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.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Legendary Coins and Currency

Legendary Coins and Currency

This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is a great way to get an overview… [read review or visit site]

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Home to the Society of U.S. Pattern collectors, this well-organized site provides in-depth information on pattern c… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

2014 50th Anniversary Silver Kennedy Half Dollars 5 Sets Sealed Box K13 In Hand2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Silver 4 Coin Set -just Released By Mint**win Here!** 1-2014-w Gold Kennedy Half-dollar Anniversary Pf Coin(k15)-w/coa!1998 S Silver Kennedy Half Dollar, Matte Proof, Scarce Special Edition 50c2014 W Gold 50c Kennedy 50th Anniversary High Relief First Releases Ngc Pf70 U/c2014 W 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-dollar Gold Proof Coin (k15) Us-mint 1998-s Silver Kennedy Half Sp70 Sms Pcgs Special Mint State 702014 W Gold 50c Kennedy 50th Anniversary High Relief First Releases Ngc Pf69 U/c1964 Unc Roll Silver Kennedy Half(1/2)dollars~20 Coins~$10 Face~sealed2014 W P S D 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-dollar Silver Four Coin Set K1350th Anniversary Kennedy 2014 Half Dollar Uncirculated Coin Set Ungraded 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-dollar Silver Coin Collection (k13) Pre Sale5 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Silver Half Dollar Sets First Strike Coins2014 P + D High Relief Kennedy Half Dollars Ngc Sp 67 Early Releases2014 W Kennedy 50th Anniversary Gold First Day Chicago Ngc Pf69 Ultra Cameo. 2010-2014 S Kennedy Half Dollar 90% Silver Gem Deep Cameo Proof Run 5 Coin Set2012-s 2011-s 2010-s Proof Silver Kennedy Half Dollars1978-s Kennedy Half Pcgs Pr67 Cameo Super Rainbow Toned ~colorful Toning~color2014 S Silver Kennedy 50c Proof Coin Pf 70 Ultra Cameo Er Blue Label1973-s Kennedy Half Pcgs Pr67 Super Rainbow Album Toned ~colorful Toning~color2014 W Kennedy 50th Anniversary Gold Proof Pf70 Ultra Cameo Early Releases2014 W P S D 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-dollar Silver Four Coin Set K134x 2014 Us Mint Kennedy Half-dollar 50th Anniversary Uncirculated Coin Set (k142014 W Gold Kennedy 50th Anniversary High Relief Ngc Pf70 Uc Early Releases Half2014 W Gold Kennedy Half Dollar Anniversary Proof Coin - Ogp W/ Coa $10 1964 Kennedy Half-dollars - 90% Silver 20-coin Roll (bu) Gem Orginal 2 Of 22014 2-coin 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Uncirculated Set Pcgs Sp68 Fs2014-p 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar From Uncirculated Set Pcgs Sp69 Fs2014 Gold Kennedy Ngc Pf 69 Chicago Ana Release Signed Coa Box & Us Mint Receipt2014 W P S D 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-dollar Silver Four Coin Set K132014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Silver 4 Coin Set In Hand K132014 S Silver Kennedy 50c Proof Coin Pf 70 Ultra Cameo Er 50th Anniversary Label1964-p Kennedy Half Dollars Uncirculated Bank Roll 20 Coins 90% Silver1964-p Bu Roll Silver Kennedy Half Dollars. 20 Coins.(20) 1970 S Kennedy Half Dollar 40% Silver Proof Roll @ Or2014 S Silver Kennedy 50c E.r. Ngc Pf70 U.c. (special 50th Anniversary)2014 S Silver Kennedy 50c Pcgs Pr70dcam 50th Anniversary Label1967 Sms Kennedy Half Dollar Ngc Ms66* Star Beautiful Toning!2014 D High Relief Kennedy Half Dollar Ngc Sp 68 50th Anniversary2014 S Kennedy Half Dollar Gem Deep Cameo 90% Silver ProofRoll Of 20 Mixed Kennedy 90% Silver 1964 Half Dollars2014 S 50c Kennedy Silver Half Pcgs Pr70 Dcam Flag Label1990-1999 S Kennedy Half Dollar Gem Dcam Proof Run 10 Coin Set Cn-clad Us Mint2012 S Clad Kennedy 50c Pcgs Pr70dcam Portrait Label2013 S 90% Silver Kennedy Half Dollar D2014 Pd Us Mint 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Uncirculated Coin Set Seald2014 D National Baseball Hall Of Fame Clad Bu Half Dollar With Box And Coa2014 P+d+s+s Kennedy Silver & Clad Half Dollar Mint Proof Set ~ Pd In Mint Wrap 1961 P 50c Franklin Silver Half Dollar Uncirculated Gem Bu Pcgs Sample Coin1976 S 50c Kennedy Clad Half Dollar Proof Pcgs Sample Coin2014 Gold Kennedy Half Dollar 50c Ngc Pf69 Ultra Cameo Early Release No Reserve!1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Obw $10 Roll 90% Silver 2014-s Silver Kennedy Half Pr70dcam Pcgs Proof 70 Deep Cameo1964 Fs-401 Accented Hair Gem Proof Kennedy Half - From Cherrypickercoins - 22862014 S Silver Kennedy 50c Proof Coin Pf 70 Ultra Cameo Er Kennedy Label2014-p&d 1st Strike 50th Anniversary Kennedy Set Clad Half Dollar Pcgs Sp67 2014-w Gold 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar First Strike K15 (2 Coins)1964 Uncirculated Kennedy Roll50th Anniversary Kennedy 2014 P D S W Half Dollar 90% Silver 4 Coin Set K132012 S - 90% Silver Deep Cameo Gorgeous Kennedy Half Dollar Proof