The Franklin half dollar was introduced in 1948, and would probably have continued in circulation well into the 1960s and beyond were it not for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. While a shocked nation mourned, some considered steps that could be taken to help it heal. One of those people was Mint director Eva Adams. Just three days after the national tragedy, on November 25, she contacted Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts with some news: The Treasury department was going to ask Congress to pass a bill authorizing the slain president's portrait on one of the nation's silver coins—Roberts should begin work on a design so the Mint would be ready. Two days later, after learning that Mrs. Kennedy did not like the idea of displacing Washington's portrait on the quarter (with their portraits of FDR, dimes were obviously out of the question), Adams gave Roberts some more direction: The coin would be the half dollar, and the presidential coat of arms would go on the coin's reverse. Roberts tasked Frank Gasparro to design that side of the coin, and two rounds of proofs for the coin's final design were submitted to Mrs. Kennedy and Treasury Secretary Dillon during December. Congress passed a bill authorizing the new coin on December 30, 1963, and the first coins minted in Denver and Philadelphia were shipped on March 5, 1964.

More than 425 million Kennedy half dollars were minted that year, and each had the same silver content as the Franklin coins that preceded them (.36169 ounces per coin). Of these, the 100,000 or so Kennedy half dollars with "accented" hair command a premium over the rest. In fact, circulated 1964 Kennedy half dollars are more sought after than other Kennedy half dollars of the 1960s, even though the mintage in 1965, for example, is much lower. That's because from 1965 through 1970, Kennedy half dollars were silver clad (which is a bit of a misnomer since the insides of the coins also contained some silver), reducing the total silver net weight to just .1479 ounces.

Kennedy half dollars minted from 1971 to the present, with the exception of bicentennial half dollars in 1976, contain no silver at all, which does not mean they are entirely lacking in numismatic value. For example, in 1974, some of the 79 million half dollars minted in Denver have a double-die obverse, which can usually be spotted on the words "WE TRUST." In 1976, to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States, the presidential seal was replaced by a view of Independence Hall, designed by Seth Huntington. These bicentennial half dollars were actually minted in 1975 and 1976, but there is no way to distinguish the coins from each other since they all bear the same date, 1776-1976. And even though as many as half of the 11 million silver-clad versions of these coins were melted down in 1982 when the value of silver content eclipsed the value of the denomination itself, the coins are easily acquired and inexpensive.


