Benjamin Franklin appeared on the half-dollar coin before John F. Kennedy. An woman symbolizing liberty was on the face of the half-dollar coin before Franklin.
The Benjamin Franklin half-dollar coin was minted from 1948 to 1963. John R. Sinnock designed the coin, which has the Liberty Bell and an eagle on the reverse side. Although Benjamin Franklin was never president, Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross respected him and wanted his likeness on the coin.
Shortly after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he was honored by having his likeness appear on the half-dollar coin. As of 2014, half-dollar coins are still minted with his profile.