1964 was a genuinely particular year, considering it was the first and only time the Kennedy half dollar was made of 90% silver. However, this coin has such an extraordinary symbolic value, as the coin was minted right after the assassination of President Kennedy.

What is important to know is that apart from the coin’s tribute, the Kennedy half-dollar is also an excellent case study due to its particular design and critical elements.

Now, regarding the value of 1964 half dollars, the highest one applies for coins in perfect condition that are also certified and have never been in circulation. For instance, the 1964 half dollar with no mint mark will be worth around $12, while the 1964 D half a dollar in MS 65 grade can sell for around $45. What is crystal clear is that the selling and buying price can vary a lot. And the price is influenced by multiple factors, and I will tell you about them all today.

That being said, the 1964 Kennedy half dollars have both numismatic and silver bullion values. Keep on reading if you are a passionate collector or want to learn more about the history, types, and rarity of 1964 half dollars. Let’s go!

The History Of 1964 Half Dollars

The History Of 1964 Half Dollars
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I can only imagine that a passionate collector is more than eager to find everything about the history of their favorite art pieces. So let me tell you that the 1964 half dollars have an exciting past, as the United States Mint first produced the Kennedy half dollars shortly after the assassination of the most loved president, John F. Kennedy.

While the nation was grieving after the famous president, Congress thought it was time to eliminate the Franklin half-dollar design for good and order a new coin to commemorate President John F. Kennedy.

Gilroy Roberts was the artist who created Kennedy’s portrait on the obverse, while the heraldic eagle on the reverse was sculpted by Frank Gasparro.

I know that I have already given you a short insight into the composition of the coin, but I really want to highlight the fact the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar was made of 90% silver and 10% copper. On the other hand, the half-dollars made from 1965 through 1970 were 80% silver and 20% copper. The inner core was made of 20.9% silver and almost 80% copper. However, the 1971 coins and beyond have outer layers of copper and nickel (75% and 25%) connected to a pure copper core. These half dollar coins are 30.6 mm in diameter and have a reeded border.

Look at the table below and get an overview of the total number of 1964 half dollars struck back in the day.

Series Mint Location Number of coins
1964 Philadelphia Over 273 million coins
1964 D Denver Over 150 million coins

Why such a vast number of 1964 struck Kennedy halves?

Looking at the numbers above, it’s clear to say that there have been more than 429 million 1964 Kennedy half dollars on the market, struck by Philadelphia and Denver Mints. This is more than impressive and not a coincidence at all.

By comparison, the total number of 1964 half dollars is more than the total sixteen-year mintage of Franklin half dollars. How was this even possible, you may ask?

The answer lies in Congress’s attitude towards the coin shortage crisis in the 1960s. Due to high silver prices, people saved every little coin, whether a dime or a quarter, as an investment. This attitude caused the economy to fall slowly; hence the state’s solution was to change the composition of silver coins and move to copper-nickel sidings over the copper interior.

Slowly but steady, the 1965 Kennedy half dollars made the switch from the solid silver alloy to a mostly copper core of effective 40% silver content. The mint continued to make silver coins. However, silver coins minted in 1965 kept the 1964 date to prevent the previous situation of collecting coins.

As a matter of fact, the 1964 and 1964-D Kennedy silver half dollars were mainly produced for almost two years.

Design Highlights

Design Highlights
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You may wonder why so many collectors talk about and wish to have a 1964 half dollar in their collection. Well, one of the reasons is their design, which constantly changes their value.

For instance, the accented hair variety of the coin’s proof version is something quite unique in this world of collectible coins, and it changed to make Kennedy’s hair more detailed. On top of that, other minor changes were made to the coin’s design that is more difficult to notice without experience in this domain.

Well, the first theory is that Jacqueline Kennedy, the President’s wife, wanted to change the initial design and requested more details on her late husband’s hair.

However, the mints didn’t manage to strike all proof coins with the accented hair. Therefore, only 1-3% of all proof coins have these highlights. If you find them, you should know they are pretty rare and a lot more valuable.

For instance, a proof 1964 half dollar in PR 65 condition might value around $100.

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value
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Before moving to the actual numbers, it is essential to talk about the factors that influence the final value of the 1964 half dollars. All these details greatly impact the final price, from mint marks to the grading system. Let’s understand them better.

