1964 Kennedy Half Dollar 4


1964 would introduce the Kennedy Half Dollar to honor President John F. Kennedy who was assassinated on November 22, 1963. This would be the only year that the Kennedy Half Dollar would be composed of 90% silver in circulation. The Coinage Act of 1965 would take silver out of dimes and quarters, but reduce the silver content in half dollars. The years 1965 to 1969 would only have 40% silver, and after 1970, silver was removed from the circulating Half Dollar. Expecting a large demand for these new Half Dollars, the Philadelphia minted 273 million half dollars and Denver minted 156 million. To put this in perspective, there were more 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars minted than the whole Franklin Half Dollar collection minted between 1948 and 1963. This would also be the last year that Philadelphia would mint Proof Coins and produced almost 4 million of them. At the top of this post are 2 1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollars. They are both graded Proof-68 by NGC, but there is one difference between the 2 Half Dollars.

Accented Hair Half Dollar

The left Half Dollar was one of the first Kennedy Half Dollars minted in January, 1964. These Half Dollars had heavily accented hair above the ear. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy didn’t like this accented hair and asked for a change. There was no idea how many were initially minted, but it is estimated between 3% and 5% of the total Proof Half Dollars that year. That would come to somewhere between 120,000 and 200,000 heavily accented Half Dollars.

Normal Half Dollar

The remainder of the year, the Proof Kennedy Half Dollars were minted with less accented hair above the ear. There would be around 3.8 million Half Dollars looking like this in 1964.

1964 Half Dollars are still popular today. Some collectors will go through numbers of coin rolls to find this 90% Silver Coin. Of course, they were easier to find when I was a kid than today. I’m sure a number of them have been melted over the years. Do you have any of these half dollars?

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4 thoughts on “1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

  • Christopher Chadwick

    What coin sold the most? Do pennies sell higher then quarters or half-dollars? I didn’t know that the D marking made such a big difference. I like the clarity of the images you have on your site really to see what you’re looking at. Do you go to a lot of coin auctions?

    • Kevin Post author

      Nice! Lots of questions…let’s see what I can answer.

      The coin that sold the most in the US is a unique 1794 Silver Dollar. It sold for $10,016,875 at a Stack’s Bower Auction in January, 2013. Other high selling coins include a 1913 Liberty Nickel for $3,290,000, 1933 St. Gaudens Gold Double Eagle for $7,590,020, and an 1804 Silver Dollar for $4,140,000.

      In terms of what sells higher, it depends. Coin rarity is key. Also, there is melt value which is a big deal with silver and gold coins. A lot of coins have been sold and melted, making the value of remaining coins go up. 

      Mint marks on coins can sometimes make a difference. Some years, the Philadelphia mint minted more than Denver and sometimes vice verse. A lot of times, San Francisco minted less coins than either Philadelphia or Denver. A cool mint mark to find is “CC”. These are Carson City coins minted between 1870 and 1893. They usually had low mintages and sought after.

      I haven’t attended any coin auctions, but I did online auctions with Heritage years ago. Nothing rare. I went for a few Franklin Half Dollars. Maybe someday, I’ll check out an actual coin auction in person.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for the comment!

  • Nikolay Nachkov

    Nice coin review! In truth, it’s my hobby to collect coins. I have a collection of old Bulgarian coins that were used after 1879 to 1990. I have other coins around the world too. Is it hard to find that one? It will be a nice addition to my collection. Collecting coins really helps with learning the history of a nation or civilization.

    • Kevin Post author

      Thanks for the comment Nickolay! I don’t know if I have any Bulgarian coins. I have a World Coin album that I haven’t looked at in years. Will have to see.

      You’re right that you can learn a country’s history through coins. I know I have.

      With over 400,000,000 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars minted at the Philadelphia and Denver mints, there are many to go around. I’m sure many have been minted for their silver value, but I think there are still many out there. 

      Good luck with your collection!