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Ultimate Kennedy Half Dollar: Unveiling Its Power

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What is the most sought after Kennedy Half Dollar?

The Kennedy Half Dollar stands as a symbol of both commemoration and numismatic significance in American coinage. Following the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the United States Mint swiftly moved to honor his legacy with a new coin. Designed by Gilroy Roberts, the obverse features a striking portrait of President Kennedy, while the reverse, created by Frank Gasparro, displays the presidential seal with an eagle. Upon its release in 1964, the Kennedy Half Dollar captured the public’s imagination, quickly becoming a cherished memento of the fallen president. Beyond its sentimental value, the coin’s 90% silver composition in its initial years added to its allure, attracting both collectors and investors alike during a time when silver coins were still widely used in circulation.

The Early Years of the Kennedy Half Dollar

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

The first Kennedy Half Dollar was minted in 1964. This version was made of 90% silver and 10% copper, making it a valuable coin not just for its sentimental value but also for its metal content. The front (obverse) of the coin features a portrait of President Kennedy, designed by Gilroy Roberts. The back (reverse) shows the Presidential Seal, designed by Frank Gasparro.


The demand for these coins was extremely high when they were first released, as people wanted a memento to honor the fallen president. The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar remains special today due to its high silver content and historical significance.

The 1964 Accented Hair Variety

In the same year, a special version known as the “Accented Hair” variety was minted. This version has a slight difference in the design of Kennedy’s hair. It is believed that Jacqueline Kennedy, the president’s widow, requested this change. The Accented Hair variety is rarer than the regular 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar and is highly desirable among collectors, especially in high-grade conditions.


Changes in Composition: 1965-1970

1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars (40% Silver Clad)

In 1965, the composition of the Kennedy Half Dollar changed. To conserve silver, the coin was made with an outer layer of 75% copper and 25% nickel, bonded to an inner core of pure copper. However, it still contained 40% silver, making it less valuable than the 1964 version but still appealing to collectors.

The 1970-D Kennedy Half Dollar

The 1970-D Kennedy Half Dollar is another important coin in this series. It was only issued in mint sets, which means it was not released for general circulation. This coin is also notable because it was the last year the Kennedy Half Dollar contained any silver. Its scarcity and silver content make it a key date for collectors.


Special Editions and Proof Coins

The 1976 Bicentennial Kennedy Half Dollar

To celebrate the United States Bicentennial in 1976, a special Kennedy Half Dollar was minted. This coin features a unique reverse design and was made in both clad and 40% silver versions. The Bicentennial edition is popular among collectors due to its historical significance and special design.

The 1998-S Matte Finish Kennedy Half Dollar

In 1998, a special matte finish version of the Kennedy Half Dollar was released as part of a two-coin set commemorating Robert F. Kennedy. This coin has a unique texture and was produced in limited quantities, making it a valuable addition to any collection.


The Most Sought-After Kennedy Half Dollar

The 1964-D Kennedy Half Dollar with Accented Hair

Among all the Kennedy Half Dollars, the 1964-D version with the Accented Hair variety is considered the most sought after. This coin is prized for several reasons:

  1. Historical Significance: Being part of the first year of issue, it holds a special place in history.
  2. High Silver Content: Made of 90% silver, it is valuable both as a collector’s item and for its metal content.
  3. Accented Hair Variety: This rare design modification adds to its uniqueness and desirability.
  4. Condition and Rarity: High-grade examples of this coin, especially those graded MS67 and above, are very rare and fetch high prices.
  5. Collector Demand: There is consistent demand among collectors for this specific coin, driving up its value.

Other Noteworthy Kennedy Half Dollars

While the 1964-D Kennedy Half Dollar with Accented Hair stands out, several other versions are also highly prized:

  1. 1998-S Matte Finish: Its unique finish and limited production make it highly collectible.
  2. 1970-D: Limited release and silver content make this a key date.
  3. 1965-1970 40% Silver Clad: These coins are valued for their historical context and silver content.
  4. Proof and Special Mint Sets: These often have superior strikes and finishes, making them attractive to
  5. collectors.

Factors Influencing the Value of Kennedy Half Dollars

Mint Mark and Year

Certain years and mint marks are rarer than others, significantly affecting a coin’s value. For example, coins from 1964, 1970-D, and special editions like the 1998-S Matte Finish are more valuable.


The condition of the coin is crucial. Coins in higher grades (MS65 and above) are much more valuable. Professional grading services like the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) can authenticate and grade coins, providing assurance to buyers and sellers.


Varieties and Errors

Varieties, such as the Accented Hair in 1964 or doubled dies, and mint errors, like off-center strikes, can increase a coin’s value due to their rarity and uniqueness.

Silver Content

Coins minted in 1964 with 90% silver, and those from 1965-1970 with 40% silver, have intrinsic value due to their precious metal content. Fluctuations in silver prices can affect these coins’ market value.


Collector Demand

The overall demand within the collector community plays a significant role in determining value. Coins that are highly sought after by collectors will naturally command higher prices.

Investing in Kennedy Half Dollars

Investing in Kennedy Half Dollars can be both a rewarding hobby and a smart financial decision. Here are some tips for prospective investors:



Understand the history, key dates, and variations within the Kennedy Half Dollar series. Knowledge is crucial in identifying valuable coins and making informed purchases.

Condition is Key

Focus on acquiring coins in the best possible condition. High-grade examples are more likely to appreciate in value over time.


Buy from Reputable Sources

Purchase coins from reputable dealers, auction houses, or certified collectors. This reduces the risk of acquiring counterfeit or misrepresented coins.

Consider Professional Grading

Investing in professionally graded coins provides an extra layer of security and can enhance the coin’s resale value.



While focusing on key dates and high-grade examples is important, consider diversifying your collection with a range of Kennedy Half Dollars, including proofs and special mint sets.


The Kennedy Half Dollar remains a beloved and enduring part of American numismatic history. Among the various editions, the 1964-D Kennedy Half Dollar with Accented Hair stands out as the most sought-after due to its historical significance, high silver content, and rarity in high grades. Other noteworthy coins, such as the 1998-S Matte Finish and the 1970-D, also hold significant value and appeal to collectors.


Investing in Kennedy Half Dollars requires a keen understanding of the series, an appreciation for condition and rarity, and a strategic approach to building a diverse collection. Whether driven by the historical allure of the coins or the intrinsic value of their silver content, collectors and investors alike find the Kennedy Half Dollar to be a captivating and rewarding pursuit.



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