Silver Kennedy Half Dollars

The silver Kennedy Half Dollar made its debut in 1964 after intense political pressure following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy resulted in his portrait on a circulating coin of the United States.

Silver Kennedy Half Dollar

Kennedy Half Dollars have been minted annually since then, although a few changes to their composition and production have occurred. Most notably, the 90% silver content was only struck in the 1964 Kennedy’s. The composition was changed to 40% silver for the 1965-1970 strikes, with a clad cupro-nickel composition replacing that in 1971.

Kennedy Half Dollar Silver Melt Values

The 1964-1970 Kennedy Half Dollar numismatic values are somewhat stabilized by the fact that each one of them contains a certain percentage of silver. While most grades do require a premium over that intrinsic content, that base melt value is of interest for "junk silver coin" grades.

For example, the 1964 Kennedy’s have a 90% silver composition with each coin containing .36169 ounces of pure silver when they were originally struck. At that content, if the spot price of silver was $20, each coin would have a melt value of $7.23.

The 1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars have a much lower percentage of silver, with each only containing .1479 ounces of the precious metal when struck. Still, at a $20 spot price for silver, each would have an intrinsic value of $2.96.

Selling prices on Kennedy Half Dollars can easily be obtained from several sources like coin dealers, price guides and auction sites. eBay has thousands of listings for the coins, some of which are shown below:


Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Information

Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a movement was started to include his image on a circulating coin of the United States. The denomination chosen was that of the half dollar even though it was not due for a scheduled replacement. The silver Franklin Half Dollar (which the Kennedy Dollar replaced) only debuted in 1948, and was in its 16th year when Congress ordered the change.

A portrait of John F. Kennedy is shown on the obverse of the half dollar. It was designed by Gilroy Roberts, Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, within days of the assassination. It was based on a profile used by Roberts for the Kennedy inaugural medal which was issued two years earlier. The reverse shows the seal of the President of the United States and was completed by Frank Gasparro.

1964-1970 Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Specifications

Face Value: $.50

(1964 – 90% silver, 10% copper) (1965-1970 – 40% Silver, 60% Copper)

Total Mintage:

(1964 – 429,509,450) (1965-1970 – 848,895,006)

Diameter: 30.60 mm

(1964 – 12.5 grams) (1965-1970 – 11.5 grams)

Edge: Reeded
Minting Facility: Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (D) & San Francisco (S)
Obverse Design: Portrait of John F. Kennedy
Obverse Designer: Gilroy Roberts
Reverse Design: image of the seal of the President of the United States
Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro



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