[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: RARE IN ANY GRADE!!! A most desirable variety, as the doubling on the reverse is quite pronounced, and easily recognized with the naked eye. “E Pluribus Unum” are the key areas to focus on.
Value: The lowest grade Proof 63-64 examples of this variety have generally sold between $1,000 and $2,000.
PROOF 65-68: Only a few dozen examples have been graded to date, mainly ranging between the grades of Proof 65 and Proof 67.
Value: Expect to pay in the $1,500-$3,000 range for a Proof 65 example, and anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 for a Proof 66, perhaps 50% more for a Proof 67.
PROOF 64-66 CAMEO: EXTREMELY RARE IN CAMEO! To date only one example has been certified in Cameo, and one example in Ultra Cameo, both grading Proof 67.
Value: Since no 1961 DDR has been graded in Proof 64-66 Cameo, a value for an example in this grade can only be estimated based on the value of the lone Proof 67 Cameo that traded hands. That coin reportedly sold for over $30,000. A Proof 66 Cameo might be approximately half that value.
PROOF 67-68 CAMEO: The lone Proof 67 Cameo, graded by PCGS, was a stunning gem bordering on DCAM. The obverse probably rates a DCAM, with the reverse slightly less contrasted, though fully Cameo.
Value: $30,000 plus? That was the price paid for the example certified by PCGS, the finest 1961 DDR that service has certified to date. Will there be others? Possibly. Compared to the 1955 DD Lincoln Cent, the 1961 DDR Franklin is a bargain. Both varieties offer major doubling that can be easily seen by the casual observer. However, the 1961 DDR Franklin is many times rarer than the 1955 DD Lincoln Cent.
The combined PCGS and NGC population totals for MS65RD or higher (1 coin in MS66RD) 1955 DD Lincoln cents is 21 Coins, with 2,700 examples graded lower. In MS65RD, the 1955 DD Lincoln typically trades in the $20,000 range.
To date, NGC and PCGS combined have certified only 42 DDR Franklin halves in all grades!!
PROOF 65-66 PCGS DCAM/NGC ULTRA CAM: Only one 1961 DDR has been graded in DCAM/ULTRA- an NGC coin in Proof 67.
Value: Placing a value on a coin this rare is difficult, to say the least. The owner of the lone 1961 NGC PR 67 Ultra Cameo is not interested in selling his coin at the present time.
PROOF 67-68 PCGS DCAM/NGC ULTRA CAM: See the previous Proof 65- 66 DCAM/ULTRA CAM section!
Value: There being only 1 example in PF 67 Ultra Cameo, placing a value on this coin would have to be determined between a future buyer and seller.
A red hot major variety in twentieth century coinage, this variety offers significant, major doubling that is easily recognizable to the unaided eye. The 1961 DDR is rare in any condition. Cameo examples do exist, though they are extremely rare. Occasionally the 1961 DDR will turn up in an original proof set – many collectors and dealers simply do not look for this variety. The finest example known is a PF 67 Ultra Cameo graded by NGC this author had the pleasure of selling to a client in the late 1990’s.