Kennedy Half Dollar (1964-Date)
The Kennedy Half Dollar – In 1963, one of the most tragic events in American history occurred: President Kennedy was assassinated. It was a major crisis for the public’s consciousness and to this day most people who were alive at the time can tell you exactly what they were doing when they learned of the news. Due to President Kennedy’s extraordinary impact on the spirit of the American nation, it only makes sense that his legacy be engraved in a US coin. This was the exact mentality of the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, Gilroy Roberts, who decided in 1964 to mint a half dollar with the portrait of President Kennedy.
After some fast and feverish work from all parties involved, the coin was finally ready for minting. On release, the public was ecstatic. They not only felt a great sense of pride and reassurance that President Kennedy’s visage was carved on the half dollar, but they also thought the portrait itself and the craftsmanship left little to be desired. It was truly a historic accomplishment for United States coin minting and United States culture in general. Risks were taken and obstacles were successful overcome to place President Kennedy on the half dollar.
Despite the fact that more Kennedy Half Dollars were minted and circulated than ever before, there was still a massive demand that could not be met by the supply. The coins were leaving circulation faster than they were appearing and there was a borderline crisis over how to handle the situation. Eventually the solution proposed and enacted to eliminate silver content from the half dollar entirely, but this was not successful in increasing circulation and the half dollar was ultimately phased out of any wider exchange. This means that, though the Kennedy Half Dollar may be prized by collectors and hobbyists, it has no real presence in the greater American market.
Unfortunately for collectors, no rare date/mint combinations for the Kennedy Half dollar exist, even though there were some pieces that saw limited release. That being said, there do exist “special mint set” coins that collectors might find quite valuable to collect alongside proofs. Additionally, there were special silver sets in the intermittent period before silver was eliminated from the currency. These were made specifically for collectors and can fetch higher prices depending on other factors. Silver variations of the Kennedy Half Dollar have, in general, proven to be very popular among collectors.
Overall, the Kennedy Half Dollar is as important from a historical standpoint as a collection standpoint. It not only helped symbolize the legacy of one of the 20th century’s most popular Presidents, but it also could be seen as a parable of hope. Many different people worked on the project to release the Kennedy Half Dollar, no matter the odds or challenges, and it could not have been done without them. Finally, the Kennedy Half Dollar marks the final shift from the use of Half Dollars in the American economy to their modern status as a collector item without a greater function.