The Kennedy Half Dollar was originally designed as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. The coin is still being minted to this day.
Although the original 1964 version was minted in 90% silver, the 1965-1970 coins only contained 40% silver. The silver content can have a huge impact on the value of the coin, especially when silver prices are as high as they are now.
What Exactly is a Half Dollar?
We first need to take a closer look at what types of coins these are. The term “half dollar” is used to refer to half of the unit of the full dollar amount. Because one dollar is 100 cents, a half dollar is 50 cents. Although not widely used in current circulation, the half dollar is still sometimes used as legal tender.
The coin can sometimes also be a lot more valuable than the face value of 50 cents. For example, Kennedy half dollars are considered one of the most valuable forms of this coin. A 1964 Kennedy half dollar was sold during a public auction of rare U.S. coins in April, 2019, by Heritage Auctions with a world-record price of $108,000, which made it the most expensive coin of its type.
The half dollar coins that you’ll find from 1971 do not have much silver content even though they look quite impressive. This version of the coin was designed by Frank Gasparro. The front part of the coin features Kennedy’s image and the reverse side shows the presidential seal.
If you are looking for silver coins from 1971 onward, they can only be found in silver proof sets because the government never released them into regular circulation.
Kennedy half dollars were produced at three different mints: Philadelphia (no mint mark or P), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S). The mint mark (or mintmark) can be found on the reverse of the 1964 coin on the left hand side just below the claw of the eagle.
From the year 1968, the mint mark has been placed on the obverse side of the coin just below Kennedy’s image and slightly above the date. From 1965 to 1967, no American coins carried mint marks at all, which is why you won’t find them on those coins.
Kennedy Half Dollar Average Prices and Values
When you work with a coin dealer, the “buy price” is what you should expect to purchase the coin for. The “sell value” is what you can expect from the dealer when you are the one selling the coin. Average circulated and average uncirculated values are always given when you visit the dealer, but these prices vary greatly according to the price of silver, as well as a few other factors.
The quoted prices are approximate retail prices and wholesale values. The actual offer you will receive from a particular coin dealer will also vary according to the actual grade of the coin and a few other factors that will determine its real value.
Key Dates, Rarities, and Varieties
Although some Kennedy half minor varieties do exist, there are none of these coins that are extremely rare or expensive. The mint made special collector coins from 1965 to 1967, and also in 1992. All of these coins are easily affordable for any coin collector.
In 1975 and 1976, the coins were designed to show a date of 1776-1976. These coins were circulating commemorative coins that were issued to celebrate the Bicentennial of the United States. Although they might seem unique, there were actually billions of these coins released and so they carry no premium value.
In 1970, the United States Mint made Kennedy half dollars at both the Denver mint and the San Francisco mint, but not at the Philadelphia mint. The San Francisco coins had a Proof finish as part of the special 1970 Proof set. The coins minted in Denver were business strike quality and these coins were included in the United States Uncirculated Mint Sets.
These coins can be more valuable because the only way to get a circulation quality 1970-D Kennedy half-dollar is to buy the entire United States Uncirculated 1970 Mint Set. In 2014, special collector edition coins were minted to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy half dollar.
The first of these was a special collector edition set called the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Uncirculated Coin Set. This set includes two copper-nickel clad 2014 Kennedy half-dollars with uncirculated finishes, with one coin each from the United States Mint at Denver and Philadelphia.
The designs on these coins include the high-relief portrait that was part of the original 1964 coin design. The second set produced in 2014 was the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Silver Coin Collection. This set had four silver coins that all featured different designs.
Again, each coin used the original 1964 unmodified high relief obverse design that was hand-sculpted by United States Mint Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts in 1963. However, each coin showed the design in a different way. Also in 2014, the United States Mint commemorated the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s image on the half-dollar coin with a special three-quarter ounce gold coin.
The 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Proof Coin was issued. This special proof bullion coin was made out of 99.99% pure gold. These coins are very valuable, because the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Gold Half Dollar was the only gold version in the US Mint’s broader release that included four silver coins.
Market for Kennedy Half Dollars
It is getting increasingly popular to collect Kennedy half dollars. You can quite easily get Kennedy half dollars from some banks for face value and are quite common. Circulated coins minted from 1964 to 1970 derive are generally the most valuable due to their high silver content.
Always keep in mind that from 1965 to 1970, the silver content was reduced from 90% (in 1964 dated coins) to 40% silver. These are all very important dates to know when you are starting to build up your coin collection.