Within two months of the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the US Mint commissioned and minted the Kennedy half dollar. The popularity and early death of Kennedy quickly made the Kennedy half dollar one of the most collectible coins in the US.
The sheer range of Kennedy half dollars makes this coin an excellent option for beginner, intermediate, and advanced coin collectors. If you’ve already started your Kennedy half dollar collection, there’s a good chance there are plenty more coins you need to grow or complete your collection.
From dates and mint marks to proofs and sub-types, you’ll be able to grow your collection with careful consideration of what coins to pursue.
We’ll help your quest to find everything from the 1964 Kennedy half dollar to the bicentennial version. You certainly need the information in this article to make sure you soon add the rare half dollars in the Kennedy range.
Types of Kennedy Half Dollars
This half dollar has been minted for more than fifty years. As a result, there are a variety of coins to be on the lookout for. No matter how you choose to collect this coin, you’ll almost certainly want a variety of types of coins.
Here’s what you should look for.
The 1964 coin was made of 90 percent silver. In the early 1960s, the price of silver was on the rise. The 1964 Kennedy half dollar was the only true silver coin put into circulation that year. It was also the only year the Kennedy half dollar had that high a percentage of silver in it.
For the next six years (1965 through 1970), the increasing cost of silver forced the Mint to drop the quotient of silver to 40 percent.
When, in 1971, the US Mint replaced the 40 percent silver Kennedy half dollar with a copper-nickel clad coin, the last silver coin went out of circulation.
There have been a few special edition coins and non-circulating coins produced over the years. These half dollars have used a variety of finishes, including, from time to time, silver once again.
A well-rounded collection will include a mix of these types of Kennedy half dollars.
Rare Kennedy Half Dollars
Some of the issued Kennedy half dollars have become quite rare. Collectors should keep a close eye out for these rare coins. If you want to grow your collection, adding one or two rare coins will really help flesh it out.
The 1988 proof silver matte finish issue is quite rare. Only 63,000 coins were produced. These coins fetch a premium price among collectors with some going for around $500.
Other rare coins are usually considered rare because of imperfections or mistakes. The 1974-D Doubled Die reverse Kennedy half dollar is a great example of this kind of coin. It’s not exceptional for this specific issue to bring in a price of $25 or more.
The final year of the 40 percent silver coins (1970) also brings a premium. Fewer half dollars were produced that year so coins in used condition will sell for $35 and unused for $65.
Non-Circulating Kennedy Half Dollars
Not all Kennedy half dollars were circulated. Collectors’ editions and uncirculated coins are important additions when you’re growing your collection.
The US Mint has produced a variety of special editions over the years. Most of these editions are specifically marketed to collectors.
Look for the 1976 Bicentennial edition and the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Silver Coin Collection in particular.
These coins will really add value and prestige to your Kennedy half dollar collection.
It’s also worth keeping an eye out for the non-circulating version of the 50th Anniversary coin.
Ways to Collect the Kennedy Half Dollar
There are a variety of ways to collect this famous coin. Each way puts the emphasis on different combinations of the coin. Here are some options to consider.
The Essential Collection
Focus on best-quality uncirculated or best-quality proof coins. Try to get coins from each decade. You could buy an incomplete set to get you started and fill it out as you find those coins that aren’t in the set.
Proofs All the Way
Another option is to concentrate only on the proof coins. It’s easiest to find proof coins produced after 1973 so start with them. The earlier proofs are tougher to come by and are often quite expensive.
There are seven different finishes to look for. Ensuring you have one of each is a great way to grow your collection. The seven finishes are, uncirculated, proof, the special Mint set, matte, satin, enhanced, and the reverse proof.
The Type Set
Putting together a collection that includes at least one example of each type of Kennedy is also an interesting way to collect these coins.
A set of uncirculated coins of each finish would include the 1964 90 percent silver, the 1965-1970 40 percent silver, a coin from the Special Mint Set, a copper-nickel coin, the copper-nickel Bicentennial edition, the 40 percent silver Bicentennial edition, the 1988 90 percent silver coin, the copper-nickel version from 2005 to 2010 with a satin finish, the 2014 enhanced copper-nickel coin.
A set of proof coins with each finish will include the 90 percent silver proof, the 40 percent silver proof, the copper-nickel composition proof, the copper-nickel composition proof Bicentennial reverse proof, the 40 percent silver composition Bicentennial reverse proof, the 90 percent silver reverse proof, and the 999 fine gold composition proof.
Grow Your Collection
No matter how you choose to grow your collection of Kennedy half dollars, it should be rewarding and fun. There are so many options to play with.
You’ll need to really engage with the collector community as you look for the missing coins in your collection. There are plenty of forums and blogs for that so do your research, make friends along the way, and find those coins.
If you haven’t seen it already, the Numismatic Database is an excellent resource for you to use when growing your Kennedy half dollar collection. Check out the database today to find out what each Kennedy half dollar should be worth, how rare it is, and where they are being bought and sold.