The value of the 1776 to 1976 half dollars depends on the coin’s condition, quality, and rarity. So, if a 1776 to 1976 half-dollar is in good condition without heavy scratches or damages, blemishes, or imperfections, and on top of that is quite rare, you have a winner! A 1776 to 1976 half-dollar with these characteristics is considered valuable and collectible.
According to the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) price guide, as of May 2023, the value of a 1776 to 1976-S half dollar, in circulated condition, is from $3.25 to $3.65, while 1776 to 1976-S uncirculated silver version in perfect condition may reach a price of $220 on the open market. However, the record value of a 1776 to 1976 half dollar (1976-S 50C Silver MS69 NGC) was $9,600 on HA in 2022. The regular 1776-1976 half dollars are produced out of a clad structure containing copper and nickel. The ones with a higher value are minted as silver-clad, and silver-clad proof half dollars.
Because there are plenty of variations in the value of the 1776 to 1976 half dollars, also known as the Kennedy half dollars, we have conducted thorough research to provide as much information as possible. Read on to find out how valuable are 1776 to 1976 half dollars.
History and Mintage of 1776 to 1976 Half Dollar
1776 to 1976 half dollar (Kennedy half-dollar) is a part of the U.S. bicentennial coinage (a collection of circulating commemorative coins) bearing a dual date 1776 and 1976 on the obverse.
After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it was considered to portray his face on a United States coin in his memory. The Congress made a decision, to portray Kennedy on the half dollar, as a substitution for the Franklin coin. Even though it was not allowed to change a coin until its 25-year mark, (the Franklin coin had been around for 15 years at the time) Congress was determined to make the change, and the Kennedy half dollar was born.
After a little over a decade, it was proclaimed that commemorative coins including the Kennedy half dollar would be minted for the 1976 United States Bicentennial (the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence). United States Mints announced a design competition for the reverse of the half dollar and later on, 12 semi-finalists were declared. Seth G. Huntington had the honor to design the Kennedy half-dollar reverse and his idea was to illustrate the Independence Hall.
The 1776 to 1976 Kennedy half dollars (Bicentennial design) were minted in 1975-1976 (put into circulation during the year of the Bicentennial) in the following U.S. Mints:
- 234,308,000 samples of the 1776 to 1976 half-dollar were minted in the Philadelphia Mint;
- 287,565,248 samples of the 1776 to 1976 half-dollar carrying the D mintmark were minted in the Denver Mint;
- 7,059,099 samples of 1776 to 1976-S proof half-dollar were minted in the San Francisco Mint;
- 11,000,000 samples of the 1776 to 1976-S silver half-dollar were minted in the San Francisco Mint;
- 4,000,000 samples of 1776 to 1976-S silver-proof half-dollar were minted in the San Francisco Mint;
Impressive numbers, don’t you think? So, don’t act surprised if you see a 1776 to 1976 half dollar in your change because over 500 million of these coins were produced from 1975 to 1976.
1776 to 1976 Half Dollar Features
- Category: Kennedy Half Dollars (1964-Date)
- Mints: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco
- Obverse Designer: Gilroy Roberts
- Reverse designer: Seth G. Huntington
- Composition: Copper-nickel and clad-copper (Philadelphia and Denver), silver (San Francisco)
- Weight: 11.34 grams (Philadelphia and Denver), 11.5 grams (San Francisco)
- Melt Value: $3.46 (5/27/2023)
- Diameter: 30.6mm
- Edge: Reeded
If you take a closer look you will find the following writings on each side of the 1776 to 1976 commemorative coin:
- The letters that spell “LIBERTY” around the front (obverse) rim. Below Kennedy’s head, right at the neck are the phrases “IN GOD” and “WE TRUST.” On the very bottom of the coin, the designer placed the dual dates “1776-1976.”
- At the center of the back (reverse) of the coin, the designer portrayed the Independence Hall. On the left side of the hall it is written “200 Years of Freedom,” and on the right, the American slogan “E pluribus unum.” Around the reverse rim, at the top, it is written “United States of America”, and at the bottom “Half Dollar.”
The United States Mints produced the 1776 to 1976 half-dollar from different materials like copper, nickel, clad, and silver, with or without mintmark. You should be able to make a difference between the following coin types:
- The 1776 to 1976 half-dollar without mintmark;
- The 1776 to 1976-D half-dollar with D mintmark;
- The 1776 to 1976-S proof half-dollar with S mintmark;
- The 1776 to 1976-S silver half-dollar with S mintmark;
- The 1776 to 1976-S silver proof half-dollar with S mintmark.
