Kennedy Half Dollar Coins

Where to Buy Kennedy Half Dollar Coins

Everything You Want to Know about Collecting The JFK Half Dollar Coin

President John F Kennedy Was a well-loved president and one that we lost prematurely. His sudden death struck the nation in 1963. On the day of his passing, the idea came to the director of the mint to create a commemorative coin for this loved president. The mint directives presented the picture to the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and she chose the half dollar for this commemoration.

However, it wasn’t until about a month after Kennedy’s death that Congress approved the half dollar depicting John F Kennedy, and the coin didn’t start being minted until 1964. Its first appearance was on February 11th, 1964, at both the Philadelphia and Denver Mints.

The first coins were created with high reliefs and carefully minted, but they were so popular that they sold out within the first day. The mints needed to produce the coin quickly and inexpensively, so they changed the relief to a smaller one and modified the original design to make it more appropriate for the minting of a coin. Gilroy was the designer for the front of the coin, while Guspero was the designer for the reverse. Guspero is a well-known mint designer and known for his work on other important coins like the Susan B Anthony dollar.

The JFK Half Dollar Coin is Highly Prized Among Collectors

The Kennedy half dollars were prized from the very beginning. When the Kennedy half dollar 1964 first came out, the Treasury Department immediately sold out of the initial 70,000 coins they produced on the first day of minting. Even coins distributed to the banks in Philadelphia and Boston ran out of coins on that first day, despite their rationing out the coin.

Those first Kennedy half dollar 1964 coins were almost pure silver. It ended up being about 90% silver mixed with small traces of copper. Versions made in 1965 through 1970 were only silver-plated and had a copper core. As of 1971, all Kennedy half dollars were made of copper and nickel. The only coins made of pure silver were created for the mint as the proof sets. Collectors can still purchase John F Kennedy half dollars through the mint and other coin dealers to start their collections.

Today the JFK’s half dollars are only made once a year for the annual coin collections and make up a part of other collectible coin sets. However, you can find the JFK half dollars circulating, and the standard coins are available in small or large quantities. The uncirculated coins are a bit harder to find as they are sold in complete sets by the mints, but you can usually find them at local coin dealers or online.

History of The Half Dollar

The half dollar has been a part of American history for a long time. It was first minted in 1794, and from that day until 1947, the half dollar coin, like many other coins, was made of silver and decorated with an image that symbolized liberty.

Collecting is a Popular Pastime

Collectors often look for the Kennedy half dollar coins because they are a fun collectible for all coin fans, even beginners. The JFK coin is relatively easy to find and, depending on the year, can also be enough of an interesting challenge for both the intermediate and advanced collector because there are many different types of Kennedy half dollars. There is a huge variety of these coins, and there are special uncirculated coins, gold coins, and even error coins available for all collectors.

How to Start Collecting

You can start a Kennedy half-dollar collection at any time, and it’s an affordable way to start your coin hobby. Most collectors look for a special date or a specific mint mark, demonstrating when the coin was created.
In certain situations, the Kennedy half dollar value is higher depending on the mint, material used to produce it, and a circulated or uncirculated coin. For example, the JFK circulated coins with the most value are those coins minted in 1964 and 1965 because these are made with a higher content of silver.

As an intermediate coin collector, you probably want a bit more of a challenge and will want to locate coins called proof coins or even find the complete business strikes for all JFK half coins.

The more experienced collector is always looking for proof coins or special strikes, like the Kennedy half dollar facing right coin, or will look for the 1998 s silver matte finish silver commemorative coin.
There are many different collectible varieties of the Kennedy half dollar, and you can learn about the different types as you continue to collect.

Not All JFK Half Dollar Coins are Silver.

Note: The Kennedy half-dollar silver content has changed significantly over the years. In the first two years, the silver content was 90%, but in 1965 the silver content was reduced.

Silver has been on a constant rise. Due to this Rising price, the 1960s coins we’re only made of 90% silver, and we’re only minted in the first two years of minting. Nevertheless, the silver content, plus the popularity of JFK and the sadness the nation experienced on that fateful day in 1963, have made these coins very popular through the decades following his death.

Silver Plated

In 1965, the United States Mint stopped producing the kennedy half dollar silver content coins and started producing silver-plated coins with only a 40% silver content. The outer part of the coin has an 80% silver, and a 20% copper content and the inner part was made of 80% copper and 20% silver. up until 1970, these were the coins that were in circulation.

Special Minted JFK Coins

From 1965 to 1967, the USA was undergoing a coin shortage issue, so they stopped making proof strike coins and instead made special sets. These sets had the Kennedy half dollars that were used with special dyes and coin presses. These are not proof coins but they still had that proof like look.

Copper Nickel Coins

The 1971 Kennedy half dollar had a complete change, not in design but in fabrication and in material usage. The mint decided to switch the production and create the copper-nickel composition now used in all other coins. So as of 1971, the outer layers are made of 25% nickel and 75% copper and they replaced the Kennedy half dollar silver content coins.

1976 Bicentennial JFK Coins

In 1976 the mint decided to market rare Kennedy half dollars to commemorate the 200 Bicentennial anniversary. In this year Congress authorized the commemorative Kennedy half-dollar. But because they anticipated a large circulation of the coins and a greater demand, the mints did not make any have dollar coins in 1975. Instead, they began issuing the 1776-1976 dual-dated half dollar one year earlier. The mint made additional collector coins with 40% silver content for both proof and business strike coins.

