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Kennedy Half Dollar 1964 - Present

Shortly after President Kennedy's death, Ms. Eva Adams, the Director of the Mint, telephoned Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, Gilroy Roberts at the Philadelphia Mint to inform him that serious consideration was being given to placing President Kennedy's portrait on a coin. The quarter dollar, half dollar or the one dollar were being discussed.

November 27, Ms. Adams called again and informed him that the half dollar had been chosen since Mrs. Kennedy did not want to replace Washington on the quarter dollar. Ms. Adams also informed Roberts that he was to use the profile portrait that appears on the Mint list medal for President Kennedy. The reverse was to display the President's Seal.

Two complications stood in the way of immidate production. First, there was a nation wide coin shortage, and Half dollars of one type or the other were needed soon. The second was a legal problem; the Franklin Half Dollar had only been in production 15 years (short of the 25 years required by congress). The Franklin Half replacement would require an act of Congress. With suprising speed, the Act of December 30, 1963 cleared the way for the Kennedy half dollar.

Vital Stats.

Type 1 90% Silver Kennedy Half Dollar (1964)

  • Designer: Obverse by Gilroy Roberts; reverse by Frank Gasparro
  • Diameter: 31 millimeters
  • Weight: 12.5 grams
  • Content: 90% silver 10% copper
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Mint Mark Location: Centered above the date on the obverse.
  • I View Grading

    Type 1 Mintage

    Type 1 Silver

    Year/
    Mint Mark
    Circulation
    Strikes
    1964273,304,004
    1964-D156,205,446

The first regular-issue Kennedy half dollars began production at the Denver Mint, and the Philadelphia Mint followed suit the week after and were released to the public on March 24, 1964. Despite limiting the number of coins an individual could buy, banks were quickly sold out. Few of these coins were actually circulated. Many became keepsakes cherished by many Americans as well as foreign admirers.

Type 1
Silver (1964)

1964-D Type 1 Silver Half Dollar Coin Obverse 1964-D Type 1 Silver Half Dollar Coin Reverse

A portrait of Kennedy facing left occupies the center of the obverse. The letters "BER" in LIBERTY is partially obscured by Kennedy's head. The date is at 6 o'clock. "IN GOD WE TRUST" is in two sections separated by the point of Kennedy's neck just above the date. On the neck is a GR (the initials of Gilroy Robert).

The reverse (displaying the President's seal) in the center has nine major features: An eagle with outstretched wings and a shield, circling the eagle is a concentric circle of 50 small five-point stars. The eagles left claw (viewer's right) holding a bundle of arrows and his right an olive branch. In his beak is a banner with "E PLURIBUS UNUM". Thirteen five pointed stars in an arc above the banner. Above the arc is thirteen connected dot-like clouds. Extending upward from the eagle are sun-like rays. The designers initials FG are to the left of the eagle's tail.


Vital Stats.

Type 2 40% Silver Clad Kennedy Half Dollar (1965 - 1970)

  • Designer: Obverse by Gilroy Roberts; reverse by Frank Gasparro
  • Diameter: 31 millimeters
  • Weight: 11.5 grams
  • Content: Cladding 80% Silver 20% Copper, Core 79% Copper 21% Silver
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Mint Mark Location: Centered above the date on the obverse.

Type 2, 3 & 4

Type 2
40% Silver Clad (1965 - 1970)

1968 40% Silver Type 2 Clad Half Dollar Coin mint mark on Obverse 1968 40% Silver Type 2 Clad Half Dollar Coin Reverse

After only one years production the silver content was changed to 40% silver.


Vital Stats.

Type 3 Copper Nickel Clad Kennedy Half Dollar (1971 - 1974)

  • Designer: Obverse by Gilroy Roberts; reverse by Frank Gasparro
  • Diameter: 31 millimeters
  • Weight: 11.3 grams
  • Content: Cladding 75% Copper 25% Nickel, Core 100% Copper
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Mint Mark Location: Centered above the date on the obverse.


Vital Stats.

Type 3 Copper Nickel Clad Kennedy Half Dollar (1977 - Present)

  • Designer: Obverse by Gilroy Roberts; reverse by Frank Gasparro
  • Diameter: 31 millimeters
  • Weight: 11.3 grams
  • Content: Cladding 75% Copper 25% Nickel, Core 100% Copper.
  • Silver Proof Content: Cladding 80% Silver 20% Copper, Core 79% Copper, 21% Silver
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Mint Mark Location: Centered above the date on the obverse.


Type 3
Copper Nickel Clad
(1971 - 1974) (1977 - Present)

2009-D Kennedy Type 2 Clad Half Dollar Coin Obverse 2009-D Kennedy Type 2 Clad Half Dollar Coin Reverse

In 1971 the Kennedy half dollars silver content was again changed. The silver was reduced from 40% silver to nearly all copper except for a thin layer of silver on the front and back.


Regular production of the clad half dollar was suspended for 1975 and 1976 as part of the Bicentennial celebration. Independence Hall was placed on the reverse for those two years, and the date was given as 1776-1976 for both years. In 1977 production of the silver clad half dollar was resumed.

Type 4
Bicentennial Reverse (1975-1976)

1976 Bicentennial Half Dollar Coin Obverse 1976 Bicentennial Half Dollar Coin Reverse
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