Did you know that only two months after Kennedy’s assassination the first Kennedy Half Dollars were struck at the mint? The government decided to mint a silver coin with his image to commemorate him.
However, since there were already too many different types of coins already in circulation, they decided to replace an existing design with a new one. Kennedy’s half-dollar coin replaced the Franklin half-dollar coin.
In typical circulated condition, a 1964 Kennedy half dollar is worth its silver melt value of around $6.50 (as of 2023).
In mint state (MS60-MS65) condition, the coin may carry a moderate premium of $7-$15 or more depending on grade.
In certified proof condition (PR65-PR69), the coin can be worth anywhere from $30 up to $300+ depending on grade.
Rare proof varieties like the 1964 Accented Hair and SMS coins in PR68-PR69 condition can be worth many thousands of dollars (Rarest Sold For $108,000).
So in summary, circulated examples trade for silver melt value. But mint state and certified proof examples, especially rare varieties, carry significant collectible premiums over face value. Condition and grade are the main factors that determine 1964 half dollar value for collectors.
Naturally, every commemorative coin immediately gains a significant value however, that value varies from coin to coin. The Kennedy half-dollar was minted from 1964 until 2015, but the first series is the most valuable one. In this article we will talk about the 1964 half-dollar value and some interesting facts so, get cozy and read on.
Let’s Talk About Some Facts
During the early 1960s America experienced a coin shortage, which may sound strange but it was a real problem at that time. The main reason why this happened is that silver prices were raising significantly so people hoarded every coin that they get. To balance things out mints in Philadelphia and Denver minted more than 429 million 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coins!
However, since the prices of silver were high, the government decided to change the composition of coins to save up some money. In 1965 the composition of silver coins was changed to a copper-nickel cladding paired with a copper core. In the case of Kennedy half dollar, the composition changed from 90% silver alloy to a mostly silver cladding over a mostly copper core reducing the silver content to 40%.
This means that 1964 and 1964-D Kennedy silver half dollars are the only coins that are minted with 90% silver content.
What are the main features of this coin?
Every coin has its own set of unique features so let’s see what makes the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coin different from others. Considering that this is a commemorative coin, the manufacturers wanted to create a most beautiful coin that would picture how popular and loved the late president was.
The obverse side of the coin features the image of President John F. Kennedy. His head is facing to the left with a slight smile. Engravers used the Presidential Medal for this design of the president’s profile. Above his head, you’ll see the inscribed word LIBERTY, and just right before the base of the president’s profile, are the words IN GOD WE TRUST. Also, the year of the issue is engraved on the bottom of the coin.
The design of the reverse side of the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coin was inspired by JFK’s presidential seal. You can see the heraldic eagle with wings spread out and a shield on its chest and carrying a scroll in his beak that flies above its head. The inscribed words on the scroll are E PLURIBUS UNUM.
In its left leg, the eagle holds 13 arrows and an olive branch in its right leg. A detail that almost every USA coin has is the ring of 50 stars, which in this case surround the eagle and represent all 50 states.
Some other features you can notice are the mint marks. To be more precise the coins that were produced in Denver will have the letter D engraved on the left side of the olive branch, while coins minted in Philadelphia bear no mint mark. Only coins minted in 1964 were produced with 90% silver content!
Are there different varieties of the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coin?
At the beginning of the production of the Kennedy half dollar, there were a lot of many different types of error coins. To be more precise there were approximately nine different varieties of the 1964-D Kennedy half dollar besides the regular 1964D. These error coins include:
- Repunched mintmark
- Double Die Obverse FS-104 – First strike coins (FS) are the coins that grading services receive in the first thirty days of the release. This error with an FS-104 grading is in mint state (MS) 63 and its value is at least $225.
- Double Die FS-502 – This die error can be seen around the mint mark D. The mint mark was re-punched north of the original place. It also features visible traces of two extra impressions below the two visible ones.
- Quadruple die obverse FS-105 – This is one of the most important error coins of the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coin. It is visible on the U letter in the word TRUST (IN GOD WE TRUST). Also, it can be noticed on the right side of the number 4 on the coin’s year of issue.
- Double die obverse FS-106 – The doubling is seen on the lettering IN GOD WE TRUST. This error coin is worth around $85.
- Double Die (D/D) – The double die mint error coin is graded as one of the greatest American modern coins. The die error can be noticed on the reverse side on the mint mark D, which was re-punched north of the original place. The cost of this coin is at least $100.
- Double Die Obverse (DD0) – The 1964-D double die obverse is a scarce error. There are only a few of these coins identified. This eros is shown in a doubling of the words “In God, We Trust” and it is easily visible to the naked eye.
- Triple Die Obverse – In this triple die obverse variety, you’ll notice a tripling of the words IN GOD WE TRUST and the year of issue. This coin is rare and the price goes from $55 and above.
There are also several examples of error coins that are so indistinguishable from regularly circulated 1964D Kennedy coins in a worn condition that they aren’t graded at all.
What about the 1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollars?
There was around 4 million proof Kennedy half dollars minted in 1964 for the purpose of collecting and most of them are held by numismatists. You can easily find and buy the mint state 1964 proof Kennedy coins for your collection.
You should know that the most popular variety is the Accented Hair 1964 proof Kennedy half-dollar coin. It is not known how many of these were struck but soon this design was canceled since Kennedy’s wife didn’t like the hair Kennedy’s widow thought the hair too much. This is the reason why this variety achieves such high prices on the market nowadays.
