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1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value (Rare Errors, “D”, “SMS” and No Mint Mark)

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value (Rare Errors, “D”, “SMS” and No Mint Mark)

Do you own one or several 1964 Kennedy half dollar coins? You might wonder how valuable these halves are and whether you can sell them for a premium. The 1964 Kennedy halves have sentimental value given that they commemorate a popular president in United States history. But millions of these coins were minted and are therefore not as rare.

In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about the 1964 Kennedy half dollar value, the coin’s interesting history, features, and error varieties.

Let’s jump in!

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value Chart

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value Chart

Mint mark Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated condition
1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value $11 $12 $15 $25
1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Accented Hair Value  $14 $32 $55 $90
1964 Kennedy Half Dollar SMS Value $156,000

 

History of 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

The U.S. Mint produced the 1964 Kennedy half dollar to commemorate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Immediately after his death, work began toward producing the Kennedy half dollar in order to put the coins into circulation by the start of January 1965. It took less than a month for the U.S. Mint to design and mint these new commemorative coins.

The Kennedy half dollar was to replace the Franklin half dollar, Washington quarter, or the Peace dollar. Eventually, with input from Jacqueline Kennedy, the president’s widow, the U.S. Mint decided to replace the Franklin half dollar.

To save time, the chief engraver of the U.S. Mint, Gilroy Roberts, used Kennedy’s Presidential Medal to design the coin’s obverse. His assistant engraver, Frank Gasparro, used the Seal of the President of the United States to design the coin’s reverse.

After the first designs were struck, Jackie and Robert, the late president’s brother, opined that the president’s hair on the portrait was overdone and asked for this to be changed. As a result, there are two circulation varieties of the 1964 half dollar—the original one with JFK’s hair overworked and the other with slight changes made to his hair.

For that year only, the coin was made of 90% silver and 10% copper. The president’s popularity and the high bullion prices for silver at the time saw collectors fiercely hoard the Kennedy half dollars. The Mint produced 273,304,004 coins dated 1964 and 156,205,446 dated 1964-D from the Denver mint.

With the rise in silver prices, the Mint stopped producing 90% half dollar coins by 1965, changing the alloy to 40% silver and later to 75% copper and 25% Nickel.

 

Features of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

Let us now look at the unique features of the 1964 Kennedy half dollar. It is worth noting that the engravers were particularly committed to creating a most beautiful coin that would convey the popularity and importance of the late president.

The Obverse of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

The Obverse of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

Image: auctions

The obverse is the head, front, or upside of a coin. The 1964 Kennedy half dollar’s obverse features the president’s head facing to the left with a slight smile.

It is said that Robert proposed that the president’s profile face left side as it made him look more handsome.

The engraver used the Presidential Medal to design the president’s profile for the new commemorative half dollar coin.

Inscribed around the top of the coin are the words LIBERTY. Across the coin, right before the base of the president’s profile, are the words IN GOD WE TRUST inscribed in smaller font size.

The year of issue, 1964, is inscribed around the bottom of the coin.

The Reverse of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

The Reverse of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

The reverse is the coin’s back side, also known as the tail. The reverse of the 1964 Kennedy half dollar was based on JFK’s presidential seal.

Featured on the coin is a heraldic eagle with wings spread out and a shield on its chest. The eagle holds with its beak, a scroll flying above its head. The words E PLURIBUS UNUM are inscribed on the scroll.

In its left talon, the eagle holds a bunch of 13 arrows and clutches an olive branch in its right talon. The arrows symbolize war, the olive branch symbolizes peace, and the shield symbolizes the president’s role in protecting the country’s sovereignty against enemy forces.

A ring of 50 stars surrounds the eagle to represent all 50 states.

The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are inscribed around the top of the coin’s reverse. The coin’s denomination, HALF DOLLAR, is inscribed around the bottom.