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1966 Silver Kennedy Ngc Sms 68 Cameo * Price Guide $1,450 Rare! *2014 Kennedy Half Dollar 50th Anniversary 4-coin Silver Set W/ Reverse Proof1965 Silver Kennedy Ngc Sms 68 Cameo * Price Guide $3,800 Rare! *1998 Kennedy Collector's Set W/ Matte Jfk Half Dollar & Rfk Silver Dollar In Ogp1966 Silver Kennedy Ngc Sms 67 Ultra Cameo * Monster - Price Guide $3,300 *1998 Kennedy Collector's Set W/ Matte Jfk Half Dollar & Rfk Silver Dollar In Ogp1970-s Silver Kennedy Ngc Pf 69 Ultra Cameo * Price Guide $575 *1967 Silver Kennedy Ngc Sms 68 Cameo * Price Guide $825 Rare! *2012 S Proof Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Ngc Pf70 Ultra Cameo CoinKennedy Half Dollar Set, 136 Coins . Missing 3 Coins. Many Silver Proofs. 1998-s 50c Sms Kennedy Half Dollar Type 1 Silver Pcgs Ms69 Satin Matte2014 - 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-dollar Silver Coin Collection1966 Kennedy Fs-103 Double Die Obverse Pcgs Sms Sp 67 Fs-103 *price Guide $250*1982-p " No Fg " Fs-901 Pcgs Ms66 Secure * Kennedy Half Dollar 50c Only 2 Higher2014 Ngc Sp70 Pf70 Early Releases 50th Anniversary Silver Kennedy Half Dollars2014-s Enhanced Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Pcgs Ms69dmpl - 50th Anniversary Set2014 50c Kennedy Half Dollar 4-coin 50th Anniversary Set Pr/ms 70 Pcgs 1965 Silver Kennedy Ngc Sms 67 Cameo * Price Guide $585 Rare! *1966 Kennedy Vp-004 Double Die Obverse Ngc Sms 68 Vp-004 * Rare! *Lot Of (22) 1965-1969 Kennedy Half Dollars 40% Silver Ungraded1968-s Double Die Obv. Kennedy Half Fs-101 Pcgs Pr 68 *price Guide $400 Rare! *2012 S Proof Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Ngc Pf70 Ultra Cameo Coin1964 Accented Hair Kennedy Half Anacs Pf66 Fs-401 With Light Cameo Contrast 50c 1971-s Proof Kennedy Half Struck Through String Obverse--in Proof Set90% Silver 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar 20-coin Roll Brilliant UncirculatedRoll Of 20 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars Original Bankwrapped 90% Silver1969-s Silver Kennedy Ngc Pf 69 Cameo * Price Guide $150 *2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-dollar Silver Coin Collection W/ Ogp / Coa2014-d 50th Anniversary Kennedy Silver Half Dollar Pcgs Ms70 Fs - Moy2012 S Proof Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Ngc Pf70 Ultra Cameo Coin2014-p Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Pcgs Pr70dcam First Strike (50th Anniv. Set)2014-s 50th Anniversary Kennedy Silver Half Dollar Pcgs Ms70 Fs - Moy1969-d Bu/unc Roll Of Kennedy 40% Silver Half Dollars No Reserve1967 Silver Kennedy Ngc Sms 67 Cameo * Price Guide $175 Rare! *1964 Kennedy Silver Half Dollar - Pcgs Proof 66 - Accented Hair1981-s Kennedy Type 2 Ngc Pf 69 Ultra Cameo * Price Guide $65 - No Reserve! *2014-s Silver Kennedy Half Pr69dcam Pcgs Limited Edition Pr Set First Strike1969-s Silver Kennedy Ngc Pf 68 Ultra Cameo * Price Guide $150 - Rare *1970d Kennedy Half Ms-bu- 40% SilverLot Of 23 Pieces 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars Pcgs Ms 66One Roll (20) Uncirculated 1964 Kennedy 90% Silver Bullion Half Dollar Coins1964 Accented Hair Variety Kennedy Half Dollar Proof Pcgs Pr671964 Kennedy Half Dollars, Lot Of 17, 3 With D Mint Mark2014 - Kennedy 50th Anniversary Silver And Circulated Coin Set - 6 Coins!!!1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Lot---90% Silver----12 Coins----$6.00 Face Value2014-d 50th Anniversary Kennedy Silver Half Dollar Pcgs Ms70 Fs - Moy2014-p 50th Ann. Kennedy Silver Proof Half Dollar Pcgs Pr70dcam Fs - Moy1994-s Silver Kennedy Half Dollar (50¢) - Ngc Pf70 Uc * Rare * Ngc Pop. = 2981966 Kennedy Double Die Obv - Doubled Profile Ngc Sms 67 * Rare! *2014-d Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Pcgs Ms70 First Strike (50th Anniv. Set)Uncirculated/proof 1964-1971 Kennedy Half Dollar Set Of 15. Silver & Key 1970-d!1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollar /accented HairUncirculated 1970d Kennedy 40% Silver Half Dollar, #64382Roll (tube) Of (20)--bu 1964-p (jfk) Kennedy Half Dollars--90% Silver Coins2016 S Silver Kennedy Limited Edition Proof Set Pcgs Pr 70 Dcam First Strike1966 Kennedy Fs-105 Double Die Obverse Ngc Sms 67 Fs-105 * Rare! *2016 S Silver Kennedy Limited Edition Proof Set Pcgs Pr 70 Dcam First Strike1977-s Kennedy Ngc Pf 70 Ultra Cameo * Rare! No Reserve *Pcgs 50c Clad Kennedy Half Planchet Ms-612012 S Silver Proof Kennedy Half Dollar