[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: A large number of 1960 proofs exist below proof 65 quality. Many coins were abusively handled during the silver & gold boom of 1979- 80, when silver briefly touched $50/oz. Later date proof Franklins were routinely dumped into rolls, picking up many hairlines and nicks along the way.
PROOF 65-68: Still very common in proof 65-66, the 1960 Franklin becomes considerably more elusive in proof 67, and is scarce in proof 68.
Value: Proof 67’s can be acquired for as little as $25-$40, while proof 68’s sell for roughly 3x those levels – $75-$120.
PROOF 64-66 CAMEO: This year signalled a turnaround at the mint. The master die was reworked for 1960, and the new dies, with the fine detail restored on the obverse & reverse devices, were apparently given a longer acid bath to create the cameo effect. While scarce in gem cameo, the 1960 is not as difficult to locate in this grade as the Franklins of the 1957-1959 period.
Value: The 1960 in PF 65-66 Cameo can be acquired for as little as $30. Considering its elusive nature in this condition, it represents quite a good value. Hopefully, the coin will not have any serious, large milk-spots.
PROOF 67-68 CAMEO: The 1960 is very difficult to locate in these higher states of preservation. The majority of 1960 cameos usually possess enough hairlines and/or milk-spots to drop them into a lower grade category.
Value: Well contrasted spot-free gems currently sell for $75-200 in Proof 67 Cameo. Higher priced coins should display exceptional cameo contrast. Examples approaching ultra heavy contrast in proof 68 usually command between $500-$800. Higher priced coins may be graded by PCGS (with their slightly higher “CAM” standard), or will be very heavily contrasted NGC coins.
PROOF 65-66 PCGS DCAM/NGC ULTRA CAM: SCARCE. Most full ultra heavy examples grade proof 65 to proof 67.
Value: $100 – $150 in most cases – a great value at this level, as the 1960 is difficult to find in any grade DCAM/ULTRA.
PROOF 67-68 PCGS DCAM/NGC ULTRA CAM: EXTREMELY SCARCE in proof 68 DCAM/ULTRA. The estimate in “Cameo And Brilliant Proof Coinage Of The 1950 To 1970 Era” is that as many as 500 examples may exist – not a very large number. Few 1960 proofs were struck with ultra heavy cameo contrast on both obverse and reverse. Of a total mintage of about 1.6 million coins, perhaps only 1,000 coins were struck in this condition. Of these, only a tiny percentage, perhaps 5%, were hairline-free, spotfree examples of extremely high grade. Tuck any examples away you find…..if you can find them. Ultimate proof 68 examples are extremely scarce. The finest cameo 1960 Franklins will rank among the most stunning coins in a high-end set. A handful (5 to date) have been graded in Proof 69 DCAM/ULTRA, with none having been graded the past three years.
Value: A small horde of 30-40 DCAM coins surfaced a few years back, most grading Proof 66 or 67. For a while, a 1960 in PCGS PR67DCAM could be acquired for as little as $200 – $250. As the market absorbed those coins, the value for this issue once again has begun to rise. Still, at the current trading range of $350 – $600 in Proof 67 DCAM/ULTRA, there is a lot more “upside” for this coin than “downside”.Proof 68 DCAM/ULTRA 1960 Franklins sometimes trade for as little as $1,000. At the other end of the spectrum are a few examples with phenomenal DCAM+ obverse cameo contrast that have traded for over $3,000. The last Proof 69 Deep Cameo1960 proof Franklin sold for over $15,000 in 2001.
The finest Proof 68 DCAM/ULTRA 1960’s with the heaviest contrast, and the Proof 69 DCAM/ULTRA’s have experienced the greatest appreciation in value the past decade. This author currently has an extensive “want list” of clients hoping to acquire an ultimate 1960 Proof 69 DCAM/ULTRA Franklin.