[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, Rick Tomaska. This information was originally published in 2002 in The Complete Guide to Franklin Half Dollars]
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101 So-called “Bugs Bunny” variety. Franklin looks as though he has buck teeth.(Breen,p.417) Probably the result of die chips or clash marks. Often sought by non-Franklin collectors as well because its such as curious variety.
Current Availability & Values
All Circulated Grades: Readily available.
Value: Uncirculated coins are recommended. Low mintage may make low grade coins hard to find in bullion.
MS 64 FBL: Being a relatively well struck date, and with BU rolls still available in limited quantities, the 1955-P is common in MS 64 FBL. Color coins are a bit more elusive, as most mint set toned 1955-P’s lack vibrant toning.
Value: About the same range as the 1954-P – $30-$50 for attractive examples, in either brilliant or color toned condition.
MS 65 Brilliant: While MS 65 “blue-sheet” values for 1955-P to 1958-D Franklins are the lowest in the series, these dates are among the most underrated issues in untoned, brilliant MS 65 condition, and are in fact extremely scarce in MS 65 brilliant. Surprised? The vast majority of these issues that have been graded in MS 65 are toned examples from mint sets. At least 95% of the 1,800+ 1955-P’s graded in MS 65 are mint-set toned coins. Original BU rolls of this date are typically very baggy. Most examples display considerable abrasion on the high point of Franklins cheek – the most vulnerable portion of the coin. Strike is inconsistent, about equal to the 1954-P. Fortunately, luster is outstanding – water spots are not as prevalent on 1955-P’s as they are for many of the other issues from 1953 to 1963.
Value: Under $100 for non-FBL specimens. As the series continues to grow in popularity, and more collectors attempt to assemble gem brilliant sets, this price is guaranteed to rise.
MS 65 Toned: The typical mint set toned 1955-P Franklin possesses darker blue and golden-brown coloration. Luster is average. Finding a 1955-P with the dazzling, bright colors of some of the finer 1956-P and 1957-P Franklins can prove to be a very challenging task. Beautiful color coins do exist, but they are scarce.
Value: The average toned 1955-P can be acquired for $30-$75 in non-FBL. Their colors may not be satisfactory to the toning afficionado. Examples with more dazzling, iridescent color may sell for 3-4 times more.
MS 65 FBL: About 1/3 of existing MS 65’s are FBL specimens. For a Philadelphia mint coin, the strike for this date is average. A significant premium will therefore have to be paid to acquire a fully struck example. Toned MS 65 FBL ‘55-P’s probably outnumber untoned, brilliant examples by 50 to 1. A brilliant MS 65 FBL 1955-P is extremely scarce.
Value: One can expect to pay a 50-75% premium for a bold full bell line ‘55- P over its non-FBL counterpart. Toned examples can generally be acquired for $75-$125. Brilliant untoned examples command considerably more – expect to pay $300-$400 for such coins.
MS 66 & MS 67: Much tougher than the 1956-P in MS 66. Primarily due to the difficulty in finding attractive, dazzling mint set toned examples. Most examples feature average, rather dark mint set toning. Exceptional color coins are quite rare, making up less than 10% of the total MS 66 FBL population. The 1955-P is virtually non-existent in brilliant MS 66 FBL. To this author’s knowledge, NGC & PCGS have each graded only 1 or 2 examples.
Value: Average toned MS 66 FBL Franklins can sometimes be acquired for under $300. Their non-FBL counterpart is about half that price. Exceptional color coins can sell for multiples of that figure. The final price usually has to be negotiated between buyer and seller. Some of the finest color coins in MS 66 FBL have commanded over $2,000. Brilliant MS 66 FBL 1955-P Franklins will sell for multiples of that number! The record is approximately $15,000 for a PCGS graded example.
The 1955-P is rarely encountered in exceptional MS 66 FBL grade. Most MS 66 FBL specimens feature drab mint set color. Exceptional color toned examples, or the ultra-rare brilliant example, will command huge premiums on today’s market. THE 1955 “BUGS BUNNY” The “Bugs Bunny” is a very popular variety in this series. It is scarce in any grade, but especially MS 65 FBL. The finest MS 65 FBL brilliant examples have traded for upwards of $500.