JFK Silver Half Dollars

By | July 5, 2015
1964 JFK Silver Half Dollar

1964 JFK Silver Half Dollar

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 Dollar Reverse

JFK Half Dollar Reverse

JFK Half Dollars had silver in their composition from 1964 through 1970. Here are the minatages for silver-content halves:

1964  273,304,004

1964-D  156,205,446

1965  65,879,366

1966  108,984,932

1967  295,046,978

1968-D  246,951,930

1969-D  129,881,800

1970  2,150,000

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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6 thoughts on “JFK Silver Half Dollars

  1. Fidel

    This is a nice article on J.F. Kennedy. You have really done well to touch on bits and pieces of his life story.

    You have also done a great job on giving us a clear perspective on what his commemorative half dollar was all about.

    Thanks for sharing this info.

    I will be back to read more.

    1. Mike Post author

      You are right. JKF was a very notable president and his time in office was indeed cut short. It was amazing just how quickly after his untimely death that the US Congress approved the minting of the JFK Half Dollar. That in itself is a testimony to JFK’s popularity and how much the country grieved his passing.

  2. Sam

    Please, I will like to ask, what is the significance of a hedge and investment in gold and silver in our present day economy as the fiat currency is no longer convertible back to precious metals?

    I agree that most of the current financial challenges being faced by some economies in modern times could be traced to the non-convertibility of currencies. Most governments embark on printing paper currencies that have little or no value, thus causing unnecessary inflation and ultimately resulting in devaluation of such currencies.

    Thank you for the post, it is highly educative.

    1. Mike Post author

      Thanks for your visit and great question. The idea of gold and silver as a hedge is not because the fiat currency will become convertible again but that the precious metals themselves will gain in value, as they always have, during times of hyperinflation or global turmoil. It’s a great time to create this hedge because, at the moment, the price of silver and gold is low.

  3. Boniface

    Hi Mike,
    That’s quite a refreshing reading. I have read each word and I like the way you’ve coined history with the half dollar coin in such a creative, yet informative manner.
    If you were to project 50 or more years to come, what do you think will be the mode of exchange at that time? Will notes and coins be overly extinct? Will coins like the JFK one be worth a lot more?

    1. Mike Post author

      Hello Boniface, Thanks for your supportive comment. I like your pun “coined history”! Projections of future events are tough for anyone, myself included. If I had to go out on a limb, I would think we will always have physical money, such as coins, because too many bad things can happen to paper money and electronic accounts. Silver and gold coins will continue to increase in price, on average, because of the effects of even “normal” inflation.


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