Coin Value Finder » 1949 Half Dollar Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

1949 Half Dollar Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

Is the 1949 Half Dollar worth more than its face value of 0.5 cents? To answer this question, you must understand that the place of minting, grade of the coin, presence of errors, number of coins in circulation, and history of the coin, among other factors, are relevant information to consider.

Here, we’ll provide all the valuable information you need to become a pro at valuing the 1949 Half Dollar. We’ll explore the details of the coin and varieties in circulation and trace the 1949 half-dollar to its roots.

1949 Half Dollar Details

1949 Half Dollar

On the path to becoming a pro at valuing the 1949 Half dollar coins, familiarizing yourself with the coin’s physical features is crucial. We’ll divide this 1949 coin into its obverse (head) and reverse (reverse) to make things easy to follow.

  • Category: Franklin Half Dollars
  • Mints: Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver
  • Total Mintage: 13,748,600
  • Obverse Designer: John R. Sinnock
  • Reverse Designer: John R. Sinnock
  • Composition: 90%Silver 10% copper
  • Fineness: 0.9
  • Weight: 12.5 grams
  • ASW: 0.3617 oz
  • Diameter: 30.6 mm 
  • Thickness: 1.8 mm
  • Edge: Reeded

The Obverse

The most noteworthy feature of the 1949 half dollar is the right-facing image of Benjamin Franklin positioned at the coin’s center. 

Here, Franklin’s hair is brushed backward, with only the lower part of his ear visible. This forms not only the obverse’s most identifiable feature but is also the basis for the common name many call the 1949 Half dollar, the Franklin Half dollar.

The design spotted on the obverse is a creation of Jean Antoine Houdon from the 18th century. However, this image is one of many noteworthy physical features on the coin’s obverse; several other inscriptions are worthy of note. Some of these include;

  • The word LIBERTY at the top of the statue
  • The famous slogan IN GOD WE TRUST beneath Benjamin’s portrait
  • 1949, the year each mint struck the Half Dollar, located beneath Franklin’s chin

The Reverse

The reverse of the 1949 Half Dollar also packs quite a few details. However, it is worth mentioning that the Liberty Bell is the one feature that stands out. 

Interestingly, the bell on the coin also carries the inscription on the original “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” An image that also includes the handle and the clapper.

Above the liberty bell is a bold inscription, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and below the bell, the face value of this coin HALF DOLLAR. To the left of the Liberty bell is the Latin motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Still, on the reverse, you will find the miniature image of an eagle with outstretched wings by the right of the liberty bell. 

These features are the defining characteristics of a typical 1949 half-dollar coin. See below the important details to look out for in identifying a 1949 Franklin dollar.

1949 Half Dollar Value Chart

Mint mark



Extremely Fine

Uncirculated (Mint State)

1949 No Mint Mark Half Dollar $15 $16 $24 $154
1949 “D” Mint Mark Half Dollar D $15 $16 $24 $354
1949 “S” Mint Mark Half Dollar $15 $15 $28 $206

1949 Half Dollar Value and Variety Guide

One major determinant of the value of a typical 1949 half-dollar is its variety. The easiest way to determine this variety is to be fully acquainted with the mint mark from each Mint. Here, we will study these different mint marks and how they affect the value of the half dollar.

1949 No Mint Mark Half Dollar Value

1949 No Mint Mark Half Dollar

  • Category: Franklin Half Dollars
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Mint Mark: None
  • Place of Minting: Philadelphia
  • Year of Minting: 1949
  • Face Value: 50 Cents
  • Melt Value: $7.94
  • Dollar Price: $15 – $154
  • Quantity Produced: 5,614,000
  • Designer: John R. Sinnock

Let us begin by stating that the Philadelphia mint struck the bulk of the half-dollar coins produced in 1949. This makes them the most accessible variety in the 1949 Half DOllar category. Like most coins from Philadelphia, these coins exist without a mint mark.

To confirm if the 1949 half dollar in your possession is a Philadelphia mint production, examine the top of the liberty bell under the E in the United States; there should be no mint mark present. 

You should know that 1949 half-dollar coins are graded into four categories; goof, fine, extremely fine, and uncirculated. Those in good condition are worth about $15, while those considered fine grade can vary from said price to $19. Extremely fine Philadelphia 1949 Half dollar coins may cost $24.

Lastly, expect to get as much as $154 if you are willing to part ways with an uncirculated 1949 Half Dollar. No wonder on the Professional coin grading service website, an MS67 grade Half Dollar sold at an auction in 2008 for $14,950.

1949 “D” Mint Mark Half Dollar Value

1949 “D” Mint Mark Half Dollar

  • Category: Franklin Half Dollars
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Mint Mark: S
  • Place of Minting: Denver
  • Year of Minting: 1949
  • Face Value: 50 Cents
  • Melt Value: $7.94
  • Dollar Price: $15 – $354
  • Quantity Produced: 4,120,600
  • Designer: John R. Sinnock

In 1949, the Denver mint produced 4,120,600 1949 Half dollar coins, making it the second least mintage from the Franklin series. The effect of this resulted in the scarcity of these coins. However, this has no impact on the value of the coins; well, excluding the uncirculated series.

Identifying a Denver 1949 Franklin Half Dollar is easy since it has a mint mark placed on the coin’s reverse and above the liberty bell. Here, you will find the letter D indicating that the coin is from the Denver Mint.

