SkyMan - TonedBennies
(As of 1/7/17 I started adding much more of my collection to this PCGS set due to NGC's making it impossible to add PCGS coins to their Registry. At some point this year I plan to add images, which are already in existence, to this set).
I was born in 1958 and the largest coin minted in that year was the Franklin, so that is how I got started in collecting them. At first I was more drawn toward cameo/dcam proofs, but as my tastes matured I became much more interested in business strike coins. Having grown up around artwork I particularly liked the amazing colors Mother Nature could gift to a silver coin. Here is a quick and dirty guide to TYPICAL colors Frankies will tone in from 1948-58 (I'll start adding info for 1959-63 later). You can find Frankies in any of these dates/mintmarks with nice colors, but expect to pay more above and beyond the conditional rarity of the technical grade and "normal" toning prices, for nicely toned coins with the tougher date/mintmark combos. Also, when you do find a toner in the tougher date/mintmark combos, the colors will often appear more muted on a darker background. However, I've seen NT iridescent colors even on normally dull date/mintmark combos. Also, you will see relative difficulty numbers for finding toned MS 65 Franklins. These numbers come from, "The Complete Guide to Franklin Half Dollars", by Rick Tomaska. The easiest toned coins to find have a rarity rating of 1 and the toughest have a rating of 8. These numbers are relative numbers in that all they show is which dates/mintmarks are more difficult to find than others. The ranking has nothing to do with actual numbers of toned coins (e.g. an 8 is not 8 times more difficult to find than a 1. In actuality it is much, much more difficult). Also this number is applicable SOLELY to Franklins, and is not per se a spin off of other rarity systems. After each date description you will see two numbers. The first number deals with the difficulty of finding a toned coin in FBL and the second number is to find a toned Franklin period, e.g. with or without FBL. For example after 1949-S you will see (4, 2). This means that for the 1949-S the relative level of difficulty to find a toned FBL is a 4, while to find one with toning WITH OR WITHOUT FBL is a 2. 1948-P Dull golden brown (2, 2). 1948-D Dull golden brown (3, 3). 1949-P This is a bit better than the 1948 (3, 3). 1949-D Gray/dull brown (7, 6). 1949-S Dull golden brown or violet (4, 2). 1950-P No govt. issue mint sets, so toners are tough to find (4, 3). 1950-D Dull golden gray (6, 6). 1951-P Gray (4, 3). 1951-D Dull gray or brown (5, 5). 1951-S Average toning, but can tone in burgundy, orange, violet, green (6, 3). 1952-P A fair amount of gray, but relatively often some good toners. Burgundy, gold, wine-red (3, 2). 1952-D Dull gray or brown (5, 4). 1952-S Dull blue-gray, some with golden orange and burgundy (7, 3). 1953-P Often attractive, burgundy, blue, gold, orange (7, 4). 1953-D Dull gray or brown (5, 4). 1953-S Dull gray or brown (8, 1). 1954-P Dull mottled toning (4, 3). 1954-D Most are gray, but some can be found with iridescent wine-red, burgundy, or golden-orange (3, 3). 1954-S Mellow golden brown (5, 1). 1955-P Darker blue, golden brown (2, 1). 1956-P Relatively often some good toners. Deep purple, blue, green, burgundy, golden-orange (2, 1). 1957-P Relatively often some good toners. Purple, blue, burgundy, golden-orange, golden-olive (2, 1). 1957-D Dull gray, however, quite a few with iridescent golden-olive, burgundy and green (1, 1). 1958-P Relatively often some good toners. Sunburst golden-yellows to deep purple, with varieties of blue to purple being the most common color (2, 1). 1958-D Dull gray, quite a few with iridescent green, golden-orange, red, some blue. By FAR the most common date/mm to find nicely toned (1, 1). 1959-P From 1959 to 1963 the Mint Sets were no longer made of cardboard and paper, but were made of a variant of cellophane. It is much more difficult to find toners for these 5 years. Instead of mint set toning, most of the toning switches over to album, envelope or roll toning (4,3). 1959-D (4,4). 1960-P (5,4). 1960-D (7,6). 1961-P (7,4). 1961-D (7,5). 1962-P (7,5). 1962-D (7,4). 1963-P (5,3). 1963-D (4,3). As you can see, there are a LOT of dull Frankies out there. However, there are enough goodies to make it worthwhile... particularly when you find a nicely toned one from a "bad" year/mintmark. One thing that makes me happy about this set is that FIVE of the Franklins were considered good enough by R. Tomaska to be included as Plate coins in "Appendix A: Beautifully Toned Coins", in his 2011 book, "A Guide Book of Franklin & Kennedy Half Dollars". The 5 coins are; 1948-D, 1954-S, 1958, 1958-D, and 1960. I would be intrigued to see how many of the sets ranking ahead of this set had 5 or more coins pictured in the most current book of the acknowledged Franklin expert. The coins have been imaged by an assortment of people including R&I Coins, Laura DeFalco, Bob Campbell, Shane Canup, Bruce Lee and LucyBop. I would particularly like to thank Bob, Shane, Lucy and Bruce for volunteering their time and effort to image the coins.