Changing to the Kennedy Half Dollar

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, Mint Director Eva Adams was seriously considering changing one of the bigger denominations (either the dollar, half dollar, or the quarter dollar) to feature a portrait of John F. Kennedy.  Several days later, Eva Adams called up Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts and told him that it was authorized.

Jaqueline Kennedy had expressed that she would love to see John on the half dollar, her reason was that she did not want George Washington to be replaced on the quarter.  This was taken into consideration and was also approved.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

There was one problem, and it was a pretty big problem.  There are laws on the books that state that United States coin designs can’t be changed for 25 years without Congressional approval.  The current half dollar design that was in circulation at the time features Ben Franklin on one side, and the Liberty Bell on the other (this design was first issued in 1948, some 16 years before the Kennedy design). 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

The good thing is that the new half dollar design passed with overwhelming support from Congress.  The Kennedy half dollar is still being made, but not many of them are readily seen in circulation today.  What’s better is that you can find new copies either from a coin dealer that is in your area, or you can order the coins directly from the United States mint.

Since there are plenty of Kennedy of half dollars that can be bought from either the bank or reputable dealers (both in a store setting and online), you can put together a complete set of coins for not that much money.  There are even people that look for different die varieties or coins that have errors.

Have you picked up one of these coins lately?

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