1968 is hailed as a “Year of Turmoil and Change” by the U.S. national archives. The year was certainly one of great importance in American history, between the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..
It was also an important year for American coinage, as it saw the introduction of the first copper-nickel clad coins. The half dollar was no exception, with its composition changing from 90% silver and 10% copper to 40% silver and 60% copper.
These half dollars are part of the Kennedy Half Dollars 1964 to Date series. The series began in 1964 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
The 1968 half dollar was designed by Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro, and was minted in Denver, with a mintage of 246,951,930.
The 1968 half dollar has diameter of 30.61 mm and a mass of 11.34 grams. The obverse design features a portrait of President Kennedy, while the reverse design features the Presidential Seal. The eagle on the Presidential Seal is clutching an olive branch and a bundle of arrows in its talons. These represent the two sides of American foreign policy: peace (the olive branch) and war (the arrows). War, paradoxically, is necessary to preserve peace. As the latins used to say, “si vis pace para bellum”, which means “if you want peace, prepare for war.”
The 1968 half dollar is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful coins ever minted. The Kennedy Half Dollar series is also one of the most popular coin series among collectors.
In this article, we will take a look at the 1968 half dollar, its value, and what makes it such an important coin.
The History of the 1968 Half Dollar
The Kennedy Half Dollar series was created in 1964, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Kennedy had been a popular president, and his death left many Americans grieving. The US Mint decided to create a series of coins in his honor, and the Kennedy Half Dollar was the first coin in the series.
There are 2 types of 1968 half dollar: regular strike and proof. The regular strike half dollars were minted for circulation, while the proof coins were minted for collectors.
The design of the Kennedy Half Dollar changed in 1968, when the composition of the coin changed from 90% silver and 10% copper to 40% silver and 60% copper. This change was prompted by the Coinage Act of 1965, which sought to reduce the cost of producing coins by changing the metal composition of some coins.
The Coinage Act of 1965 was passed by the United States Congress on July 23, 1965. act sought to reduce the cost of producing coins by changing the metal composition of some coins The act authorized the production of copper-nickel clad coins, which would replace the 90% silver and 10% copper coins that had been in circulation since the 1930s.
This change was motivated by the rising price of silver, which was causing the government to lose money on the production of coins. The Coinage Act of 1965 was a major overhaul of U.S. coinage, and it resulted in a number of changes to American currency.
The Value of a 1968 Half Dollar
Before getting into values of the 1968 half dollar, we have to understand a bit about coin value in general. Coin values are determined by a number of factors, including the condition of the coin, the rarity of the coin, and the demand for the coin.
The 1968 half dollar is a relatively common coin, with over 240 million coins minted. This makes the coin not that valuable, even when in perfect conditions. To put things in perspective, the highest recent sale was of $4,920, which is quite low for a coin with such an important place in American history.
The vast majority of these coins were circulated, which means they show wear and tear from being used. Circulated coins are worth less than uncirculated coins, which have not been used and thus retain their original condition.
Speaking of uncirculated coins, there are many different grades that determine how much a coin is worth. The higher the grade, the more valuable the coin. The 1968 half dollar can be found in a variety of grades, from Poor (P) to Mint State 70 (MS70).
A coin in Poor condition would show heavy wear, and it would be difficult to make out any of the details on the coin. A coin in Mint State 70 condition, on the other hand, would be perfect. It would have no wear, and all of the details on the coin would be visible.
For example, a recent auction (June 2021) of a P-2 1968-D Kennedy Half Dollar sold for $70. As you can see from the picture, it’s quite battered, with Kennedy’s head barely visible.
On the other hand, an MS-67+ 1968-D Kennedy Half Dollar (seen below) sold for almost $5,000 just 6 months later. The coin is in much better condition, and all of the details are visible.
As you can see, there is a big difference in value between circulated and uncirculated 1968 half dollars. Even within the uncirculated category, there is a wide range in value, depending on the grade of the coin. For example, an MS-60 (also known as “Choice Uncirculated”) 1968 half dollar is worth about $30, while an MS-70 (also known as “Perfect Uncirculated”) 1968 half dollar can be worth thousands of dollars.
Here’s a video detailing how to evaluate a 1968 half dollar coin:
And if you want to know more about the PCGS grading scale, here is a chart showcasing every value.