Other Features

The 1964 Kennedy half dollars were produced at the Denver and Philadelphia mints. Those minted in Philadelphia will not have a mint mark.

Coins minted in Denver will have the mintmark ‘D’ inscribed on the left of the olive branch’s stalk held in the eagle’s right talon.

Gilroy Robert’s monogram appears on the truncation of the president’s profile on the coin’s obverse.

In 1964 only, the Kennedy half dollar was struck on 90% silver planchets. The coin’s diameter measures 30.61mm and 2.15mm in thickness, and it weighs 12.5g. The edge is reeded with 159 reeds.

There is a ready market, so it helps to learn what to look for in a valuable 1964 half dollar coin.

 

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value Guides

A massive coin shortage characterized the early 1960s, and the U.S. Mint responded by producing many coins.

President Kennedy’s popularity, coupled with the high prices of silver prompted collectors to hoard the 1964 Kennedy half dollar coins, compounding the coin shortage.

To meet consumer demand for circulated half dollar coins, the Mint produced 273,304,004 coins at the Philadelphia mint and 156,205,446 coins at the Denver mint.

With so many minted, the 1964 Kennedy half dollar coins are common and affordable even for the collector with a small budget.

That said, the fact that these were first-year issue coins made from 90% silver makes them more valuable than 40% silver and copper-nickel-clad half dollars.

According to the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC), the 1964 Kennedy half dollar value in circulated condition is between $11 and $11.50 as of November 2022. However, uncirculated like-new half-dollar coins from 1964 can fetch as much as $5200.

Let’s look at the value of various Kennedy half dollars.

1964 No Mint Kennedy Half Dollar Value

1964 No Mint Kennedy Half Dollar Value

Image: pcgs

The 1964 Kennedy half dollar coins were minted at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.

The 1964 no mint Kennedy half dollar coins originated from the Philadelphia mint. About 273,304,004 of these coins were minted that year.

The 1964 no-mint Kennedy half dollar is worth about $6.50 in circulated condition. One in pristine condition with close to no damages will fetch up to $25.

1964 D Mint Kennedy Half Dollar Value

1964 D Mint Kennedy Half Dollar Value

The 1964 Kennedy half dollars minted in Denver will have the D mintmark on the reverse of the coin below the olive branch in the eagle’s right talon.

Many of these coins were minted, so they are fairly common. The 1964 D mint Kennedy half dollar value is $6.50 in circulated condition and $26 in pristine condition.

As you can see, the presence of a mintmark does not make this particular coin any more valuable. The reason for this is the high mintage, which reduces the coin’s rarity.

1964 Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Value

The silver alloy content of 1964 and 1965-D Kennedy half dollar coins is about 0.36 ounces.

As of November 2022, the spot price of silver is $21.79 an ounce. Therefore, the 1964 Kennedy half, with its 90% silver content equating to 0.36 ounces, is worth $7.84.

1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollar Value

1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollar Value

About four million Kennedy halves were minted in 1964. The coins are divided into three depending on their cameo contrasts and graded accordingly: the proofs with no cameo, cameo, and deep cameo.

The most common 1964 Kennedy halves are the non-cameo types and are worth $10 for proof 60, $42 for proof 67, and a whopping $3,750 for proof 70 coins. The PCGS has graded only 220 top-tier non-cameo Kennedy half dollars.

Cameo Kennedy halves are valued at $14 for Proof 60, $60 for PF66, and up to $350 for PF69. Meanwhile, the deep cameo variety has a slightly higher value with PF66 fetching $100, PF67 valued at $200, and up to $3000 for PF69. The PCGS has graded only 104 of deep cameo Kennedy halves.

1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollar Value

1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollar Value

The special mint set is the rarest 1964 Kennedy half dollar. Because they have no mint mark, no one knows from which mint they came.

The coins also have an extremely brilliant strike and smooth satin finish, and collectors wonder how they were made.

