1974 was quite an exciting year, especially for the Denver Mint. Not only did they prepare for the 1975/1976 Bicentennial coinage, but it was also the time for the Denver mint to move its locations.
Despite this activity, which implied a lot of work, the Denver Mint succeeded to struck almost 80 million Kennedy half dollars. While most of the mintage is standard, a small quantity comprised the famous 1974-D Doubled Die Obverse. And as a matter of fact, this error is precisely the most interesting and significant one regarding these Kennedy dollars.
The standard value for an average circulated 1974 half dollar is around 50 cents, while an MS+ condition can bring you more than $3 at auction.
Since it is a subject worth discussing, I’ve created a complete value guide for the 1974 half dollars. Reading it will help you discover how much these coins can be worth, their history, and the main errors that make them unique. Let’s go!
The History Of 1974 Half Dollars
The Kennedy half a dollar is among the most valuable and rarest coins league ever made in the United States Of America. As a matter of fact, their preciousness is comparable to the Roosevelt Dimes and Mercury Dimes.
But before checking the value charts and types of half dollars, let’s discuss their history. So what were the milestones that happened during 1974, when this coin was first released? Don’t worry if you skipped this history lesson, as I’ve got you covered.
So, only one month after President John F. Kennedy’s death, the lines outside the US mint facilities were unending. However, the US mint didn’t have all the resources to face the demand regarding the half dollar. Therefore, there was no coin actually released.
Interesting, right? Now, let’s continue our journey until 1974, when the Kennedy half dollar finally saw the light of say.
That particular year represented a time of insecurity among America’s states. Let’s remember the 1972 oil crisis, as a consequence of US President Richard Nixon’s resignation, followed by the Watergate scandal that occurred during the same year. If you ask me, I have to say that things got pretty ironic, considering the coin featured the look of one of the most loved presidents ever.
Anyway, let’s move forward to the coin’s appearance. The famous Kennedy half dollar has a tiny mintage, impressive-looking design; hence it is in great demand.
Keep reading to learn more about aesthetics, the designer of 1974 half dollars, and the meaning of coin inscriptions.
1974 Half Dollar Design
Collecting Kennedy half dollars is one of the most popular hobbies among passionate. And there is no surprise here, considering this money’s beauty and appealing design. So as the name implies, the 1974 half dollar bears the image of the 35th president, John F Kennedy. Let’s take a close look.
Gilroy Roberts has designed the obverse side of the 1974 half dollar. If you haven’t heard about this name before, then you should know that Gilroy Roberts was the actual Chief Engraver at the United States Mint at that time (from 1948 to 1965).
The principal idea behind the design is the figure of the 35th and one of the most loved presidents of the United States. At that time, the youngest person ever elected as a president and a war hero, Kennedy, was inaugurated in January 1961. Unfortunately and shocking, Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The nation was in complete grief, so the national pain made the Congress of The United States rush to develop a new design for the half dollar. As you might guess, the purpose was to commemorate the bereaved president.
On the obverse, you will notice the words LIBERTY, the American motto IN GOD WE TRUST, the 1974 year mark, as well as Gilroy Roberts’ initials.
Frank Gasparro, who was Roberts’ assistant, was the one who designed the reverse side of the 1974 half dollar. His will was to center the eagle in the middle of the coin, inspired by the Seal of the USA president. Lastly, the presidential seal in the form we know today was done in 1945 by president Harry S. Truman, when the number of stars on the seal (and also on the coins) went from 48 to 50 once, Hawaii and Alaska states entered the Union.
Important! Pay attention to the reverse side of the 1974 half dollar; can you notice the heraldic eagle’s wings and legs all spread in four directions? On the left side (your’s right), the eagle holds a bunch of arrows, symbolizing war, while on the right claw, he is holding an olive branch, the sign of peace.
The reverse side contains the initials “FG”, the vertical bars that stand for the stripes on the American flag, as well as the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Last but not least, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA inscription goes all along the top of the coin, while the denomination HALF DOLLAR is engraved at the downside. Can you see the dots placed all between the inscriptions? They represent the Union’s 50 states.
Finally, the edges of the 1974 half dollars are reeded with 150 reeds.
Take a final look at the coin specifications in the chart below to have a whole picture of this coin’s characteristics:
|Country Of Production||USA|
|Years of Release||1974|
|Mintage||Over 79 million pieces|
|Materials||75% copper, 25% nickel, and 100% copper core|
|Reverse Designer||Frank Gasparro|
|Obverse Designer||Gilroy Roberts|
1974 Kennedy Half Dollar Value
Ready for the most exciting part of this research? Whether you are new in the coin collection domain or already very passionate about old money, it is critical to know that their value is influenced by multiple factors such as design, grading system, condition, and particular errors.
While specialists estimate that the value of a 1974 Kennedy half dollar is in average condition only 50 cents, when it comes to mint state coins, their price can go up to $2.50.
Editor’s Note: Even though they have 0% silver content, 1974 half dollars are still very popular among collectors. While the 1974 Kennedy half dollars issued in Philadelphia and Denver are only selling for between $1.50 and $3, those minted in San Francisco tend to be more worthy and sell for $3 to $9.
Kennedy Half Dollar Grading System
Knowing the coins’ value is critical in selling and purchasing them. So here comes the grading into play. Before you start the coin exchange, you need to understand how coin grading affects the final prices.
Coin grading is essential in the action of checking the condition of a coin. When grading coins, multiple factors are considered, such as interest factor, quality, rarity, and, last but not least, liquidity.
Therefore, these grades can start with the face value, the least precious one, and go up to MS66, MS67, and PR-65, the last grade indicating a genuine treasure.
