourth edition of A Guide Book of Franklin and Kennedy Half Dollars promises to be an essential companion for collectors and investors seeking to delve deeper into the world of numismatic treasures. This edition is available online at and through booksellers and hobby shops nationwide.

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