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Kennedy Half Dollars – Key Dates & Varieties

The Kennedy Half Dollar series was struck in 1964, as soon after the assassination of President Kennedy as possible. The public outcry for an official government memento to honor the slain president was deafening. It was reported that US Mint designers Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro went to work on designing a memorial coin that same weekend as the president’s body was being flown back to Washington. 

The Kennedy Half Dollar replaced the Benjamin Franklin Half Dollar, which was first struck in 1948 and legislation was rapidly approved to redesign the coin to honor President Kennedy.  

Roberts designed the obverse with a bust of President Kennedy facing left. The word “LIBERTY,” adorned the upper periphery, the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST,” was separated by the truncation of the neck and the date is on the bottom periphery. 

Gasparro designed the reverse and modeled it after the Presidential Seal, with a heraldic eagle surrounded by stars, with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” on the upper periphery and the denomination, “HALF DOLLAR,” on the lower periphery.  

The 1964 coins are 90% silver, while the coins issued from 1965 through 1970 were struck in 40% silver. Coins struck from 1971 onward are clad coinage, except for silver proof issues which are 80% silver.

To read more about the backstory behind this coin series, read our article on the history of the Kennedy Half Dollar.

Key Dates & Varieties

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar, Doubled Die Obverse

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar struck at the Philadelphia Mint totaled 273,304,004 coins. A small number of those coins had a Doubled Die Obverse. 

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar, Doubled Die Reverse

Likewise, there was also a 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar that had reverse doubling in the letters. The Doubled Die Reverse is scarcer and more valuable than the Doubled Die Obverse coin.

1964 Kennedy Half ‘Accentuated Hair’ Proof

There were 3,950,762 1964 Kennedy Half Dollard struck in proof condition. Of that amount, a number of them display hair detail that is significantly stronger than the average proof strike.  

The price disparity is not significant until the coin attains the Proof-69 grade where a non-accented coin is sold for $200.00, and the accented variety of the coin is offered at $1,400.00.  

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar, Accented Hair, PF-68

1970-D Kennedy Half Dollar

The 1970-D Kennedy Half Dollar is one of the few true ‘key date” Kennedy Half Dollars as the mintage for this coin was significantly lower than for any other 40% Silver coin in this series.

The total mintage for this coin was just 2,150,000 coins while comparable mintages for other Denver Mint struck 40% silver coins.  

1972-D Kennedy Half Dollar, No ‘FG’

This coin was a victim of overzealous die polishing which completely wiped out the FG initials of Frank Gasparro.

The initials “FG” are in a prominent location on the reverse and easy to see without magnification, so examples missing these initials are easy to spot but difficult to find.  

1974-D Kennedy Half Dollar, Doubled Die Obverse

The entire 1974-D issue saw more than 79 million coins struck. A small portion of these coins were struck with a Doubled Die Obverse.  

The doubling is more pronounced and obvious on the “IN GOD WE TRUST” motto where the letters “R,” “U,” and “S,” are visible.  

This is one of the only Doubled Die coins that is well-known in the entire Kennedy Half Dollar series. Unlike other Doubled Die coins in this set, this variety is featured in the US Guide Book of United States Coins (the Redbook).  

1974-D Kennedy Half Dollar

1982-P Kennedy Half Dollar, No ‘FG’

This variety was a result of over-polishing the die, similar to the 1972-D No FG coin.

The 1982-P example is only worth a tiny fraction of the 1972-D is worth. 

1998-S Kennedy Half Dollar, Special Mint Set, Matte Finish

A mere 62,000 of these Special Mint Sets containing the Kennedy Half Dollar with a special matte finish were ever sold, making this another Key Date/Variety.

1998-S Kennedy Silver Half Dollar, SP-70 Grade

Other than the coins listed here and the 2014 Gold 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar there are no other real collectible key dates or varieties in the Kennedy Half Dollar coin series. 

Regardless, it is still a popular set to collect among beginning collectors and young collectors as many of the clad coins are available at face value at local banks. 

Kennedy Half Dollar Values

Date MM Mintage Very Fine Abt Unc Ch Unc 
1964 DDO Included $35 $80 $160 
1964 DDR Included $60 $100 $150 
1964 Acc Hair Proof — — $75 
1970-D 2,150,000 $5 $8 $20 
1972-D No FG Included $250 $600 $1,000 
1974-D DDO Included $7 $10 $30 
1982-P No FG Included $8 $20 $40 
1998-S SMS Matte Finish 62,000 — — $100 
Common 90% — $9 $10 $11 
Common 40% — $3 $4 $5 
Common Clad — FV FV $1 

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