Possibly one of the most well-known and beloved coins for one of the most popular US presidents––John F. Kennedy––the Kennedy Half Dollar is saved by many collectors and non-collectors alike.
Although it is rare to find this coin in circulation today, Kennedy Half Dollars are still produced.
After congress authorized the creation of a new Half Dollar design to commemorate John F. Kennedy, US Mint sculptors Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro were chosen to complete the task. The resulting design was simple and focused on honoring Kennedy and the nation he served. Production of the Kennedy Half Dollar would begin in 1964 and is still in production today.
On the obverse of the coin is a bust of John F. Kennedy facing left. The words “IN GOD WE TRUST” are split at the bottom of Kennedy’s neck and the motto “LIBERTY” is aligned along the top of the coin. The date of mintage can be found centered at the very bottom of the obverse.
An American bald eagle with its wings spread is centered and has the president’s coat of arms on its chest. A bundle of arrows and an olive branch are in the eagle’s talons. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is centered at the top of the coin while “HALF DOLLAR” is centered at the bottom.
History of the 1967 Kennedy Half Dollar
As a modern coin, the Kennedy Half Dollar in general has had very large mintages compared to earlier Half Dollars. With the hundreds of millions of minted Kennedy Half Dollars, many are still in circulation today.
The Mint at Philadelphia reports minting 295,46,000 examples of the 1967 Kennedy Half Dollar. Most of these examples are either still in circulation or have been melted for their small silver value.
Kennedy Half Dollars from 1965–1970 were made with 60% copper and 40% silver. This combination lead to a total weight of 11.50 grams and a diameter of 30.6 millimeters. The edges of the coin are reeded.
Disappearance of the Kennedy Half Dollar
Although still minted today, the Kennedy Half Dollar has almost completely disappeared from everyday circulation. The reason for the disappearance can be attributed to two main causes: a cashless society and less of a need for the denomination.
As the United States moved away from hard cash transactions and toward reliance on a credit system, many large-denomination coins began to be used less and less. Half Dollars were not used as commonly as smaller coins and felt a larger hit as more people used credit to make even small purchases.
No longer needing a half-dollar coin denomination can be attributed to one main thing: inflation.
When the Kennedy Half Dollar was first made, half dollars were still able to buy a significant number of goods. This meant that carrying a Kennedy Half Dollar was not uncommon as it was able to buy lunch or some other small but necessary good. Today, inflation has made the half dollar irrelevant as it can buy almost nothing on its own.
So, given these reasons, why does the Mint still produce Kennedy Half Dollars?
Kennedy Half Dollars are still made almost solely for collectors and are included in mint and proof sets. Almost no new Kennedy Half Dollars are minted to be used in circulation.
A huge number of Kennedy Half Dollars are still sitting in treasury and bank vaults but will probably never be used in circulation. Unless the government decides to remove the Kennedy Half Dollar from circulation, they will continue to sit in those vaults.
Pricing the 1967 Kennedy Half Dollar
Determining the value of the 1967 Kennedy Half Dollar is relatively easy because of the number that was produced. The massive number of coins that were produced and the fact that examples can still be found in circulation has made every circulated example only worth its value in silver. The silver value at the time of this writing is $2.50.
Higher grade examples are still priced very low as many surviving examples are still in uncirculated condition. At MS-63, the price makes it above silver value at $7. A price increase to $60 is seen with MS-65 varieties.
However, grades higher than MS-65 have been recorded being sold at much higher prices. An MS-67 example sold at auction in 2017 for just under $1,300. Very few examples are above MS-65 and most will fall near MS-60.