Franklin Half Dollars > Ch 7 > Proof Franklin > Date Analysis > 1958

[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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Mintage

875,652

Varieties

102 Type 2, or strong eagle reverse (found on both business strikes and proof coinage). Breen estimated that only 20% of the business strikes exhibit the type 2 reverse. (Breen, 418)

Current Availability & Values

PROOF 60-64: A curious problem began to appear on silver proof coins in 1958. A large percentage of proof Franklin halves, Washington quarters, and Roosevelt dimes, the silver issues, began to exhibit white spotting over their surfaces – commonly referred to as “milk-spots.” This spotting was likely the result of incomplete cleaning of the planchets before striking. Soapy cleaning solutions were commonly used to wash the planchets during that period. One theory is that the spotting commonly found on proof silver issues of this era is the residue left from these solutions.

Value: $10-$12

PROOF 65-68: While proof 65-66 1958 Franklins are very common – the majority probably grade in this range – this date is considerably more scarce in the higher proof 67-68 grades. Proof 68 ‘58’s are especially scarce. Finding a hairline-free, milk-spot free ‘58 can be a frustrating task.

Value: This date trades at about the same levels as the 1956 and 1957 Franklins in the proof 65-67 grades – roughly $15 for proof 65 examples, and $40-$60 for 67’s. The 1958 is considerably rarer than the ‘56 or ‘57 in proof 68.Proof 68 examples can currently be acquired for as little as $75- $200. Occasionally this date can be acquired with an exceptional heavy cameo obverse/brilliant reverse. These coins are rare, and often trade for upwards of $300 when they do surface.

PROOF 64-66 CAMEO: Very scarce in gem cameo. Few were struck possessing heavy cameo contrast on both obverse & reverse. Those that are heavily contrasted generally possess a few hairlines and/or milk-spots, placing them in the proof 65-66 category.

Value: Under $100 in 64-65 Cameo, $100-$200 in Proof 66 Cameo.

PROOF 67-68 CAMEO: Extremely scarce in Proof 67 Cameo, and rare in Proof 68 Cameo. Again, finding an early strike cameo ‘58 is hard enough. Locating one of these elusive coins without the usual assortment of hairlines and milkspots is next to impossible. To date, NGC has only graded about a half dozen examples in Proof 68 Cameo, and PCGS half that.

Value: While lighter contrasted, problem-free 1958 Franklins in Proof 67 Cameo can occasionally be acquired for under $200, near-ultra heavy pieces may sell for upwards of $400. To bring this higher price, the coin should possess few distracting milk-spots, haze-free mirrors, and be well contrasted on both obverse & reverse. In proof 68 cameo, the 1958 has sold in a wide range. A few minimally contrasted examples graded by NGC have sold for under $500. At the other end of the price spectrum, a couple of “black & white” cameo, near-DCAM examples graded by PCGS sold for over $3,000. These latter coins are rare, as few were struck with this degree of cameo contrast, and milkspot-free surfaces.

PROOF 65-66 PCGS DCAM/NGC ULTRA CAM: Even rarer than the 1957 Franklin in ULTRA or DCAM. Why? While the proof Franklin dies struck far fewer cameos per die pair in 1956 than 1957, the dies struck even fewer exceptional cameos in 1958 than 1957. Again, this phenomenon can be attributed to changes in preparation techniques as the decade of the 1950’s cameo to a close.

Value: $1,000-$2,000 in Proof 65; $1,500-$3,000 in Proof 66.

PROOF 67-68 PCGS DCAM/NGC ULTRA CAM:EXTREMELY RARE. To date, only a few dozen examples have received either of these ultimate grades. The few ultra heavy cameos that are encountered are usually too hairlined, or possess too many milk-spots to grade as high as “67.”

Value: Once again, it is the ultimate Proof 68 DCAM/ULTRA examples which have experienced the greatest appreciation in value. While most examples that have surfaced the past few years have traded between $8,000 and $10,000, there are three truly monster examples originally graded by PCGS which have each sold for over $15,000. All three examples obviously among the very first strikes off what this author considers the most spectacular cameo Franklin die ever discovered. The extraordinary intensity of frost combine with the deepest, jet-black mirrored fields this author has ever seen on a proof Franklin. The cameo effect puts even the finest cameo 1956, 1962, and 1963 proof Franklins to shame! If there ever was a DCAM+ cameo proof Franklin, these three monster cameos are it! (An example from this top die is pictured on the cover of this book.)

General Comments

As with virtually every date in the proof Franklin series, it is the finest Proof 68 DCAM/ULTRA specimens that are most coveted by collectors attempting to assemble finest known sets. The 1958 is extremely rare in this condition, with only the 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, and 1959 being rarer. However, it must be noted that of the dates in that list, the 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1953 have not had a single example grade as high as Proof 68 DCAM/ULTRA!

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