The rare 1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollar
If you are serious about collecting coins then you need to know what are the rarest varieties no matter the type of the coin. When we talk about the rare 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coin there is one variety that is the most attractive and desirable one. The “SMS” Kennedy half-dollar coin.
The mystery behind this coin is that no one knows when this coin was struck and in how many examples. You’ll recognize them by their design, they have a very sharp strike and a satin finish with die-polishing lines on the fields. However, there are no contact marks at all, which means they were minted with the utmost care, one at a time.
These SMS coins do not use the original Accented Hair design, moreover, they feature an early version of the reverse dies design. Until today there are only a few examples of these coins certified by NGC and PCGS.
Table Of The Most Valuable 1964 Half-Dollar Coins
The most valuable 1964 Kennedy half dollars are rare proof and mint error varieties:
- 1964 SMS (Special Mint Set) – These special prooflike coins have sold for over $100,000 in SP67 grades.
- 1964 Accented Hair proof – Displaying an early hair design, these can sell for $10,000-$45,000 in PR68-69 condition.
- Early die stage proofs – Examples with doubled die obverses can trade for $50-$225.
- Wrong planchet errors – 1964 halves struck on dimes or quarters have realized $3,000-$8,100 in AU/BU grades.
- Other errors – Capped dies, double strikes, off-centers, etc also carry large premiums.
More common business strike 1964 halves in MS65 grade sell for around $50-60. Regular proof examples in PR68-69 go for $275-$325. So proper attribution and certification is key to unlocking premium value.
How To Identify A Valuable 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Coin?
Naturally, for this, you must have some basic knowledge about the history and the design of this coin. As I already mentioned there are a few different designs of this coin, and each represents a different era, so pay attention to the following:
- Mint mark and date – The minting date is very important since this way you’ll know how valuable your coin is. For example, if your coin is dated 1965 and above your coin is less valuable considering the change of design and the meta composition of the planchet. Also, coins that are labeled with mint mark D are more valuable considering this mint in Denver produced a lot of different error coins at the beginning of production.
- Condition of the coin – The current state of the coin is vital when assessing the potential value. No matter how rare the coin is, if it is damaged its value will go down. Never clean your coin on your own since you can greatly damage the surface unintentionally!
- Material composition – Remember all coins before 1965 are made with higher silver content (90%), naturally they are much more valuable than the ones produced after. If your coin is labeled with 1964 as the year of issuing and it has a lower content of silver it is a fake coin.
Where Can You Buy Or Sell 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollar Coin?
If you are a coin enthusiast finding a rare and unique coin is a big reward. However, finding a rare unique error coin is similar to hitting a lottery, considering that some error coins are worth millions of dollars. No matter which type of coins we talk about, looking for special varieties and error coins is what you should focus on.
We already mentioned how many coin collectors spend their whole collecting career hunting error coins. It is exciting, and it provides a great adrenalin rush, and looking for a unique 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coin is no exception.
When it comes to buying and selling valuable collectibles such as coins it is crucial to find a reliable dealer. The best option is always a reliable auction house or reputable coin web pages such as Heritage Auctions, PCGS, Coins For Sale, or Littleton Coin Company.
Also, you can always explore places like eBay, Etsy, and LiveAuctioneers and investigate the market and price ranges. However, we don’t recommend buying coins here, at least not some that are very valuable, considering the chances of being scammed are high. Look for a proven seller if you decide to look for the coin on online platforms, and always consult with your mentor or specialist.
How can you tell if your 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coin is rare?
In general, the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coins are common. There are around 277 million of these coins in circulation. That said, you are aware of how hard it is to find the ones that are truly unique and valuable.
Luckily there are a few rare 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coins with errors that we mentioned in this article you should look for. Also, look for the SMS (Special Mint Set) coins with a brilliant strike and satin finish. Remember the rarest 1964 Kennedy half is the SMS half-dollar that is worth above $150,000 so make sure you take a good look next time you come across this coin.
How can you recognize the rare 1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollar?
A 1964 Special Mint Set half-dollar coin is a rare coin and we know only a few examples that are sold or traded. However, we do not know how many of them are minted so there is a chance to find one.
These coins feature a very sharp strike and satin finish. While the fields have die polishing lines, but no contact mark. Also, don’t forget that the SMS coins do not use accented hair dies.
What is the grading system for this coin?
The grading system mark is what will help you determine the value of your coin. However, it is only helpful to you if you know what it means. The grading system is uniform however not all coins wear the same grading marks. These are the grades you should look for:
- MS 60 uncirculated – These coins usually don’t have any signs of wear. There are some signs that can be tolerated such as a few stains, abrasions, or surface marks.
- MS 63 choice uncirculated – There are some blemishes or contact marks and the luster might not be as prominent.
- MS 65 gem uncirculated – These coins have strong luster, and a few light contact marks but they are not so easily visible.
- PR 65 proof – Coins with no flaws only a few blemishes.
Shall We Wrap It Up?
Do you own one or several 1964 Kennedy half-dollar coins? If you do you are a lucky person. You might be wondering if should you or not sell your coin. The truth is that the 1964 Kennedy halves have sentimental value so many people tend to keep them in their collections. Also, there is always a possibility that the price will go even higher so the decision is all yours.
In this article, we talked about the average value and the rare error types you should look for when you are hunting for a collector’s piece. Hopefully, it will make your search easier. In case you have some information that we didn’t state here, please share them with us in the comment section.