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1964 Kennedy Half Dollars: The Last 90% Silver Halves

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars are among the most sought after of all 90 % silver coins. These half dollars, the beginning to feature the now-familiar portrayal of President John F. Kennedy, have been beloved as souvenirs and vessels of eloquent bullion among generations of Americans. Struck within weeks of the president of the united states ’ south assassination in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, and introduced to the public by March 1964, these early on Kennedy Half Dollars remain one of the top collectibles in United States numismatics .
Kennedy Half Dollar, 1964 50C, PCGS MS67+. Click image to enlarge.

A National Tribute

The Kennedy Half Dollar was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on December 30, 1963 – barely six weeks after the president of the united states was killed at the age of 46 during his motorcade procession in Dealey Plaza. The numismatic affect wiped the flop of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin from the obverse of the half dollar, where he had been seen since 1948, and replaced by a JFK break designed by then-Chief Engraver of the United States Mint Gilroy Roberts ; the reverse was anchored with a depiction of the Seal of the President of the United States as designed by Sculptor-Engraver Frank Gasparro .
so, what makes the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar so popular ? The answer is complex… The nation was in collecting bereaved over the character assassination of Kennedy. The dashing young president and his photogenic family were loved by many globally. even before his presidency, Kennedy had risen to fame through the political ranks as a Massachusetts State Representative, later Senator, and was known as a World War II hero who helped save his colleague gang on patrol torpedo gravy boat PT-109 in 1942. He besides authored the critically acclaim 1956 book Profiles in Courage, chronicling eight historic figures and their heroic stories. President Kennedy ’ s sudden death by lone shooter Lee Harvey Oswald stunned the nation in a manner not seen since the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 or again until the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

President John F. Kennedy in the White House. Public domain photo. Click image to enlarge.

An Overnight Collectible

The fleet bipartisan efforts to memorialize Kennedy on the half dollar ensured Kennedy would be honored within months of his passing. And, when the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar was released to the populace on March 24, 1964, lines formed over a auction block long at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., with people eager to buy examples. alike scenarios played out at banks and other fiscal institutions around the state over the days that followed as the new coins filtered into distribution. Millions of Americans could nowadays obtain a argent memento of the fallen president for 50 cents. The coin became known as something “ particular ” overnight .
Kennedy Half Dollars became cherished objects, with millions upon millions buying them from local banks to keep as souvenirs. countless others were hoarding the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar for a unlike reason : their silver capacity. By 1963, bullion prices had risen to the point that the 90 % circulating United States Dime, Quarter, and Half Dollar were worth more for their intrinsic flatware content than for their submit expression value. Silver coins were hoarded by bullion stackers to extreme levels, and some United States Mint officials determined that coin collectors were to blame .
The monetary value of silver left the proceed production of cute metal neologism financially impracticable. thus, the U.S. Mint changed the musical composition of the dime bag and quarter to a copper-nickel dress format while reducing the argent content of the half dollar to 40 % begin in 1965. The United States Mint wound down production of circulating 90 % flatware half dollars on a high note, striking more than 430 million in 1964 – the most half dollars ever struck by the United States Mint for a single year to that target. Broken down, these include the 273,304,004 circulation strikes bearing the 1964 date from the Philadelphia Mint, 156,205,446 hail from the Denver Mint, and an extra 3,950,762 Philadelphia-minted validation .

Collecting Kennedy Half Dollars

The most wide collected assortment among 1964 Half Dollar is the Accented Hair, seen on a little number of validation. early 1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollars feature a bust of JFK with intemperate hairlines over his ear. however, the detail was softened per the request of newly widowed Jacqueline Kennedy, who was instrumental in the universe of the Kennedy Half Dollar to the period that she suggested the half dollar for her husband ’ randomness portrayal to avoid replacing George Washington ’ mho likeness on the quarter .
Kennedy Half Dollar, 1964 50C Accented Hair, HAIR COMPARISON. Click image to enlarge.

Estimates published on PCGS CoinFacts suggest just 5 % of the 1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollar mintage features the Accented Hair detail, resulting in a annual type besides attributed by the presence of an absent lower left serif in the letter “ I ” of “ LIBERTY. ” With a coinage of 3,950,762 proofread, that means approximately 200,000 pieces with the Accented Hair detail were produced. high demand for this barely emergence drives prices skyward for any examples, with a distinctive PCGS PR65 specimen taking about $ 80. Those designated as DCAM are rare, and the little number of PCGS PR66DCAMs take around $ 1,250 each. PCGS PR68DCAM specimens fetch $ 12,500, and the single finest-known model is graded PCGS PR69DCAM and could take $ 25,000 or more if sold .
Kennedy Half Dollar, 1964 50C, DCAM, PCGS PR69DCAM. Click image to enlarge.
meanwhile, garden-variety 1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollars deal for a more low-cost $ 25 in a grade of PCGS PR65. As with Accented Hair specimens, regular 1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollars are rare with full moon cameo affect on both the obverse and revoke, and prices for those crisp examples designated as DCAMs are subsequently much higher. A PCGS PR66DCAM goes for $ 60, while higher-graded specimens fetch greater amounts still, with PCGS PR67DCAMs and PCGS PR68DCAMs trade for $ 225 and $ 625, respectively. The relative handful of PCGS PR69DCAM specimens tilt on PCGS CoinFacts for $ 3,000 .
ordinary circulation strikes are easy to come by, with circulated Philadelphia and Denver examples proliferating in the many pre-1965 trash flatware offerings and selling for at or near melt value in that grade. however, significant premiums are encountered in the uncirculated grades. PCGS MS65 examples command about $ 30 each, while the scarce PCGS MS67s retail for around $ 500 or indeed. Pieces grading higher than that are rare and instruction thousands of dollars when offered .

Other Notables

No survey of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar is complete without touching on a handful of other pieces from that class, including a bevy of relatively apart varieties known by and large by serial enthusiasts. These include the 1964-D Doubled Die Obverse, 1964-D Quadrupled Die Obverse, and 1964-D/D Repunched Mintmark. While all are authoritative to the Kennedy Half Dollar specialist and included in some of the Kennedy Half Dollar Registry Sets, possibly the most significant of these varieties is the Quadrupled Die Obverse, which can be most prominently detected in the “ U ” of the motto “ IN GOD WE TRUST. ” One specimen graded PCGS MS65 took $ 492 in a 2020 Heritage Auctions event .
Kennedy Half Dollar, 1964-D 50C Quadrupled Die Obverse, OBVERSE DETAIL. Click image to enlarge.

last but not least, there is the 1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollar. This extraordinary rarity came to light in the early 1990s soon after the pass of former Director of the United States Mint Eva B. Adams, who helmed the mint in the 1960s when the Kennedy Half Dollar was beginning strike. PCGS reports grading 15 specimens across all grades, and this mint with satin-like surfaces and exquisite strike continues bewildering numismatists decades after its discovery .
Kennedy Half Dollar, 1964 50C SMS, PCGS SP68. Click image to enlarge.
Why were they made ? How many were struck ? Were they prototypes of the 1965 SMS coins struck the trace year for public passing in special Mint Sets ? Did they have anything to do with the mysterious 1964-D peace Dollars ( all 316,106 of which were reported melted ) ? Whatever the origin history behind the 1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollars, they are by far the rarest of all coins in the series. They are besides the most expensive. The commemorate price for the mint is claimed by a PCGS SP68 specimen that crossed the auction block in a 2019 Stack ’ randomness Bowers Galleries auction for a whack $ 156,000 !

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