The John F. Kennedy Half Dollar - A Tribute to the Slain President
In 1964, just months after the assassination of America's youthful 35th president, Congress authorized a new half dollar design bearing the profile of President John F. Kennedy. This Kennedy half dollar was minted from 1964 through 2021, depicting JFK on the obverse and the presidential seal on the reverse. The new coin quickly replaced the previous Franklin half dollar design that had been issued since 1948 when introduced. While most Kennedy half dollars were struck in enormous numbers and are common, some dates are scarce and highly sought after by collectors. The Kennedy half dollar serves as an enduring tribute to the president tragically slain in 1963, with many saved as keepsakes during the national period of mourning. For both collectors and admirers of JFK, the extensive Kennedy half dollar series commemorates his legacy on this iconic American silver coin.
Introduction to the Kennedy Half Dollar
The Kennedy half dollar, bearing the youthful profile of America's slain 35th president, was authorized by Congress just months after President Kennedy's death. Half dollars depicting Kennedy were minted from 1964 through 2021, one of the longest runs for any United States coin design. Initial mintages were enormous, with over 500 million struck in 1964 alone. From circulating rarities to proof and silver versions, the Kennedy half dollar series includes numerous keys.
High Demand for 1964 Kennedys
While most Kennedy half dollars are common, the 1964 dated issues are by far the most popular with collectors. Struck during the national mourning after JFK's assassination, the first 1964 half dollars were hoarded as keepsakes. This initial frenzy makes mint state examples difficult to find now. Special varieties like the 1964 SMS and 1964-D peace accents are also priced highly.
Low Mintage Rarities
Later issues of the Kennedy half saw more standard mintages in the tens of millions. But the 1992-P and 1992-D halves had incredibly low mintages under 2 million each. These were the last 90% silver Kennedy halves struck for circulation. The 1970-D is another condition rarity.
Special Collector Sets
The United States Mint also produced special uncirculated and proof Kennedy half dollar sets for coin collectors. The first proof set in 1964 along with anniversary sets for the 40th, 50th, and 60th year since JFK's death are all in demand.
Over 50 years after his tragic death, Americans still fondly remember President Kennedy. For both history collectors and JFK admirers, the extensive Kennedy half dollar series commemorates his legacy on this enduring silver icon.
JFK Kennedy Half Dollar Bolo Ties
NGC Coin Explorer - Kennedy Half Dollars (1964-Date)
PCGS CoinFacts - Kennedy Half Dollars
USA Coin Book - Kennedy Half Dollar Coins
Coin Values - Kennedy Half Dollar Values