Proof Silver Plated Coins

Every year the United States Mint made Kennedy half dollars for collectors except in 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1975. Proof coins have the conventional silver content of 40% but are only available to collectors when they purchase the complete set of proof coins for that year.

Proof Nickel Plated Coins

Referring to the 1971 Kennedy half dollar, the United States Mint made these nickel and copper-plated coin available to collectors in the proof versions but then again they could only be bought as a proof set of all coins for the year.

Silver Matte Finish

Another of the rare Kennedy half dollars is the 1998 mint which was made for special collectors. It was a coin set honoring John F Kennedy’s brother Robert F Kennedy. The set had the RFK mint $2 coin and a special struck JFK half-dollar with a matte silver finish. Only 63 thousand coins were made, and they came from the San Francisco mint. Today, collectors pay high prices for this version of the rare Kennedy half dollars.

The 50th Anniversary Uncirculated Coin Set

This Kennedy half-dollar is a special uncirculated coin set. It was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy half-dollar, which was made in 1964 it contains two copper nickel-plated JFK coins made in 2014. These coins are uncirculated coins that came from the Philadelphia and Denver Mint. The designs are similar to the high relief design of 1964.

For this 50th anniversary, the United States Mint also made rare half dollars available to collectors and it is quite interesting because they made them out of gold. Again this anniversary coin also features the original 1964 high relief design, which was sculpted by engraver Gilroy Roberts. When this coin first appeared on the market, it sold at a premium at almost double the price of what it was originally issued at. However, now you can pick up these coins for the bullion value.

You may also like the Five Dollar Liberty Gold Coins.  

Tips for Collecting the Best Kennedy Half Dollars

Beginner Collectors

If you’re a beginner collector, the best way to start collecting Kennedy half dollars is to purchase coins from your local bank at their Kennedy half dollar value. The mints have stopped producing business strikes for circulation. The last date was 2002. Now the mint only makes half-dollar Kennedy coins in collector sets. You can find collectible mint sets made after 2002 from your local coin dealers.

Beginner collectors want to find key date coins from 1964 and 1964-D. However, you can expect to pay higher prices for these rare coins because of their silver content.

In addition, another important coin to collect at this stage of the game is the 1970 D Coin which was a low mintage coin and only issued in mint sets. Again this is a coin that you can find from your local coin dealer.

Intermediate and Advances Collectors

As an intermediate collector, you will want to have a complete set of uncirculated Kennedy half dollars. Advanced collectors will want to find uncirculated coins, proof coins, or error coins. Most of these coins can only be found through dealers.

Some coins like the Kennedy half dollars are usually found at auctions. Other coins that you might want to look for are at an auction. This might include the 1995 S Silver Proof commemorative coin and the 1998 matte finish coin.  Collectors of these coins may also have an affinity for the American Eagle Collectible Coins.

What is the Market?

Many of the half dollar Kennedy coins are still available at banks for face value and are very common. Coins that circulated from 1964 to 1974 have a higher value only because of the higher silver content. Coins that were made from 1965 to 1970 are popular and certainly not as expensive as silver coins but are becoming more valuable.

Rare Coins

There are some Kennedy half dollars that are valued at higher prices than others. However, there are no issues that are really rare or expensive. The collector’s versions made from 1965 to 1967 and in 1992 are the rarest and most collectible, but still very affordable for collectors. in

From 1975 to 1976, the coins had a date that said 1776 to 1976 and where created to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States. While they are very special, millions of these coins were minted and had no extreme high value.

The 1970 Kennedy half dollars are slightly higher in value because the Philadelphia mint did not produce any of them. The San Francisco mint made coins with a proof finish to be a part of the proof set. Denver made business strike coins for the uncirculated mint sets. Therefore these examples are more expensive and harder to find, similar to the error Kennedy half dollar facing right coin.


When a Kennedy half-dollar is worn and looks like other coins, it is a circulated coin. When a coin has no evidence of wear, it is an uncirculated coin.

The Mint Mark

There are three different mints in the US, Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. Philadelphia has no mint mark or a P when there is one. Denver is marked with a D and San Francisco with an S.

You can find the mint mark on the reverse of the 1964 coin on the left-hand side under the Eagle’s claw. In coins made from 1968 onward, the mint mark is on the coin’s face under Kennedy’s bust and near the date. In the coins from 1965 to 1967, there is no mint mark.

Mint Errors

The Kennedy half dollar Series has some well-known and some quite different mint errors. Demand for these coins is high because half dollars have not circulated in the US for several years. Most error coins like the kennedy half dollar facing right can be found on the internet and add most coin dealers.

Bottom Line

he JFK mint half dollar coin is a part of our American history. Collectors buy them for their commemorative value, but that is not to say that some coins are much more expensive than others. Finding the right JFK coin is about searching for coins in different locations and finding interesting ones to add to your collection.

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Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who has covered retirement investing since 2012. He started this website to share his expertise in using his Self-Directed IRA. Most recently he's been advising individuals to diversify into precious metals ahead of a certain recession. He invested with Goldco.

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