You can notice the S and D mintmark on the front (obverse) side of the coin above the date. If you check out Silver Recyclers data, the usual price of the regular 1776 to 1976 clad half-dollar, in circulated condition, is only worth $0.50 as its face value. The 1776 to 1976 half dollars in premium and uncirculated condition are worth more. The 1776 to 1976 half-dollar with no mint mark, as well as the 1776 to 1976-D half-dollar price, is about $3 in uncirculated condition with a grade of MS63. If a 1776 to 1976 S proof half dollar is graded PR65 the price is around $4.
The 1776 to 1976 silver clad half dollars as other silver coins are worth at least its weight in silver. The current silver melt value is $3.45 calculated from the present silver spot price of $23.33 per ounce. If these coins are in uncirculated MS63 condition they are worth around $8. These are just the initial prices of the different types of the 1776 to 1976 half dollars (Bicentennial design).
Ways to Determine the 1776 to 1976 Half Dollar Value
To best way to determine the value of your 1776 to 1976 half dollar is to understand the grading system and the differences between the coins. We will address the basics of coin grading, and then continue with the coin categories:
1. 1776 to 1976 Half Dollar Grading
The purpose of grading is to establish the physical condition of the coin. The lowest grade is poor (the coin is almost entirely worn out) and the highest grade is perfect, uncirculated (the coin has no wear and no blemishes). You can find over 99.9% of all coins somewhere between the lowest and highest grade. If you have stored your 1776 to 1976 half-dollar properly from the date of mintage, then you can call yourself a proud owner of an uncirculated coin, or a coin in mint state. If your 1776 to 1976 half-dollar went into circulation for a while but still looks great or almost like new, then you have in your possession an about-uncirculated coin. Below uncirculated, and almost uncirculated the grades are descending in the following order:
- Extremely fine condition;
- Very fine condition;
- Fine condition;
- Very good condition;
- Good condition;
- About good condition;
- Fair condition;
- Poor condition.
The 1776 to 1976, uncirculated half dollars, have different grades as well, depending on how delicately they were made, managed, and kept. Some uncirculated 1776 to 1976 half dollars have substantial marks as a result of contact with other coins during production or packing. The bottom line is that the best preserved 1776 to 1976 half dollars will almost always have the utmost value.
2. 1776 to 1976 Half Dollar Categories
Another way to determine the value of your 1776 to 1976 half dollar is to understand the difference between bullion, proof, uncirculated, and circulated coins. Here’s what you should know before you start assessing the value of your coin:
- Bullion coins are made out of precious metals for collectors of precious metals and investors. Therefore, their value depends on their weight and the current trade price of the precious metal in question. That means that the price varies due to the fluctuating daily price of precious metals. The 1776 to 1976 half-dollar coins that fall under this category can’t be bought through the United States Mint, but through different coin dealers;
- Proof 1776 to 1976 half-dollar coins are the ones with the finest quality minted in the United States Mints. The word “proof” signifies the coin’s finish and glamorous shine. The blanks used for proof coins are individually treated, hand-polished, and cleansed to ensure high-quality strikes. Proof coins are struck at least twice, carefully packaged in a protective capsule, and come with an official Certificate of Authenticity;
- Uncirculated 1776 to 1976 half-dollar coins are made like their circulated counterparts in a unique process. First, the specially burnished blanks are hand-loaded into the coining press and have a brilliantly soft, matt-like finish. Like proof coins the uncirculated coins come with an official Certificate of Authenticity;
- The 1776 to 1976 circulated half-dollar coins are minted for everyday use or circulation. The ones sold directly by the United States Mint are never distributed to the Federal Reserve Bank. The circulated version of any coin including the 1776 to 1976 half dollar is usually presented by the Mint in rolls, bags, or boxes, and does not contain a Certificate of Authenticity.
Professional grading services like the PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) and the NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Company) offer their grading services to their members. To become a PCGS member you need to pay at least the lowest membership fee of $69 and for the NGC at least $25. Both use the Sheldon grading scale from 1 to 70 (poor to premium condition).
If your 1776 to 1976 half dollar is in mint state it should be graded between MS60 and MS70 while if it is in AU (About Uncirculated) condition it should be graded through four ratings (AU50, AU53, AU55, and AU58). 1776 to 1976 proof half dollars are categorized as PF60 to PF70, and proof coins in mint state, usually reach the highest prices.
