Kennedy Half Dollars

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Kennedy Half Dollar For Sale

The Kennedy half dollar is the current U.S. half dollar in circulation. It is also the only half dollar to be minted with silver and with no silver content. It has been minted since 1964 and is still minted today. The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar was made of 90% silver and then from 1965-1970 was made in only 40% silver. The 1970 Kennedy Half Dollar was the last Kennedy Half Dollar to be made of any silver. Thereafter, the 1971 Kennedy Half Dollar was the first to have no silver content at all. The Kennedy half dollar’s design consists of a left-facing head of President Kennedy, on the reverse is an eagle. This coin was designed by Frank Gasparo.

Historical Significance and Design

The Kennedy Half Dollar was swiftly approved by Congress following Kennedy's death, reflecting the nation's collective mourning and desire to commemorate his leadership. The obverse of the coin features a profile of Kennedy designed by Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts, capturing the president's likeness with remarkable detail and dignity. The reverse, designed by Frank Gasparro, showcases the Presidential Coat of Arms, embodying the strength and resilience of the United States.

Minting and Composition

Initially minted in 90% silver and 10% copper, the Kennedy Half Dollar's composition was changed in 1965 to a clad composition of copper-nickel over a pure copper core, in response to the rising cost of silver. However, special collector editions, including proof and silver proof coins, have continued to be struck in silver, making them particularly sought after by collectors.

Kennedy Half Dollar Collectibility and Variations

The Kennedy Half Dollar has seen various changes and special editions over the years, including commemorative issues and anniversary sets. Collectors prize early silver issues, especially those from 1964, the first year of minting. The series also includes coins with different finishes, such as the satin finish and the special matte finish of the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy commemorative issue.

Proof and uncirculated versions, often part of the U.S. Mint's annual coin sets, offer higher levels of detail and finish quality, appealing to those seeking the finest examples of this iconic coin. Additionally, the series features coins minted at different locations, including the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints, each denoted by a distinctive mint mark.

Legacy and Continuation

Despite its decreasing presence in daily currency circulation, the Kennedy Half Dollar remains a significant part of America's coinage legacy. It continues to be minted today, primarily for collectors, symbolizing not only the memory of President Kennedy but also the enduring values he represented. The Kennedy Half Dollar is a piece of American history, a reminder of a pivotal era, and a tribute to one of the nation's most beloved leaders.

Kennedy Half Dollar Value

The Kennedy Half Dollar, introduced in 1964, has become one of the most collected coins in the United States. While most Kennedy Half Dollars are relatively accessible to collectors, certain rare issues, error coins, and high-grade examples can command significant premiums. Here are some of the most expensive Kennedy Half Dollars and their approximate values, based on the coin's rarity, condition, and the market at the time:

  1. 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Accented Hair Proof: This variety, distinguished by extra hair above Kennedy's ear and a modified portrait, is one of the most sought-after by collectors. In PR68 and higher grades, it can fetch between $1,000 and $10,000, with the price increasing significantly for coins in even higher grades.

  2. 1970-D Kennedy Half Dollar: This coin, only available in mint sets, has a relatively low mintage, making it one of the key dates for collectors. Uncirculated examples can range from $30 to over $200, but in MS66 and higher grades, prices can exceed $600.

  3. 1981-S Type 2 Clear S Proof: The "Clear S" variety of the 1981-S Proof Kennedy Half Dollar, distinguished by a clearer and more defined "S" mint mark, is rare and sought after. In PR69 and higher, it can command prices of $100 to $500.

  4. 1998-S Matte Finish Kennedy Half Dollar: Issued in the Robert F. Kennedy Silver Dollar Set, this coin has a unique matte finish and a low mintage. In SP70, it can be worth $200 to $600.

  5. 2014-W 50th Anniversary Gold Proof Kennedy Half Dollar: To mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Half Dollar, the U.S. Mint released a special gold proof version. With a mintage of just around 75,000, these coins can sell for $1,200 to $2,500, depending on the market price of gold and the coin's condition.

  6. 2014-W Reverse Proof Kennedy Half Dollar: Part of the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Silver Coin Collection, this reverse proof coin from the West Point Mint is highly prized. In perfect condition (PR70), it can fetch $100 to $300.

  7. 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof Kennedy Half Dollar: Released as part of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Set, this coin features an enhanced reverse proof finish. In perfect condition, it can range from $50 to $150.

  8. Error Coins: Kennedy Half Dollars with errors such as double strikes, off-center strikes, or missing clad layers are particularly rare and can be highly valuable. Prices vary widely based on the type and severity of the error, with some examples reaching into the thousands of dollars.

