I just filled in the last blank hole in my collection of uncirculated Franklin Half Dollars. I’ve been collecting coins in some capacity since I was about 10 years old. I don’t know how it started, but I remember my grandpa had several Peace Dollars and Morgan Dollars, and my brother and I started snapping pocket change into Whitman folders whenever we’d come across a year/mint we didn’t already have. My parents would take us to a local coin shop where we’d spend a buck or two on some Wheat Cents or Buffalo Nickels. When the big bucks started rolling in from the increased allowance and lawn mowing business in the early 1980s, I can remember spending upwards of $5.00 on a single coin like a VG Wheat Cent from the 1920s or Walking Liberty Half Dollar from the 1940s. I even spend $24 on an 1841 Seated Liberty Half Dollar minted in New Orleans.
Fast forward to 1999, when, of course, the State Quarter program likely had something to do with my increased interest in building my collection – I started getting every year’s Silver Proof Set and many older uncirculated Wheat Cents.
In the early 2000s, I decided to go ahead and make a push to complete the set of uncirculated Franklin Halves for several reasons. I already had many of them, some cheaper ones in uncirculated condition, so I was closer to a complete set of these than to anything else. The collection is relatively small – they were only minted between 1948 and 1963, and some years don’t have mint marks. They are relatively inexpensive, with no key dates being so rare as to command exorbitant prices — uncirculated specimens from any year and mint can be gotten for less than $50 each.
So after upgrading some I had in lower grades to uncirculated and filling in some dates I didn’t yet have, the last one I needed was the elusive 1949. It was easy enough to find one at local coin shops over the years, but getting one in the right grade at the right price was not so easy – but being patient finally paid off and the last piece fell into place in January.