Errors Affecting the Value of 1776 to 1976 Half Dollar
Errors also affect the value of 1776 to 1976 half dollars. Interestingly, these coins have many mint errors probably because of the sheer quantity of the coins’ mintage. Be on the lookout for the following errors that raise the coin’s value:
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar lamination error when the surface of a coin starts to chip and crack. Generally, that happens when the alloy is spoiled and starts to split. This error can be seen in a 1776 to 1976 S silver half-dollar proof;
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar double die obverse (DDO) error seen on the word “Trust”;
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar double die reverse (DDR) error noticed on the slogan “E Pluribus Unum”;
- 1776 to 1976 half-dollar die adjustment error when the coin looks smeared because of insufficient die pressure;
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar double struck error when the second die on the coin is 5% off-center;
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar full brockage error when the front (obverse) and the back (reverse) have the same mirrored image (ex. the coin’s obverse side has Kennedy facing right instead of left and the letters are inverted);
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar broad strike error when the coin is struck over the rim;
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar double denomination error when the coin is minted on a wrong size planchet;
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar curved clip error when a punch die strikes a planchet that was already punched into shape giving the coin a bowl-shaped clip on one or more sides;
- 1776 to 1976 half dollar 20% clip error when part of the coin got cut off during the minting process;
- 1776 to 1976 half-dollar missing clad error when during mintage someone forgot to add the upper silver layer on the front (obverse) side of the coin;
- 1776 to 1976 half-dollar strikethrough date error when something covered and smeared the date during mintage.
As you can see there are many errors that if noticed can raise the value of the 1776 to 1976 half dollar. Be careful, and pay attention if you want to find some of these errors on the bicentennial coin in your possession.
1776 to 1976 Half Dollars Auction Record Value
According to the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) auction prices, the different types of 1776 to 1976 half dollars (clad, silver, no mintmark, mintmark) have reached the following auction record value:
|1776 to 1976 half dollars
Clad, Bi-Centennial Reverse, MS
|1976 (1975) Clad MS||$125|
|1976 Clad MS||$3,105|
|1976-D Clad MS||$2,200|
|1976-D (1975) Clad MS||$22|
|1776 to 1976 half dollars
Silver, Bi-Centennial Reverse, MS
|1976-S Silver MS||$9,600|
|1776 to 1976 half dollars
Clad, Bi-Centennial Reverse, PR
|1976-S (1975) Clad PR||$1,199|
|1976-S Clad PR||$5,175|
|1776 to 1976 half dollars
Silver, Bi-Centennial Reverse, PR
|1976-S Silver PR||$4,370|
Other Most Valuable 1776 to 1976 Half Dollars
Besides the 1776 to 1976 half-dollar auction record value here are some other valuable 1776 to 1976 half-dollars sold on different auctions and occasions:
|MS69||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2022 August 22-28 U.S. Coins Signature Auction #1348||August 2022||$9,600|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2003 September Long Beach Signature Sale #330||September 2003||$4,370|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2006 April (CSNS) Signature Auction #404||April 2006||$4,313|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2008 October Dallas, TX Signature US Coin Auction #1117||October 2008||$3,738|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2009 January Orlando, FL FUN Auction #1121||January 2009||$3,450|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||FUN US Coins Signature Auction – Orlando #1216||January 2015||$3,290|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||FUN US Coins Signature Auction – Orlando #1216||June 2015||$3,290|
|MS64||NGC||Heritage Auctions||Long Beach-Signature #349||June 2004||$3,105|
|MS66||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2004 September Long Beach Signature Sale #355||September 2004||$3,105|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2014 September 4-6 Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Signature Auction||September 2014||$3,055|
|PR70||PCGS||Great Collections||GreatCollections Coin Auctions 02/19/2012||February 2012||$2,640|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||Summer Fun US Coins Signature Auction Orlando #1222||July 2015||$2,585|
|MS62||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2014 February 27 – 28 & March 2 ANA National Money Show US Coins Signature Auction – Atlanta #1203||February 2014||$2,350|
|MS63||PCGS||David Lawrence RC||Internet Auction # 88||May 2006||$2,185|
|PR70||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2012 April 18-22 US Coins & Platinum Night CSNS Signature Auction- Schaumburg #1169||April 2012||$1,955|
For a wider range of prices and opportunities to see the value of the 1776 to 1976 half dollar check the PCGS price guide.
The value of the 1776 to 1976 half-dollar varies and doesn’t depend solely on one factor but on many different factors. Hopefully, the data in this article will enable you to get as closer as possible to determine the value of your 1776 to 1976 half dollar. The key is to consider the coin’s history, mintage, errors, grading, categories, and auction prices before making any conclusions regarding its value. Or, leave it to the pros and contact professional grading companies to grade the coin in your possession for a small fee. Whatever you decide, use every available information to your benefit.