1974 Half Dollar Condition
At the same time, a coin’s value depends on its condition. This can range from poor (P-1) to Mint State Perfect (MS-70). Expect to find a broad range of conditions and values, starting from 50 cents and ending at 20 bucks.
1974 Half Dollar Types And Values
Before moving on to the value of 1974 half dollars, it is critical to understand that their value depends on the condition, mint marks, as well as the series you are dealing with. Hence, I recommend you study the specifics of each 1974 half dollar type and its characteristics first:
1. 1974 Half Dollar With No Mint Mark
The first and the most common type of 1974 half dollar is the no mint mark one. Its face value is $0,50, and it has been minted in Philadelphia. While most of you might think that the lack of mint will make these coins valuable, you would be wrong as they are not. The no mint half dollars are the most used coins from this branch.
Important! Carson City, San Francisco, and Denver were the only mints that put their markings on the coins they made.
2. The 1974 D-Half Dollar
The face value of these coins is also half a dollar, as the name suggests. They contain copper and nickel and weigh only 11.34 grams. These coins were minted in Denver and are over 201 million printed coins of this sort.
Due to the rarity of these coins, most of the examples in AU may be worth lower. On the other hand, the recognized Doubled Die Obverse variations are more expensive and are recognized as premium varieties. These can be worth even 50 dollars if they are in Mint condition. On the other hand, if a collector finds this type of half a dollar in low mint condition, they should not expect to pay more than $30.
The good news is that well-kept 1974 D half dollars, let’s say MS-65 and MS-66, can cost between $60 and $75. However, the situation changes for the MS-67. They are pretty rare and can usually cost between $200 and $300. Here is a beautiful example of a Double-D Half dollar from 1974.
1974 S-Half Dollar
There is no exact number of how many of such coins have seen the light of day, but it is safe to say that there should be around 201 million pieces of 1974 S half-dollars. As the S letter suggests, these coins were minted in San Francisco and are only 50 cents worth for average circulation coins.
However, a coin in MS+ state can go up to $8 at auctions. Nevertheless, there is no standard coin grading scale to estimate this price. When we refer to the average circulation grade, we discuss a similar condition to the other 1974 coins.
The Double Die Obverse 1974 Half Dollar
This type of 1974 half dollar has a face value of 50 cents, representing the main DDO mistake. This particular coin’s value is even $45, based on its condition.
The 1974 Half Dollar With A Mark On The Neck
If you deal with a 1974 Kennedy half dollar and observe a tiny mark on Kennedy’s neck, don’t take it as an error. This design particularity has nothing to do with the assassination of Kennedy president, but it is an elaborate monogram of Gilroy Roberts, the chief engrave of the United States Mint.
The 1974 Half-Dollar Value Chart
Are you looking to invest in some pieces of collection? This chart will help you check the value of your 1974 half dollars and know what to expect from these collection pieces. On top of that, if you are an enthusiast of coin roll hunting, check the most valuable and scarcest in this series.
|COIN TYPE⬇\QUALITY➜||Face Value||MS-63||MS-65||MS-66||PR-65|
|1974 Half Dollar With No Mint Mark||$0.50||–||–||–||–|
|1974-D Half Dollar||$0.50||$2.28||$60||$70||$200-$300|
|1974-S Half Dollar||$0.50||–||–||–||$5.70|
Prices are as volatile as in any other domain. They are strongly connected to the demand laws as everything else. The same auction house can sell the same types of coins at drastically different bids, depending on the sessions. To raise your chances of profit, look for the coins that have higher gradings, like MS-65.
1974 Half Dollar Errors
When it comes to the old coins, some errors might represent an added value. Regarding the little flaws, 1974 half dollar really does not have any particular standouts you should focus on. Expect to find the regular flaws and some clipped planchet errors originally seen with the changeover from silver to nickel and copper.
DDO/DDR Half Dollar Error
Nevertheless, the main mistake that appears on 1974 half dollars is DDO or the double die obverse error. How can you identify it? Well, look a bit at the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The doubling I am talking about appears on the right side of the coin, precisely on the part “WE TRUST.” The letter “T” in “LIBERTY,” and “4” in 1974 have an evident doubling.
Remember all this because this type of coin is more worthy than the regular ones.
1974 Clipped Planchet 50C
Another error that can affect the final value of a 1974 half dollar is the Clipped Planchet 50C. This error appears when a round die clips the coin’s edge and creates a cookie-cutter aspect. In little words, you might notice a small part looking like a crescent missing from the coin.
1974 Off Center Strike
These strikes can take from 5% to 95% of the coin’s center, and they appear when the die strikes an improperly seated planchet off-center.
Let’s see what questions people usually have about the 1974 half dollar. This way, you can also master your knowledge.
Q: Where’s the mint mark on the 1974 Kennedy Dollar?
A: You will find the mint mark right below Kennedy’s neck. Remember that coins minted in Philadelphia will have no mint mark.
Q: What is the best source for buying and selling 1974 half dollars?
A: eBay is the best selling point because this type of money is a low-value coin. However, if you feel like your coin is much worthy, and has an exceptional condition, try looking for an online auction.
Q: Does 1974 half dollar have any silver?
A: No, these coins are only made of copper and nickel. However, there have been some minted silver proof 1974 half dollars, but they only came from the mint as an extra special order.
To Sum Up
The 1974 Kennedy half dollar is by far one of the most collectible coins on the market due to their average prices. Although not as valuable as the silver-based predecessors, the Kennedy Half Dollars are popular due to the tribute they bring to the country’s beloved president, John F. Kennedy, and their particular and detailed design.
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