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Have you heard of no FG Kennedy half dollars?
They’re among the most popular half dollar errors and varieties around.
And they’re unique to the Kennedy half dollar — which has been made since 1964 and continues to be one of the most widely collected United States coins around.
Yes, no FG half dollar errors are sought after by countless collectors, but these cool coins also have collectors asking a lot of questions:
- How can I identify these rare half dollar coins?
- How were these weird error coins created?
- How many no FG half dollars are out there?
- How much is a Kennedy half dollar error worth?
- How can I increase my odds of finding one?
Read on to find the answers to these and any other questions you may have about the no FG Kennedy half dollar…
What Does FG Mean? Where Is The FG Located?
The “FG” on the Kennedy half dollar stands for Frank Gasparro, who designed the reverse (back or “tail’s side”) of the coin. Incidentally, the obverse (front or “head’s side”) was designed by Gilroy Roberts.
Since Gasparro designed the reverse of the Kennedy half dollar, that’s where you’ll find his FG initials. Er, that’s where you should find them, anyway!
Normally, the FG will be found on the bottom left quarter of the Kennedy half dollar — just between the eagle’s rightmost tail feather and its right leg.
If you don’t see that on your Kennedy half dollar, then chances are you may have a no FG Kennedy half dollar!
These Kennedy half dollar errors are scarce — but they do turn up from time to time.
How To Identify Kennedy Half Dollar Errors
Here are a few other ways to tell if you have a no FG half dollar:
- For a coin to be a true no FG half dollar error, it has to have absolutely no sign of the FG at all. Not even a trace under 5x magnification!
- You may also see some weakness in the eagle’s feathers and other details in the vicinity of where the FG is usually found.
- Watch out for any signs of extra markings around where the FG normally is! If you see a lot of lines or scratches there, it’s possible that your coin was altered to masquerade as a no FG Kennedy half dollar.
How Was The No FG Kennedy Half Dollar Made?
You’re probably wondering why the FG of Frank Gasparro’s initials were left off the coin in the first place. It wasn’t like anybody was sore at Gasparro, a celebrated coin designer who served as the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1965 through 1981.
So, why did the U.S. Mint leave the FG off some Kennedy halves?…
It was a pure accident.
You see, sometimes when the dies that impress images on blank coins get damaged, mint employees have to buff the damage off the coin. Usually the process works — and the clash marks or other signs of damaged get polished right off.
But, sometimes a little bit more comes off, too. In the case of the no FG Kennedy half dollars, the “FG” got sanded right off! And that’s how no FG Kennedy halves are made.
How Many Were Made? And How Much Are They Worth?
It’s possible to find a no FG Kennedy half dollar of any date. But there are a few that coin collectors recognize as important varieties and highly value:
1966 SMS No FG Kennedy Half Dollar
This is one of the scarcest of the no FG half dollar errors. It was originally minted for the Special Mint Set (SMS), and that’s where many of these Kennedy half dollar errors are found — inside the government packaging of these coin sets.
Several hundred 1966 SMS No FG Kennedy half dollars are known to exist.
They range in value from about $100 and up. The record price of $2,820 was paid for an example graded SP67 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).
1972-D No FG Kennedy Half Dollar
The 1972-D No FG Kennedy half dollar is known as the rarest of these errors. Perhaps a few hundred may exist.
Even in circulated condition, the 1972-D no FG Kennedy half dollar value is around $300 to $500.
The record price paid for a 1972-D Kennedy half dollar with no FG initials was $2,485.13 in 2016 for an MS63 example slabbed by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
1982-P No FG Kennedy Half Dollar
The most common type of no FG half dollar was minted by the Philadelphia Mint in 1982.
Perhaps 1,000 or more were struck.
In uncirculated condition, a 1982-P no FG half dollar is worth $150 or more. Even worn specimens are worth $20 to $30.
In 2016, the record price was set for this 1982 Kennedy half dollar no FG error. That’s when an MS67 graded by PCGS crossed the block for $2,820!
Other No FG Kennedy Half Dollar Errors
In addition to the No FG Kennedy half dollars listed above, there are a handful of other dates where Gasparro’s initials are missing — including the 1983-P and 1988-P Kennedy halves.
While these errors are more common, the 1983-P no FG half dollar and 1988-P no FG half dollar are still worth anywhere from $15 to $50 in typical grades. Nicer specimens are worth even more.
And don’t forget to look for the no FG variety on other Kennedy half dollars. Again, this variety is possible on any date!
What About Weak FG Half Dollars?
OK, technically a weak FG is unusual. However, weak FG Kennedy half dollars aren’t recognized at this time as an important or valuable variety.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth collecting, or that they may not someday be worth serious money if more collectors start pursuing them.
Weak FG half dollars aren’t as rare as no FG Kennedy halves, but they still represent an unintended strike — and therefore could be found desirable by collectors looking for “off” coins.
5 Ways To Increase Your Odds Of Finding A No FG Kennedy Half Dollar
Want to add some no FG Kennedy half dollars to your collection?
While you could go buy some from a coin dealer, a more challenging but more affordable and thrilling alternative is to look for them in circulation!
If you’ve got some patience and an interest in plucking valuable and rare coins from pocket change and bank finds, then check out some of these tips:
- Check your change. While half dollars don’t circulate much these days, if you do receive one in your loose change — be sure to flip it over to the reverse and see if it’s a no FG half dollar.
- Look through bank rolls and boxes. One of the more lucrative ways to look for no FG Kennedy halves is to buy rolls and boxes of half dollars from your bank. Roll searching is an often-successful method that collectors use to find all kinds of rare and valuable coins for face value!
- Cherrypick a coin dealer’s inventory. Many coin dealers don’t know about no FG Kennedy halves — others just never take the time to look for them. See if you can find an overlooked no FG Kennedy half dollar at a local coin shop and buy it for “regular” price.
- Search through estate sales and garage sales. A lot of folks sell half dollars at yard sales for cheap and may not know about the no FG error. See if you can find some for a good price at the next neighborhood sale.
- Check coin sets. Be sure you take a careful look at every Kennedy half dollar you encounter in proof sets and mint sets.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!