Kennedy Half Dollars
Honoring 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy, the Kennedy half dollar was authorized by Congress just a month after his death on November 22, 1963. The first silver Kennedy half dollars entered circulation in 1964 and were wildly popular with collectors and the public alike.
Despite composition changes, the Kennedy half dollar remains a favorite among collectors. Here you'll find a wide selection of carefully graded clad and silver Kennedy half dollars, including single coins, sets, Proofs and more. All backed by our 45-day Money Back Guarantee of Satisfaction!
The Enduring Appeal of Kennedy Half Dollars
In a 2016 poll, the Kennedy half dollar tied for the top spot among coin collectors. President Kennedy's famous call to action during his inaugural address in 1961 still resonates: "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." The first president born in the 20th century, and the youngest ever elected, he was also a decorated WWII hero who sought to ease Cold War tensions. Many Kennedy coin collectors recall how the president proposed federal programs for the elderly and the poor and also launched a drive for a civil-rights bill to end racial segregation.
The Kennedy Half Dollar Design
The Mint's chief engraver, Gilroy Roberts, designed the Kennedy half dollar's obverse. His initials "GR" can be found in the shaded truncation of JFK's bust. Frank Gasparro, who succeeded Roberts, designed the reverse featuring the presidential coat of arms, His initials "FG" can be found between the eagle's left leg and tail feathers. The 1964 mint mark was located on the reverse, below the olive branch. From 1968 to date, the mint mark appears on the obverse side of JFK half dollars, below the point of the bust truncation and above the year.
Kennedy Half Dollars: Easy and Affordable to Collect
Collecting Kennedy half dollars provides opportunities for coin collectors of all levels. Whether you are just starting out or lured by the thrill of hunting error coins and varieties, you can keep track of your growing Kennedy coin collection with this handy checklist.
Composition, Mints and Circulation
Due to a rise in precious metal prices in 1965, the silver content in a silver Kennedy half dollar was reduced to 40%. And in 1971, silver was eliminated altogether except in special collector coins, Proofs and a few 1971-D and 1977-D pieces struck in silver-clad composition by error.
Kennedy Half Dollars have been struck at four mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and West Point. In some years, JFK half dollars have been issued in Mint and Souvenir sets only. No Kennedy half dollars were struck for circulation in 1987. And since 2002, release of John F. Kennedy half dollars for circulation has been limited, with many dates issued only in Mint Sets, 20-coin rolls and 200-coin bags.
The U.S. Mint has struck a number of special Kennedy half dollars, including a dual-dated Kennedy half dollar for the nation's 1976 Bicentennial. It also struck a gold Kennedy half dollar at West Point for the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy coin in 2014, which you can read about in our Heads & Tails blog. Additionally, Kennedy Half Dollars included in 2005-2010 Uncirculated Mint Sets featured a special satin-finish.