  9. Special Mint Set (SMS) Coins: Kennedy Half Dollars from the Special Mint Sets issued between 1965 and 1967, especially those with cameo or deep cameo finishes, can be more valuable than regular issues. High-grade examples from these sets can command several hundred dollars.

  10. Silver Proof Kennedy Half Dollars: Silver proofs issued since 1992, especially those in perfect condition (PR70), can be worth $50 to $100 or more, with certain years and finishes being more valuable.

Where to Buy Kennedy Half Dollars Online?

You can buy all kinds of Kennedy half dollars from Bullion Shark. We carry individual coins, rolls, and sets at affordable prices. 


How do the values of Kennedy Half Dollars with special finishes compare to those of standard finishes?

Kennedy Half Dollars with special finishes, such as matte, satin, or enhanced reverse proof, often command higher values than those with standard finishes due to their unique appearance and lower mintage numbers. Special finishes are typically issued for collectors and are not found in general circulation, making them more desirable to numismatists. For example, the matte finish Kennedy Half Dollar issued in the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy commemorative set is valued higher than a standard business strike from the same year because of its unique aesthetic and limited production. Similarly, enhanced reverse proof coins, which feature a combination of frosted and mirrored finishes to accentuate the design details, are highly prized and can fetch premium prices, especially if they are part of a significant anniversary set or have low mintage numbers. The scarcity and distinctive look of these coins make them standout pieces in any collection, contributing to their higher market value.

What specific characteristics should collectors look for in high-grade Kennedy Half Dollars?

When evaluating high-grade Kennedy Half Dollars, collectors should pay close attention to several key characteristics that grading services consider. First and foremost is the strike quality, which refers to how well the coin's design has been transferred from the die to the coin blank; a full, sharp strike indicates a higher-quality coin. Luster is another important factor; coins with original, undisturbed luster are more desirable, as luster is a sign of a coin's overall condition and authenticity. The absence of marks or wear is crucial, especially on high points of the design and in the fields (the flat areas of the coin's surface), as these can significantly impact a coin's aesthetic appeal and grade. For Kennedy Half Dollars, collectors also look for attributes like Full Bell Lines (FBL) on Franklin Half Dollars or deep cameo contrasts on proof coins, although the FBL designation does not apply to Kennedy Half Dollars, the principle of seeking well-defined design elements remains similar. Coins that exhibit these qualities are likely to be graded higher by professional grading services, making them valuable additions to any collection.

Are there any notable public collections or museums where enthusiasts can view rare and valuable Kennedy Half Dollars?

While the blog post does not specify, many of the United States' top numismatic museums and collections feature rare and valuable Kennedy Half Dollars, including those with errors or special finishes. The American Numismatic Association's Money Museum in Colorado Springs, the Smithsonian Institution's National Numismatic Collection in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Mint's own museum in Philadelphia are excellent places for enthusiasts to view significant examples of Kennedy Half Dollars. These institutions often have rotating exhibits that include rare coins, error coins, and coins with special finishes, providing a unique opportunity for collectors and the public to appreciate the numismatic and historical significance of these pieces. Additionally, major coin shows and conventions often feature exhibits or private collections that include rare Kennedy Half Dollars, offering another venue for enthusiasts to view these coins up close.

Kennedy Half Dollar FAQs

1964 - to date.

The Kennedy Half Dollar is a fifty-cent coin issued by the United States Mint, first introduced in 1964 as a tribute to President John F. Kennedy following his assassination in 1963. It features the profile of Kennedy on the obverse and the Presidential Coat of Arms on the reverse.

The obverse of the Kennedy Half Dollar was designed by Gilroy Roberts, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint at the time, featuring a portrait of President Kennedy. The reverse, which displays the Presidential Coat of Arms, was designed by Frank Gasparro.

Yes, Kennedy Half Dollars are still being minted today, primarily for collectors. While they are not commonly found in circulation, they can be purchased in rolls and bags from the United States Mint.

12.5 grams consisting of 90% and 10% copper.
1971 to date.
11.34 grams with a composition of an outer layer of 75% copper and 25% nickel) bonded to an inner core of pure copper.
Yes. In 2014 a 3/4 oz pure gold Kennedy half dollar was produced.

Factors that contribute to the higher value of some Kennedy Half Dollars include silver content (for coins minted before 1971), low mintage numbers, key dates, error coins, and high-grade condition coins, especially those with special finishes like proof or reverse proof.

Kennedy Half Dollars can be purchased from the United States Mint, coin dealers, online auction sites, and at coin shows. Collectors often prefer purchasing from reputable sources to ensure authenticity and quality.