If all you care about is prices, here is a table with recent auction prices, so you can have a better idea of how much a 1968 half dollar is worth:
|Quality||1968-D (Regular strike)||1968-S (Proof)|
|From PO-1 to G-4||Only 1 sale of an FR-2 coin for $70 at Stack’s Bowsers||No recent sales|
|From G-6 to VG-10||No recent sales||No recent sales|
|From F-12 to VF-20||No recent sales||No recent sales|
|From VF-25 to XF-40||No recent sales||No recent sales|
|From XF-45 to AU-58||No recent sales||No recent sales|
|MS/PR60||No recent sales||No recent sales|
|MS/PR-61||No recent sales||No recent sales|
|MS/PR-62||One went for $11, another one went for $28, and the last one went for…$1035
|No recent sales|
|MS/PR-63||Only one sold in 2009 for $37. There was another one sold in 2004 at Auction House, but it was NGC graded, not PCGS. It went for $22.||Only 2 recent sales: one for $7 and one for $495|
|MS/PR-64||Between $9 and $24||Only 2 recent sales: one for $59 and one for $960|
|MS/PR-65||A few went for around $10 (1 and 2), others went for $50, $80, and one even went for over $3,000||Around $12-$13 (1 and 2), but some go for much more, like this $165 piece|
|MS/PR-66||Anywhere from $21 to $264. 66+ graded coins go for a price between $114 and $129||Between $10 and $20|
|MS/PR-67||Between $288 and $630. There was one sale of a 67+ graded coin for $4,920||Between $10 and $74, with one going for $336|
|MS/PR-68||No recent sales||One went for as little as $7. Most go for around $15-$20 (1 and 2). One went for $153.
However, a PR68DCAM (which stands for deep cameo) can go for a few thousand dollars.
|MS/PR-69||No recent sales||Between $15 and $112|
|MS/PR-70||No recent sales||A deep cameo coin sold for $21,600 at Heritage Auctions in 2017. Other sales went for $12,600 and $10,575 respectively (though the latter is not a deep cameo coin)|
Price sources: PCGS.
Editor’s note: Proof coins are made for collection and were never meant to be circulated, which is why you can only find them as uncirculated coins.
As you can see, the value of a 1968 half dollar can vary widely, depending on the condition of the coin. Even circulated coins can be worth a few hundred dollars, if they are in good condition. So, if you have a 1968 half dollar, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look to see what you have!
But why did some of these goins go for thousands when all others in the same grading group went for a few dollars? Let’s see the reason.
Explaining the Big Price Variations
The big price variations can be due to a number of reasons. First, the quality of the coin itself can vary. For example, some coins may have been struck more than once, resulting in a higher quality coin. Second, the market for these coins can fluctuate.
Third, and most importantly, there is something called “eye appeal.” This simply means that some coins look better than others, even if they are the same grade. For example, a coin with nice luster (the shine on the coin) and no scratches or blemishes will have more “eye appeal” than a similar coin that is dull and has scratches.
“Eye appeal” is subjective, which means that what one person thinks is attractive, another person may not. This is why two people can look at the same coin and have different opinions on it.
Last, there is also the possibility that the coins that went for thousands of dollars have a specific history. For example, they may have been owned by a famous person, or they may be part of a special set. This makes them more valuable to collectors.
1968 Half Dollars Errors
Minting errors in uncirculated coins make for some of the most valuable 1968 half dollars. A typical error is the inverted mint mark, where the ‘D’ is struck upside-down. This mint mark error can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the grade of the coin.
Another type of error is a double die coin, where the design on the coin is struck twice. These are very rare and can be worth a lot of money.
Finally, there are off-center coins, where the design on the coin is not struck in the center. These are also quite valuable, with some recent auctions fetching over $1000!
For example, here’s a short print coin on sale on eBay for $300. This coin wouldn’t be worth much without that minting error, but because it’s an error coin, it’s quite valuable.
So, if you have a 1968 half dollar, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look to see what you have, you might just have a valuable minting error!
Here’s a video showcasing some of the most valuable 1968 half dollar errors:
As you can see, there is the potential to find a very valuable 1968 half dollar, especially if it’s an error coin. So, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look at your coins to see what you have!
What is the 1968 Half Dollar Made From?
The 1968 half dollar is made of 40% silver and 60% copper, which meanas there is approximately 0.3617 troy ounces of silver in a 1968 half dollar.
Why is it Called Kennedy Dollar?
The 1968 half dollar is also known as the Kennedy dollar, because it features a portrait of President John F. Kennedy on the obverse (front) side of the coin. The Kennedy dollar was first minted in 1964, just after President Kennedy’s assassination.
Is there Only 1 Type of 1968 Half Dollar?
Yes, there is only 1 type of 1968 half dollar, called 1968-D. The reason for this is that there was only one mint (Denver) that produced half dollars in 1968.
As you can see, the value of a 1968 half dollar can vary widely, depending on the condition of the coin. Even circulated coins can be worth a few hundred dollars, if they are in good condition or have minting errors. So, if you have a 1968 half dollar, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look to see what you have.
If you’re on the market for one, you can easily snag one for a few dollars, unless you want one in perfect condition. Circulated ones in decent condition can be bought for about $30, but if you want an uncirculated one in great condition, you’re looking at a price tag of thousands of dollars.
If you think you have a 1968 half dollar with an error, it’s best to take it to a professional coin dealer or grading service to have it evaluated, as these can be worth a lot of money.
In case you end up in an auction for a rare piece, remember to do your research so you don’t overpay. And don’t enter into bidding wars, as these can quickly escalate and get out of hand. You don’t need to spend a fortune on 1968 half dollar coins, as most will go for very reasonable prices. Just keep your cool during the auction, and everything will work out great in the end.
Happy hunting for 1968 half dollars, and may the odds be ever in your favor!