Kennedy Half Dollar


After the devastating assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22,1963, Congress and the US Mint quickly designed a coin to memorialize this 35th President of the United States.

At the time, existing laws prevented coin design changes except every 25 years, and the Franklin-Liberty Bell Half-Dollar had only been minted 15 years. It was as special concession that would pass an act to authorize the Kennedy Half-Dollar on December 30, 1963, in time for the new year.

Note: To commemorate the national Bicentennial, Kennedy Half-Dollar coins minted 1975-1976 did not show the date of issue imprinted at the bottom of the coin. The reverse side of the coins for these years displayed Independence Hall in Philadelphia and included the words, “200 YEARS OF FREEDOM” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”

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Kennedy Half-Dollar Coin Design – The front side of the Silver Kennedy Half-Dollar depicts a likeness of President Kennedy with the word “LIBERTY” encircling the upper edge of the coin. “IN GOD WE TRUST” is embossed beneath the neckline. The date of issue is imprinted at the bottom of the coin. The reverse side of the coin features the US Presidential Coat of Arms, often used by the US Mint, along with the denomination of the coin. The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “HALF DOLLAR” encircle the coin.

Kennedy Half-Dollar Coin Minting – Silver Kennedy Half-Dollars were minted using three varying compositions. In 1964, they were 90 percent silver, circulating in the US. In 1965, Congress removed the silver from quarter and the dime and altered the silver composition in the half dollar. This new composition was also used for the Bicentennial halves (1975-76). The third composition after 1970, contained no silver. No mint mark was shown on the first mint, but mint marks are shown in two different locations in the second and third mints. In 1964, the mark appears below the eagle’s claw on the back side of the coin. From 1968 through today, the mint mark appears on the front side of the coin just below Kennedy’s portrait.

  1. 1964 – Silver Kennedy Half Dollars were 90% silver and only 10% copper.
  2. Between 1965 – 1970, Silver Kennedy Half Dollars were redesigned with two outer layers of 80% silver and 20% copper and an inner core of 20.9% silver and 79.1% copper (40% silver, 60% copper).
  3. 1971 Through Today – Outer layers of 75% copper and 25% nickel.



Purity 90%
Size half dollar
Weight 12.5 g
Metal Content 0.36 oz.