The 1968 Kennedy half dollars belong to the series minted from 1965 to 1970 when the US Mint produced these coins of 40% silver. Actually, their outer layer was made of 80% silver, while the core contained 21% silver. The rest is copper.
Thanks to that, the 1968 half dollar value is equal to at least the price of the precious metal it contains. If you prefer coins in the mint state, you can find them on the market for about $8 to $20.
1968 Kennedy half-dollar value Chart
|Condition||1968 D half-dollar||1968 S proof half-dollar|
|Mint state 60||$7.65||/|
|Mint state 63||$21||/|
*by USA Coin Book
History of the 1968 Kennedy Half-dollar
The Kennedy silver half-dollar replaced the Franklin half-dollar quickly after a beloved American President was assassinated in Dallas, TX, in 1963. In regular circumstances, old coins would last at least a decade more, but Congress demanded this change earlier.
Congress authorized the new silver half-dollar coin on 30th December 1963, after Mint Director Eva Adams accepted the design in November. That way, the minting of the first new halves started about three months after an unfortunate event.
In 1964, this dollar contained 90% silver or precisely 0.36169 troy ounces (11.25 g) of this precious metal. However, Americans started excessively hoarding new silver commemorative coins to get a souvenir, which reminded them of those turbulent times for only 50 cents.
That forced the US Mint to quickly lower mintage in the following years. The silver content was changed the next year by the Coinage Act of 1965, when the percentage of this precious metal was reduced. That was a way for the US Mint to decrease the coin minting cost by lowering the silver share in the alloy.
From 1965 to 1970, these coins were minted as silver-clad with an outer layer of 80% silver and a core of 21% of this precious metal.
In other words, its composition was copper and 40% silver in total, meaning each piece contained 0.14789 troy ounces (4.60 g) of precious metal. After that period, this coin was made with a pure copper core and an outer layer of 75% copper and 25% nickel.
1968 Kennedy half-dollar
|Denver||1968 D half-dollar||246,951,930|
|San Francisco||1968 S proof half-dollar||3,041,506|
Interestingly, Kennedy half dollars were prevalent in circulation and everyday transactions in the 1960s and 1970s, but that was changed in the early 1980s. At that time, Americans used these coins less, and their mintage rapidly decreased until complete abolition.
Firstly, the US Mint stopped producing silver coins. Once that happened, the mintage never exceeded 100 million half-dollars after the 1970s. It even fell under 60 million in the early 1980s and under 30 million by 1983.
Since the Kennedy half-dollar series is attractive to collectors, the US Mint still produce business strikes specifically for them. Nowadays, you can find two Kennedy silver half-dollar types minted in 1968, including those from regular strikes for circulation and proofs intended for collectors.
The 1968 mintage was the fifth in history and the fourth after silver content reduction. It was also the first year when more than one mint produced this coin type. However, one minted only regular coins, and the other struck only proofs.
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Features of the 1968 Kennedy Half-dollar
The Kennedy half-dollar was the only American coin made in silver in the 1960s. These pieces containing 40% silver were released into circulation only in six years, from 1965 to 1970, making those minted in 1968 the third to last produced in the set.
The obverse of the 1968 Kennedy half-dollar
The 1968 Kennedy half-dollar is a coin with a relatively simple but elegant obverse. You can see the 35th American President John F. Kennedy in the coin center, with the DATE along the bottom rim. The mint mark is above it, on the President’s neck cutout edge.
American sculptor Gilroy Roberts placed the word LIBERTY along the top and side coin rim, while the unavoidable IN GOD WE TRUST is divided into two parts. This Latin motto is struck on the left and the right image side, with the IN GOD in front of the President’s face and WE TRUST behind.
The reverse of the 1968 Kennedy half-dollar
Even though engraver Frank Gasparro made the 1968 Kennedy half-dollar reverse a bit cluttered, it is elegant and full of symbolism. The centrally positioned heraldic eagle holds a branch of olive leaves in its right talon and a bundle of arrows in the left one.
You can notice a shield in front of the eagle’s chest and a ribbon with the inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM above its head. As you can see, the bird holds the end of that tape in its beak while numerous stars make a full circle around the composition.
