Posted on February 15, 2021
If you're interested in collecting American coins, you may want to consider getting the 1964 Kennedy half dollar. This half dollar is one of the most collected coins in the United States because of its uniqueness and great historical significance. Learn more about the 1964 half dollar Kennedy coin to determine if it's worth your investment.
The 1964 Kennedy half dollar is an American 50-cent coin that was minted to commemorate the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States. This coin, measuring 1.2 inches in diameter, is made of 90% silver and 10% copper and has a reeded edge .
Two sculptors from the United States Mint were commissioned to design the 1964 Kennedy half dollar. Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts sculpted the profile portrait of Kennedy on the front side, while Frank Gasparro created the heraldic American bald eagle on the reverse side based on the Great Seal of the United States.
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Soon after receiving the shocking news, Mint Director Eva Adams ordered Roberts to come up with new half dollar designs to pay homage to the late president. Since the Franklin half dollar was only 15 years old at that time, congressional approval was required to change the design of the coin. However, in this case, Congress didn't show significant opposition.
The production of the 1964 Kennedy half dollar was authorized on Dec. 30, 1963, and the striking of the coin was scheduled to commence in January the following year. Given such a short time frame, Roberts and Gasparro were unable to create entirely new designs for the coin. Instead, they used the inaugural medal that they previously designed as the prototype for the new half dollar.
As a result of the immense demand for the half dollar Kennedy coins, the Mint decided to strike hundreds of millions of them. The Denver Mint produced about 156 million coins by Jan. 30, 1964, and the Philadelphia Mint struck around 273 million coins the following week, resulting in a total of more than 400 million coins .
On the day they were released in March 1964, the new Kennedy half dollars were sold out at the Treasury Department. Only a small percentage of these first coins have been in circulation as the general public preferred to keep them as mementos of their beloved president.
Despite being widely available, the 1964 version remains one of the most popular coins in the Kennedy half dollar series because it's unique in many ways. Below is a list of intriguing facts about the 1964 half dollar Kennedy coin:
You can find several variations of 1964 Kennedy half dollars. As mentioned earlier, these coins were struck at the Denver Mint and Philadelphia Mint. The ones made in Denver have the letter D to indicate their place of origin, whereas those produced in Philadelphia don't have a mintmark. Since both variations were minted in large numbers, their mint of origin doesn't have an impact on their value.
Additionally, the 1964 Kennedy half dollar comes in the accented hair and normal hair versions. On the accented hair coin, the hair above Kennedy's right ear is especially pronounced, and the letter I in the word LIBERTY has a missing bottom left serif. There's no known mintage for the accented hair Kennedy half dollar. Nevertheless, it's estimated that this early variety accounts for 1% to 3% of the entire mintage of the proof coins, which amounts to approximately 40,000 to 120,000 pieces .
There are other variations of the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar, such as:
The 1964 Kennedy half dollar not only appeals to collectors of modern coins but also people who admire President Kennedy and the nostalgic Camelot era that spanned his tenure in the White House during the early 1960s. The general public saved millions of Kennedy half dollars following their release, believing that the coins were special and would potentially be valuable in the future. As for numismatists, they're generally looking to buy coins of varieties that offer a significant premium beyond face value or spot silver price.
The 1964 Kennedy half dollar sets itself apart from other American coins because it serves to commemorate one of the most shocking and heartbreaking events in the modern history of the United States. This coin is widely pursued because it has significant historical value for contemporary collectors and real personal meaning for many people.