1955 Philadelphia "Bugs Bunny" or "Detached Nose" Franklin Half Dollar
A die clash resulted in the production of an unusual U.S. Mint error coin. This error is commonly known as the "Bugs Bunny" Franklin or, as I prefer to call it, the "Detached Nose" Franklin. In the photographs below, Benjamin Franklin appears to have some teeth protruding from his top lip (note: my photographs are from an authenticated PCGS graded coin). These extra teeth are what gave this coin the "Bugs Bunny" nickname. To understand how this error occured, you must examine the coin's reverse. In particular, note the small eagle, which is required by law to appear on every U.S. minted half dollar (the tiny eagle was actually stuck on the coin's design last minute). Also important to know, a die clash occurs when two dies strike each other without a planchet (the blank silver coin) in between. Remember, the reverse die is a mirror image of the coins reverse. If you take a mirror image of the coin's reverse, rotate it 180 degrees, and place it over the image of Mr. Franklin, you'll note that the eagle's wing tips line up precisely with Ben's Bugs Bunny teeth. Of course, the die clash produced more than just Franklin's protruding teeth, it left an impression of the Liberty Bell in front of Ben's nose. This error was easy to see for the U.S. Mint employees (they missed the teeth, or were unable to polish them anyway). Over polishing of the obverse die, to remove the bell lines, resulted in an additional error on this coin. Specifically, by removing the marks in front of Ben's forehead, the bridge of his nose became completely detached from his face. If you'll check, in a normal Franklin half dollar, you'll find a very strong line connecting the forehead to the bridge of Ben's nose. In the 1955 "Detached Nose" Franklin, that line has been completely polished away. It's an easier way to spot a true "Bugs Bunny" half dollar in an ebay photograph. Although considerably more rare, the "Bugs Bunny" Franklin half dollar also occured in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954 P & D and 1956 issues.
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