[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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Current Availability & Values
PROOF 60-64: Quality continued to improve for 1952. While the early mint packaging was still in use, most 1952’s are not quite as heavily hairlined as proof Franklins of the previous two years. Still, most examples are less than gem quality, the average grade being about proof 63-64.
Value: Under $100 for proof 64 and lower grade specimens.
PROOF 65-68: Scarce in proof 65, though not as difficult as the 1950 or 1951 in this grade. As expected, proof 66 and 67 examples are also easier to come by, though this date is rare in the higher proof 67 category – especially with haze-free, deep mirrored fields. To date, only 9 1952 have been graded in proof 68. Franklin
Value: Proof 65’s can currently be acquired for $125-$150, with “66’s” selling in the $250 range. Proof 66’s were selling for almost $1,000 at the peak of the market in 1989. Proof 67’s can currently be acquired for $500-$700. The few NGC Proof 68’s graded have recently sold for $900-$1500.
PROOF 64-66 CAMEO: Extremely scarce in gem Proof 65-66 cameo. The 1950 Franklin is the key date of the series in gem cameo, followed closely by the 1951, which is followed by the 1952. Most cameo 1952 Franklins are somewhat mismatched, with heavier cameo obverses than reverses. Most are struck from repolished dies, with die polishing lines very evident on Franklin’s head. Still, these repolished dies produced some of the most eye-appealing cameo ‘52’s known, with truly breathtaking cameo contrast.
Value: In Proof 64 Cameo the 1952 can be acquired for as little as $400. Proof 65 examples currently offer tremendous value, trading for little more: $500-$1500. The higher figure for a near DCAM/ULTRA CAM coin. Proof 66 Cameo examples trade at roughly double those figures — some NGC pieces selling around $1,000, while a PCGS example apporaching DCAM sold for nearly $3,000.
PROOF 67-68 CAMEO: Very Rare. To date, only a handful of examples have been graded in Proof 67 Cameo, with only 1 graded in Proof 68 Cameo.
Value: PCGS Proof 67 Cameo examples have typically traded in the $5,000- $7,000 range. The lone Proof 68 Cameo was sold for approximately $10,000 in the late 1990’s by this author. That coin would certainly command far more if it came onto the market today.
PROOF 64-66 PCGS DCAM/NGC ULTRA CAM: 1952 proof Franklins with ultra-heavy snow-white frosted devices on both obverse & reverse are rarely encountered. To date, only a few 1952 Franklins have been graded in either PCGS “DCAM” or NGC “Ultra Cam” Proof 65-66 grade.
Value: The 1952 is in tremendous demand among cameo Franklin collectors attempting to assemble top DCAM sets. Its tremendous appreciation the past several years reflects that reality. If a PR65DCAM were to surface today, it would likely command $6000-$9000. A PR66DCAM would likely be a $15,000-$20,000 coin. Even in PR64 DCAM this is a $2,000+ coin.
PROOF 67-68 PCGS DCAM/NGC ULTRA CAM: EXTREMELY RARE. There may be a few more examples out there, but they have not surfaced and this author has personally handled only one other 1952 that may have been of this caliber in 15+ years of specializing in this field. The ultimate! Only one graded – a PCGS PR67DCAM. This coin is struck from the same die as all 4 examples graded in PR66DCAM. This particular cameo die is one of the few that exhibited the necessary cameo contrast on both obverse and reverse when new.
Value: The lone PR67DCAM was sold for slightly over $30,000 by this author in the year 2000. The owner would certainly be in a position to make a tidy profit if he were to offer the coin today, such is the intense demand and competition for the finest proof coins from this era.
With a 50% higher mintage than the previous year and a slight improvement in quality, the 1952 is considerably easier to locate in gem condition, though near-hairline-free, haze-free proof 67 examples are extremely scarce. Cameos are also quite scarce – especially in proof 65 and higher grade, though not as elusive as the 1951 in this condition. On the other hand, because so many 1952 cameo Franklins were struck from mismatched dies, with ultra heavy cameo obverses but only heavy cameo reverses, the 1952 proof Franklin is extremely rare in gem ultra heavy cameo, with matching ultra heavy cameo contrast obverse and reverse. It is as rare, or rarer, than the 1951 in this ultimate grade.
The 1952 Franklin is a red hot date in gem NGC/PCGS ULTRA/DCAM condition. This author has several clients who would like to own a 1952 Franklin of this caliber, and are willing to pay a very strong price. None of the owners of the few examples graded are interested in selling.