Coins in the SMS set feature fields with die polishing lines and no contrast marks, signifying that each coin was individually and meticulously produced.

In contrast to the proof set, the SMS coins do not feature the accented hair variety coins, but the coin’s reverse is similar to the proof set. The NGC has graded only six of the 1964 SMS coins, and the PCGS has counted twelve. So far, the most valuable SMS Kennedy half dollar is graded SP68 worth $156,000.

 

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Error

There was a series of technical hitches at the Denver mint when production of the Kennedy half dollar began in 1964. Due to the rough start, there were many error coins.

According to the major coin grading companies, there are nine types of 1964 Kennedy half errors. These are: four double die obverses of different kinds, two tripled die obverses, one with a repunched mintmark, and one quadrupled die obverse. The ninth one is the regular 1964-D Kennedy half.

Many of the 1964 half dollar errors are similar to the normal, circulated, and worn 1964-D. The major grading companies do not have grading data for Kennedy half errors lower than About Uncirculated grade.

Here is a summary of the value of the most common Kennedy half dollar errors to look for.

Double Die Obverse FS-104

According to the PGCS, first strike (F.S.) coins are coins that coin grading services receive within thirty days of the coin’s release date. The 1964 Kennedy double die obverse with an FS-104 grading and in mint state (MS) 63 is valued at $225.

Double Die FS-502

The die error is visible on the mint mark D, which was re-punched north of the original mint mark. But, the Double Die FS-502 also features visible traces of two extra impressions right below the two visible ones to the south.

Quadruple die obverse

The 1964-D quadrupled die obverse Kennedy half dollar is one of the most important error coins of the 1964 Kennedy halves. The quadrupling is visible on the U of the TRUST (IN GOD WE TRUST) and the right side of the number 4 on the coin’s year of issue. This error variety is known as FS-105.

Double die obverse FS-106

The doubling on the double die obverse FS-106 variety is seen on the lettering IN GOD WE TRUST. In MS63 grade, this error coin is worth $85.

Double Die (D/D)

The 1964-D double die mint error coins is graded as one of the greatest U.S. modern coins. The die error is visible on the mint mark D, which was re-punched north of the original mint mark. Known grades for this error coin are XF45 and MS63 grades valued at $19 and $80, respectively.

Double Die Obverse (DD0)

The 1964-D double die obverse Kennedy half dollar is a scarce error, and the PCGS has only identified a few examples. The doubling of the words “In God, We Trust” is visible with the naked eye, and the highest grade of this error coin is an MS65 valued at $60.

Triple Die Obverse

In the 1964 Kennedy half triple die obverse variety, you will notice a very strong tripling of the words IN GOD WE TRUST and the year of issue, 1964. This coin is rare and most available in Extra Fine 45 (XF45) grading and MS63, valued at $18 and $55, respectively.

 

FAQ

How do I know if my 1964 Kennedy half dollar is rare?

Generally, the 1964 Kennedy half dollar coins are common. The U.S. Mint struck 277 million of these coins and intended for them to be in circulation. That said, there are a few rare 1964 Kennedy halve—you should look for the accented hair variety, the Special Mint Set coins with a brilliant strike and satin finish, or some 1964 error coins in the Kenneth half dollar series. The rarest 1964 Kennedy half is the SMS half-dollars, as only twelve were made and are valued as high as $150,000.

How to identify 1964 SMS Half Dollar

A 1964 Special Mint Set half dollar is a rare coin. These coins have an extraordinarily sharp strike and satin finish, while the fields have die polishing lines. An SMS half dollar will have no contact mark, a sign that each coin was made one at a time. The SMS coins do not use the accented hair dies but use the original reverse die.

Are 1964 Kennedy half dollars worth more than their face value?

1964 Kennedy half dollar coins are worth more than their face value depending on their condition. Circulated 1964 Kennedy halves are worth $11 to $11.50, but rare ones in mint uncirculated condition may be worth more.