Mint Marks

The mint marks refer to the place that has struck the coins. Regarding the Kennedy half dollars, there have been three different mints:

  • Philadelphia mint (in this case, you won’t usually find any mark, or at least a rare P)
  • Denver mint (these coins are marked with a D)
  • San Francisco mint (look for the S on the coins)

The mint mark on 1964 half dollars is located on the reverse side of the coin, on the left, right below the eagle’s claw. Things have changed starting with 1968, and the mint mark was moved on the obverse side of the coin, below Kennedy’s bust and above the date, as you can see in this picture. Between 1965 and 1967, the Kennedy half dollar coins did not carry any mint mark at all.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CeJddWDuyV6/

Grading System

The grading system is the main indicator of the coin’s quality. It tells a lot about the possible flaws the coins may have due to the intense circulation and dictates the price fluctuation. Here is an overview of how the grading system impacts coin auctions. Read more about the main grading methods:

  • MS 60 Uncirculated: this grading indicates there is no sign of wear and exchange. The coin should have that appealing luster; however, collectors might notice few and quite superficial surface marks, like stains or abrasions.
  • MS 63 Choice Uncirculated: there should be some blemishes or little contact marks. The luster might be less prominent.
  • MS 65 Uncirculated: the eye appeal is strong, and the luster is very visible. These coins have light contact marks that are barely noticeable.
  • PR 65 Proof: everyone is looking for a PR 65 coin, as it never has any flaws. Yet, due to passing time, some blemishes might be present.

1964 Half Dollar Value Chart

1964 Half Dollar Value Chart
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Let’s bring together all the information above and simplify it a little bit. Look at the table below and compare the value of 1964 Kennedy half dollars by mint marks and gradings. This is how you will know which types of coins suit your budget.

COIN TYPE⬇\QUALITY➜ Good

 

G-4

Very Good Fine Very Fine Extremely Fine MS-60 MS-65 PR 65
1964 Half Dollar

No mint mark

$9.19 $9.19 $9.19 $9.19 $9.19 $10.54 $17 $19
1964 D Half Dollar $9.24 $9.24 $9.24 $9.24 $9.24 $10.49 $17
1964 Half Dollar

Accented Hair Details

$46

Editor’s Note

It is mandatory to understand that all these values can fluctuate. The buying price is what you expect to pay for purchasing the coin, while the selling value depends only on the dealer.

Usually, like in the table above, the average circulated and uncirculated values are quite constant and public. The prices you saw are the approximate retail values, so do not forget that.

On the contrary, the offer you get from a particular dealer may vary greatly based on the grading system and the condition of the coins. eBay is the perfect marketplace example for the multitude of offers.

Significant 1964-D Kennedy Half Dollar Varieties

There have been nine varieties of 1964-D Kennedy half dollars, including the regular 1964-D. All these variations are recognized by the major coin grading authorities, including four different double die obverse variations and repunched mintmarks.

Some of these coins have almost unbearable differences from the usually circulated 1964-D Kennedy halves in circulated condition. This chart contains all the major varieties of 1964-D Kennedy halves and their value in MS-63 uncirculated condition.

Type Of 1964-D Kennedy Half Dollar XF45 MS63
1964-D DDO FS-104 n/a $225
1964-D/D FS-502 n/a $115
1964-D QDO n/a $85
1964-D DDO FS-106 n/a $85
1964-D/D $19 $80
1964-D DDO n/a $60
1964-D TDO $18 $55

Good to know!

An MS60 DD, in good shape, is worth $35, while in uncirculated MS 60 can go up to $60. On top of that, an MS 63 half dollar can be worth $125, while an MS 64 will sell for even $250. Furthermore, the most fortunate collectors can get up to $400 for a rare MS65 1964 DD Kennedy half dollar.

The Kennedy Half Dollar Proof Values

The Kennedy Half Dollar Proof Values
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Now, here is one of the most interesting parts of today’s discussion. According to numismatics, there are two versions of proof coins that have been included in the 1964 silver proof set, including varieties of hair accents.

