The United States government swiftly approved the Kennedy half dollar mere weeks after Kennedy was killed, making for what was one of the most sudden changes in United States coinage history.
The Kennedy half dollar replaced the Franklin half dollar, which was struck from 1948 to 1963.
Let’s take a look at Kennedy half dollars and find out how much some of the scarce Kennedy half dollars are worth.
Are Kennedy Half Dollars Common?
Kennedy half dollars, though not seen in circulation much anymore, are actually very common coins.
Before Kennedy half dollars were made in 1964, half dollars in general circulated quite well.
However, a mourning nation wanting these souvenirs of the fallen president quickly put in place a national habit of withholding half dollars from circulation.
Couple that effect with the overall zeal to keep all silver coins from circulation during the mid 1960s, when people hoarded coins which contained any trace of silver, and you’ll easily see how half dollars in circulation became a thing of the past.
The United States Mint made 100s of millions of Kennedy half dollars. Production remained high overall through much of the 1970s. By the time the 1980s entered, half dollar use had essentially stopped across much of the country. The numbers of Kennedy half dollars being made declined.
The last year more than 60 million half dollars were made for circulation was 1983. The last time Kennedy half dollar mintage in any single year was in the 100s of millions was in the mid 1970s.
If you look for half dollars, the dates you’ll most often find are from
- The bicentennial 1776-1976 half dollars
After that, you’ll likely find some sporadic dates ranging from the late 1970s and early 1980s, followed by a variety of dates from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
Relatively few Kennedy half dollars made in the 2000s have really ever reached circulation. Most dates from the mid 1980s and on have very light – if any – perceptible wear, because they are used so infrequently.
Silver Kennedy Half Dollars
If you look for Kennedy half dollars at banks, there’s actually a slim chance you’ll wind up finding silver half dollars. Because half dollars don’t circulate very much and most people don’t even think to ask for them in change or – for that matter — spend much time looking at half dollars, silver half dollars do turn up on occasion in bank rolls.
Be sure you check bank rolls of half dollars whenever you can. With a bit of searching, you stand a chance of finding a 40% silver Kennedy half dollar (made from 1965 through 1969 for circulation) or even a 90% silver 1964 Kennedy half dollar.
- 1964 was the only year Kennedy half dollars were struck in the 90% silver format.
- From 1965 through 1970, Kennedy half dollars were made of a 40% silver composition; by the way, 1970 Kennedy half dollars were made only for mint sets, though some have entered circulation later on.
- Beginning in 1971, Kennedy half dollars made for circulation were struck in a copper-nickel clad composition.
- Some 1776-1976 Kennedy half dollars were made in a 40% silver composition for coin collectors – these are found in mint sets and proof sets.
- 90% silver proof Kennedy half dollars have been made since 1992 for inclusion in certain proof sets.
Any Rare Kennedy Half Dollars?
There are really no rare regular-strike Kennedy half dollars. Values for most Kennedy half dollars are cheap, except for the prices of couple scarce coins and error coins, of which there many.
- The 1970-D Kennedy half dollar is the scarcest, worth about $10 to $20 in typical uncirculated grades.
- The 1998-S silver matte finish Kennedy half dollar is worth $150 to $175.
- All circulated copper-nickel clad half dollars without any errors are worth only face value.
- Most proof Kennedy half dollars are valued between $3 and $10
- Regular, uncirculated 1964 Kennedy half dollars are worth around $5.
- Regular uncirculated 1965 through 1969 Kennedy half dollars have a value of around $2 to $3.
- All worn silver Kennedy half dollars are worth right about whatever the current melt value is for the respective amount of silver.