1964 Kennedy Silver Half Dollar

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar holds a special place in the history of U.S. coinage due to its design and the circumstances surrounding its release. The coin was issued as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

The obverse of the coin features a left-profile portrait of President Kennedy designed by Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts. The reverse, designed by Frank Gasparro, is an adaptation of the Presidential Seal and includes an eagle with a shield on its chest, holding an olive branch and a bundle of arrows.

It was the last 90% silver coin to be put into circulation by the U.S. Mint. It was intended to memorialize the legacy of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Obverse
1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Obverse

Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to create and begin minting Kennedy Half Dollars just over one month after President Kennedy’s death.

Production of the first Silver Kennedy Half Dollar coins began in January 1964 at the Denver Mint. Production began a week later at the Philadelphia Mint.

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Reverse
1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Reverse

On March 24, 1964 the coin was released to the general public. There was an enormous public demand at the time of release, driven both by the desire to have a memento of the late president and by speculators who believed the coin would become rare and valuable. Thousands of people stood in line at the Mint to get the first coins. Even though the number of coins that each person could buy was limited, coins were quickly sold out. Many were hoarded upon release, making them less common in circulation.

The mintage of Kennedy halves produced during 1964 was enormous in comparison to previous silver half dollar mintages. Over 277 million coins were minted in Philadelphia for circulation. An additional 156 million coins were minted in Denver. Despite the incredible supply, the coins continued to disappear as fast as they were issued as people began hoarding. 

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Coin Specifications:

  • Diameter: 30.6 mm
  • Thickness: 2.15 mm
  • Metal Composition: 90% Silver (Ag), 10% Copper (Cu)
  • Denomination: 50 cents (half dollar)
  • Gross Weight: 12.5 grams
  • Approximate Silver Weight (ASW): 11.25 grams

Over 433 million 90% Silver 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars were minted for circulation.

Due to its significance and the 90% silver content, many 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars were kept as keepsakes and did not see regular circulation. As a result, high-grade examples are relatively easy to find today.

There are some variations in the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar that are of interest to collectors. One of the most notable is the “accented hair” variety, where Kennedy’s hair shows more detail.

The melt value of one 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar coin is $0

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

Years Minted: 1964
Silver Content: 90% (1964 only)
Silver Weight: 0.3617 troy oz (90%)
Total Mintage: 433 million coins
Current silver melt value: $0