The ones with stronger and more detailed elements are thought to be the first struck coins. On the opposite, those with regular hair were produced later. As you’ve previously read, Jacqueline Kennedy asked the mint to soften the hairlines, as she thought the too sharp edges would only toughen the president’s portrait. I don’t want you to think that I repeat myself, but this is a very important part of knowing how to recognize the value of the coin you own. Numismatics really do care about this topic, so you should too.

Anyway, these two varieties of coins are valued a bit differently from the previous types, based on the number of details and contrasts in the coin’s design. There are two different types of contrast:

  • Cameo contrast: which is barely recognizable;
  • Deep Cameo: represented by a strong contrast between the design and the fields.

In terms of value, do not expect to pay too much for the Cameo coins. These are the most common ones and worth only $14 in good condition, while proof 67 can go up to $150.

Conversely, the deep Cameo coins are worth more in each grade, starting with $100 in PF66 and running up to $200 in PF67.

Expect a deep Cameo in PF69 to value almost $300, but only when it is graded by PCGS.

1964 Half Dollar Errors

1964 Half Dollar Errors
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No coins series would be memorable and complete without some die varieties and mint errors. This is the particularity that makes these collection coins even more valuable. If you are a professional collector, you may already know some of these varieties.

However, if you are new in this domain, you should get to know all of the following errors and varieties, as they might carry a premium price. Here are the main 1964 half-dollar errors:

1964 Proof Heavily Accented Hair

The Kennedy’s hair on these coins is more pronounced. Also, look closely at the “I” in LIBERTY, and you will observe how the left serif looks like it is missing.

Double Die 1964 Proof and Circulation Strike

The easiest way to tell there is an error is by looking at the WE TRUST words. You may see the slight doubling right on top of these letters. Sometimes, this particularity is more evident in the RTY letters.

Some 1964-D coins that have been minted in Denver may also have some double dies. However, it is mandatory not to confuse the double die errors with the double struck.

The double die variety should have both sets of letters, while the double struck has letters that appear smooshed. Learn more about the double-die 1964 half dollars from this compelling video.

Double Die Obverse

This error is part of the particular varieties of circulated 1964 Kennedy half dollars. On this particular coin, the doubling is prominent, mainly on the motto “In God We Trust.”

FAQ

Let’s see what questions regarding today’s topic keep people up at night.

Q: What’s the mystery of SMS 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars?

What's the mystery of SMS 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars
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A: The rarest of them all is the “SMS” 1964 Kennedy half dollar. However, nobody knows where it was made. The particularity of SMS 1964 is the very sharp strike and the satin finish. You may notice some die polishing lines; however, there will be no marks, an indicator for.

There are die polishing lines on the fields, but no contact marks at all, indicating that they were carefully made one at a time. Unlike the proof Kennedy half dollars, the SMS coins won’t have the original hair with many accents, but they use the earliest type of reverse die.

There are very few SMS 1964 Kennedy dollars on the market. NGC has certified only six of them, while PCGS counts twelve. Due to their rarity, the 1964 SMS Kennedy half dollar auction record went to $156,000 in 2019.

What is even more curious is that other 1964 coin denominations had the same features; therefore, some people speculate that they were all part of an experimental coin set made by the Philadelphia Mint in 1964.

Q: Why are the 1964 Kennedy half dollars so valuable?

A: The 1964 half dollars are still a desired piece of collection among enthusiasts, primarily due to the silver content. Silver coins are by far more valuable than other metals. Additionally, they have sentimental value and honor a critical event in the USA’s history.

Q: How can you tell a half dollar is made of silver?

A: The easiest way to tell a half dollar is silver is by its edges. If you notice a solid silver stripe, it’s undoubtedly made of silver. Conversely, if you see a copper stripe, the coin is clad.

Q: What years of Kennedy half-dollars are the most worthy?

A: The most worthy Kennedy half-dollars are those minted in 1970 and the coins with the Denver Mint mark (D). These varieties can be worth even more than $100. So, generally speaking, 1970 is the year of the most precious Kennedy half-dollars.

Last Thoughts

1964 half dollars are a worthy piece of the collection, not only due to their sentimental value but also for the market variations regarding their selling and buying price.

Please be aware that the values we have discussed today represent an average price that can vary due to demand laws, dealer preferences, and online auction factors.

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