Kennedy Silver Half Dollar

On November 22, 1963, the unthinkable happened in America. President John F. Kennedy, the much beloved young president of the United States, was shot and killed while riding in a presidential parade through the streets of Dallas, Texas in a convertible with First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

Then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President and just a few months later, with the country still in shock and mourning, the U.S. Mint released a half dollar commemorating JFK. Like the president, the Kennedy Silver Half Dollar is one of the most loved coins in the United States. Though the Mint has been issuing the coin every year for the last fifty years, you will rarely see these coins in circulation since they’re often kept for collecting purposes.

Here we’ll tell you about the design of the coin and why you should collect:

Half Dollar Design

Each Kennedy half dollar has a face value of 50 cents, a diameter of 30.6 mm and a thickness of 2.15 mm. The metal composition of the coin has changed over the years (but more on that later).

Obverse: The Kennedy half-dollar features a profile of John F. Kennedy on the obverse of the coin, sculpted by Gilroy Roberts. Encircling Kennedy is the inscription “LIBERTY” above. The phrase “In God We Trust” and the year of mint is also inscribed. If you look closely, you can also find the mintmark (at which mint the coin was made) underneath Kennedy’s profile.

Reverse: The reverse of the coin features a modified design of the presidential seal by Frank Gasparro. The presidential seal shows an eagle with its wings outstretched, a shield across its chest with arrows clasped in one talon and a laurel branch in the other, with a banner overhead reading “E Pluribus Unum” – meaning “Out of the Many, One.” The design is encircled by stars, and then the words, “United States of America” above and “Half Dollar” below.

Why You Should Collect Half Dollars

Collecting Value: If you’re a numismatist (also known as coin collector) who’s into American coins, the Kennedy half-dollar is an essential. Kennedy was a much-loved president whose assassination marked a generation of Americans.

If you’re looking for the sake of collection, keep coins that are in better shape, which might have been kept as a remembrance of Kennedy and not used much in circulation. You will be able to tell how worn a coin is by how shiny or scratched it is, and if the portraiture of Kennedy is still raised or if it’s been worn off in someone’s pocket.

Investment Value: If you’re into collecting coins for their investment potential, early Kennedy half dollars have a uniquely high silver content, especially if you can find ones from 1964 when the coins were minted in 90% silver or the years 1965- 1970 when the coins were minted in 40% silver. The condition of the coin doesn’t matter like it would if you were collecting the coin for historical value, since what you’re really interested in is the metal content.

Whatever your reasons for looking at the Kennedy half dollar, it is a definite essential to any kid coin collector’s (or investor’s) coin portfolio!