Full Bell Lines is a grading attribution for the Franklin Half Dollar series. It refers to the horizontal lines running across the bottom of the Liberty Bell on the reverse of the coin. Franklin Half Dollars exhibiting Full Bell Lines (FBL) will display uninterrupted lines, generally indicative of a fully struck coin. In many cases, coins receiving the attribution will sell for many multiples of the price of a coin without the attribution.
Third party grading services PCGS and NGC both attribute Full Bell Lines as “FBL” on their holders. In order to receive the designation, PCGS requires the coins to exhibit complete, uninterrupted lower lines on the Liberty Bell. NGC has a higher standard for the designation, requiring all six lines (upper and lower sets) to be fully visible.
In general, the grading services will allow a few marks across the lines as long as they do not disturb the continuity of the lines. Slight incompleteness is also generally allowed just to the left or right of the vertical crack in the Liberty Bell within a measure of 1/64 of an inch.
Certain dates are extremely difficult to encounter with Full Bell Lines. Most notably, the San Francisco Mint coins after 1949 are typically softly struck without the detail necessary to achieve Full Bell Lines. A major strike rarity exists for the 1953-S Franklin Half Dollar, which is almost never encountered with attribution. Other challenging coins to find in gem grade with Full Bell Lines include the 1961, 1962, and 1963 Philadelphia issues.