The estimated value of one of these Half Dollar mints is around $15 in good condition and $15 – $19 in fine condition. This value, however, becomes higher for the extremely fine coins, which is $24. For uncirculated coins, the value goes even higher, costing as much as $354.

The highest “D” mint Half Dollar we found is an MS66 Half Dollar sold for $11,500 by Heritage Auctions in March 2011.

1949 “S” Mint Mark Half Dollar Value

1949 “S” Mint Mark Half Dollar

  • Category: Franklin Half Dollars
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Mint Mark: S
  • Place of Minting: San Francisco
  • Year of Minting: 1949
  • Face Value: 50 Cents
  • Melt Value: $7.94
  • Dollar Price: $15 – $206
  • Quantity Produced: 3,744,000
  • Designer: John R. Sinnock

Coins struck in the San Francisco mint bear the S mint mark, and they account for the lowest volume of 1949 Half dollar coins in circulation, a little above 3.7 million coins. 

Although production of the Half dollar series had begun a year before, 1949 was the first year the San Francisco mint would produce this coin and this could be the reason only a few of them were struck.

An S mint coin in good grade costs about $15, while those classified as fine are $19. The extremely fine ones are valued higher with a $27 valuation, and when you find an uncirculated grade S mint mark 1949 Half Dollar, expect its value to fall within the $67 – $205 range.

The highest recorded grade for the S mint series is an MS67 rating from an auction in 2018 that sold for $31,725.

Also Read: Top 15 Most Valuable Kennedy Half Dollar Worth Money

1949 Half Dollar History

From 1949 till 1963, the United States produced the Franklin halves in the design created by Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock. Many have stipulated that this design is the last set of half dollars made with the usual 90% silver composition.

Although the design used is Sinnock’s, he did not design the original Franklin statue from which he obtained the inspiration for the design. John R. Sinnock used Jean Antoine Houdon’s creation from the 18th century for the coin’s obverse and used the famous liberty bell for the reverse along with a small eagle by the side.

This move was under the direction of Mint director Nellie Tayloe Ross, a long-time admirer of Benjamin Franklin. In 1947, she ordered Sinnock to create designs with images of the beloved Franklin.

Unfortunately, Sinnock passed before he completed his designs, leading to his successor Gilroy Roberts completing the designs from where Sinnock left off.

After submitting the finished design to the mint, a controversy ensued within the commission as the commission did not fancy adding the little eagle to the reverse. The commission also felt that including the crack in the Liberty bells would allow for ridicule of this coinage. However, this did not prevent the mint from releasing these designs.

The mint should have informed the press that the designs from the Franklin Half Dollar were not approved. Instead, they painted it as a Ross idea which the press accepted and praised, primarily because of the featured Benjamin Franklin statue.

After releasing these coins, the mint faced more controversies as they were accused of paying tribute to Joseph Stalin, the soviet leader, through a ‘JRS’ initial on the cutoff of Franklin’s statue, which was meant for John R. Sinnock. Note that Joseph Stalin had no middle name starting with R.

The mint responded to this accusation by stating whose initials were on the coin and reminded the press about the same accusation in 1946 after Sinnock designed the Roosevelt Dimes. Production of these coins continued until 1963 when the Kennedy halves replaced these coins as a tribute to the assassinated president John F. Kennedy.

These coins, till today, remain legal tender to coin collectors and numismatists. Their Dollar value has continued to increase past their face value.

1949 Half Dollar Grading

Grading will help you determine the actual value of a 1949 Half Dollar coin, so you need to do it properly. View below the four grading systems.

The good and the fine, also called the averagely circulated, are the first two with the pile’s lowest value. The last two are the uncirculated bunch, with one being an extremely fine coin and the other being the mint state coin with the highest value.

1949 Half Dollar Error Coins

Errors are features that appear in some of these coins, caused mainly by an error during the striking process that tends to increase the value of these coins. Here are some of these errors.

1. 1949 Half Dollar Bugs Bunny Error

1949 Half Dollar Bugs Bunny

This error is due to a die clash on Benjamin Franklin’s statue, making it appear like he has two buck teeth. This die clash makes the imagery on the coin look like the famous cartoon hare Bugs Bunny, hence the error’s name.

The value of an error coin of this nature depends also on the coin’s grade. While an MS65 grade coin with this error value is $75, an MS60 grade costs 30 in the coin collectors market.

2. 1949 Half Dollar Doubled Die Error

A double die error is common in the 1949 Franklin halves and many other American coins. It features a strong doubling of the coin’s details either on its obverse or reverse.

Coins like these still need to be graded. Depending on the outcome, they may have higher values than the original grade assigned to them due to their distinct errors.

1949 Half Dollar FAQs

What is My 1949 Half Dollar Worth?

The true worth of your 1949 dollar is subject to the grading of your coin, which is determined by the strike, luster, and state of the coin. Depending on your coin’s grade, the value can be between $15 – $353.

What Images are on the 1949 Half Dollar?

There are two defining images on the 1949 half dollar, one on the obverse and the other on the reverse. The obverse features founding father Benjamin Franklin, the reverse liberty bell, and a small eagle on the right.

What is Another Name for the 1949 Half Dollar?

This half-dollar coin is also nicknamed the Franklin half-dollar due to the Benjamin Franklin statue on the coin’s obverse.

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