Franklin Full Bell Lines for dummies.

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Robert Ransom, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    Lately, I have seen more and more Franklin Half Dollar Coins that are graded FBL. I have not much experience with this nomenclature (FBL and Liberty Bell coins were not in my collection activity) and began reading articles about same. Here is my dilemma: Graded coins which appear to have missing segments to the lines. I see coins on eBay graded as FBL yet see breaks in the lines and according to articles, the TPG's have their own criteria, eg. NCG requires two full bottom lines converging to the crack with a slight fading, my word, due to the die used. They also forgive at their minor small dings and scratches.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1950-FBL-M...586043?hash=item1f13e2547b:g:3w0AAOSwVe5fHz3R
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1950-Frank...c8AAOSw~fRfIITa:sc:USPSFirstClass!02886!US!-1
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1952-D-Fra...428263?hash=item3fe638e627:g:LnEAAOSwJn1fJHHH
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1952p-50c-...450804?hash=item3fe6393e34:g:iw8AAOSwP2VfJHRf

    Comments on these coins?
     
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  3. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    NGC requires that both sets of bell lines be full. PCGS only requires that the bottom set of bell lines be full.
     
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  4. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    From what I've read...NGC and PCGS grade FBL slightly differently. NGC requires both sets of bell lines be complete, whereas PCGS evaluates the bottom set of bell lines, only.

    They both allow a slight space between the bell lines and the bell crack. They both allow very slight contact marks on the bell lines as long as they don't break the continuity of the lines.

    If you're new to Franklin halves, it's interesting to note that the Denver Mint had the newest presses, and therefore, created the best strikes (FBL). The San Francisco Mint had the oldest presses and produced the weakest strikes.

    It's also interesting to note that FBL wasn't the original reference of strike quality. The first few years, the clarity of "Pass and Stow" was the standard.
     
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  5. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Numismatic jack of all trades & specialist in none Moderator

    That's interesting. Didn't know that.

    I was also unaware of the difference of FBL standards between PCGS and NGC, but I never particularly cared that much about it anyway. When I've wanted a Franklin for a type set, I've typically gone with a CAM or DCAM proof.
     
  6. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    I got the NGC/PCGS standards from Appendix B of "The Complete Guide to Frankin Half Dollars" by Rick Tomaska (2002).
     
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  7. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    So, how do the coins listed in the opening thread 'pass' to become stow(ed) in holders with FBL credentials?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
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  8. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    Trying to catch the bell lines with images can be tough. I trust that PCGS and NGC get it right most of the time.
     
  9. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    Ain’t that the truth, worse than capturing full steps on Jefferson Nickels
     
  10. Rick B

    Rick B Well-Known Member

  11. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

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  12. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    Especially photos taken at an extreme angle like the ones shown.
     
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  13. Jim Dale

    Jim Dale Well-Known Member

    I've been collecting Franklins for a little while. I have all of the coins, with only a few that have been graded. I knew what FBL meant, but I thought that you either have all the FBL or you don't. Now I am going back to look at my coins, both Raw and Certified, to look at the FBLs on the coins. BTW, where might I be able to get Rick's book on the Franklins?
     
  14. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Right Idhair most of the time but not always... The best grader is the one holding the coin in my opinion!
     
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  15. yakpoo

    yakpoo Member

    Here's a quote from Rick Tomaska's "The Complete Guide to Franklin Half Dollars"...

    "There are corollaries in other coin series to the FBL Franklin. Mercury dimes are graded for Full Split Bands and Standing Liberty quarters for Full Head (FH). The purpose is to designate a coin that comes closest to exhibiting all the design detail originally intended for the coin.

    An FBL Franklin should therefore possess a full or nearly full strike on all portions of the coin, including the two sets of bell lines on the reverse. The bell lines need not run right up to the crack in the Liberty Bell, but they should come within about 1/64th of an inch. Occasionally, on some "S" Mint coins with complete bell lines, the bell lines will fade and be very weak in their upper right quadrant. To qualify as an FBL, the lines should be fairly sharply defined (not necessary bold) on all portions."

    This is why I've developed the habit of taking the overall strike of a coin into account when evaluating FBL.
     
  16. Ana Silverbell

    Ana Silverbell Well-Known Member

    PCGS applies FBL attribution based on the lower sets of bell lines. PCGS also allows "very slight disturbance of several lines." Didn't PCGS have a stricter standard before they announced this definition in ~ 1997? If I am correct, then an older PCGS holder (pre-1997) with FBL designation should be more desirable.
     
  17. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    Spoiled
     
  18. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    Yeah. Those nickel steps are mostly cut and dry. And hard to get CRH
     
  19. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    Or a cherry picker
     
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  20. Rick B

    Rick B Well-Known Member

    They should have a designation for "TFLB" for True Full Bell Lines! Do they exist? Is there non-existence the reason for all the compromises?
    This is slabbed as FBL. I'm just not seeing why.

    FBL example.jpg
     
  21. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    I wonder how something graded at just MS64 could possibly have FBL in the first place. Based on my understanding of what that grade entails, that is.
     
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