The JFK silver half dollar is the last of the US silver fifty-cent pieces issued for general circulation. The JFK half dollar was preceeded by the Franklin, Walking Liberty and Barber half dollars.
The coin commemorates John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963.
Kennedy half dollars made their debut in 1964. Like previous US half dollars, they were composed of 90% silver. At this time, the US was easing off from using silver in coinage for general circulation. Therefore, JFK halves minted from 1965 until 1970 were produced with a 40% silver content. Since 1971, Kennedy halves were still minted but their composition no longer had any silver content.
Mintages of the JFK Silver Half Dollar
JFK Half Dollars had silver in their composition from 1964 through 1970. Here are the minatages for silver-content halves:
The 1970 issue was minted for collectors, not for business circulation, and was sold at priced higher than face value.
In addition, proof coins were struck in 1964 (3,950,762), 1968 (3,041,506), 1969 (2,934,731), and 1970 (2,632,810).
The Kennedy Presidency
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was arguably one of the most beloved presidents in modern American history. Coming from an illustrious Irish-American family, he was elected as a relatively young man and brought hope and promise to the nation. He was the first Catholic to be elected to the US presidency. He was president during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a high point of brinkmanship between the US and the USSR during the Cold War period. One of JFK’s most famous quotes was “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
JFK’s Untimely Death
His life was cut short by a bullet fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, in Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963, while riding in a motorcade with his wife, Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy and the Governor of Texas, John Connally. Oswald was shot dead two days later by Jack Ruby before he stood trial. There was considerable intrigue and numerous conspiracy theories regarding the events associated with JFK’s death. The Warren Commission, the US House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1979 that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”
Collecting JFK Silver Half Dollars
There are no real rarities among the silver-content JFK halves. The 1965 issue has the lowest mintage, but with over 65,000,000 produced, even this coin is easy to come by. Because of this, JFK silver half dollars are generally easily obtained. A complete set is not hard to collect. Your best bet for obtaining great prices for these coins is through a dedicated online dealer, such as Golden Eagle Coins, or directly on popular sites such as eBay and Amazon.
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