The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the HALF DOLLAR denomination are struck along the coin rim and separated with a dot on both sides.
1968 Kennedy half-dollar
|Face value||50 cents ($0.50)|
|Compound||The fineness of 0.400 silver (40% silver in total)
(core of 21% silver and 79% copper)
(outer layer of 80% silver with added copper)
|Coin diameter||1.20512 inches (30.61 mm)|
|Coin weight||0.36973 troy ounces (11.50 g)|
|Silver weight||0.14789 troy ounces (4.60 g)|
|Coin thickness||0.08465 inches (2.15 mm)|
|Edge||Reeded (150 reeds)|
Other features of the 1968 Kennedy half-dollar
The 1968 Kennedy half-dollar is a round 50-cent coin with a reeded edge with a visible copper line. Its outer layer has 80% silver, while the core contains only 21% of this precious metal.
The coin weight is precisely 0.36973 troy ounces (11.50 g), including 0.14789 troy ounces (4.60 g) of pure silver. It is 0.08465 inches (2.15 mm) thick, with a diameter of 1.20512 inches (30.61 mm).
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1968 Kennedy Half-dollar Value Guides
Only two mints produced 249,993,436 Kennedy half-dollars in 1968, with the fact that the one in San Francisco minted only proofs. Most of these coins come with a modest value, and only a few excellently preserved pieces can be expensive.
1968 D Kennedy half-dollar Value
The Denver mint had a mintage of 246,951,930 Kennedy half-dollars with the D mint mark in 1968. Most of them are worth more than their face value, and even the worst preserved pieces cost at least the price of silver they contain.
1968 Kennedy half-dollar value
|Condition||1968 D half-dollar|
While the price of coins in about circulated condition is about $3.50, those in the mint state are a bit more costly. Depending on the condition, they are typically worth $4 to $50. The most expensive are halves in an MS 67 grade, and you can buy one for approximately $450.
One of the rarest Kennedy half-dollars are those with an MS 67+ rating, and one collector paid $7,500 in 2019 to get one of them. It was also the most expensive coin produced in Denver that year.
1968 S proof Kennedy half-dollar Value
The San Francisco mint produced only proofs in 1968, and the mintage of 3,041,506 Kennedy half dollars minted that year was modest compared to the one in Denver. You can find the highest-graded pieces worth $4.50 to $22, and only those with cameo contrast can reach $30 on the market.
On the other hand, coins with deep cameo contrast have a bit higher prices, and you can get one for $9 to $105 on average. On the other hand, those in a PR 70 grade are estimated to be valuable about $10,000.
1968 S Kennedy half-dollar value (proof)
|Condition||1968 S half-dollar||1968 S CAM half-dollar||1968 S DCAM half-dollar|
Despite that evaluation, one coin exceeded all expectations at an auction in 2017. One collector set aside $21,600 for the 1968 S PR 70 DCAM Kennedy half-dollar, making it the most pricey piece in the set.
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1968 Kennedy Half-dollar Errors
The 1968 Kennedy half-dollar list of errors is short. It is impossible to find significant imperfections on coins struck this particular year, and you can only come across some slightly defective pieces.
Besides, you can find precious and highly collectible pieces with deep cameo contrast and atypical varieties that often reach impressive amounts of money at auctions.
Deep cameo contrast
Unlike affordable regular proofs from the 1968 Kennedy half-dollar set, specimens with deep cameo contrast surfaces are rare, particularly those with early dates.
Therefore, these coins can be pretty expensive and often reach thousands of dollars on auctions. One of these pieces won the auction record after one collector offered $21,600 for it in 2017.
The upside-down struck D mint mark
The Kennedy half-dollars with the upside-down struck Denver mint mark are among the most valuable pieces minted in 1968. This inverted letter D typically results in a coin worth hundreds of dollars. The price goes to several thousands of dollars for specimens in an uncirculated condition.
Inverted S variety
These rare coins featured the upside-down San Francisco mint mark. Besides, the same mint produced SERIF S/KNOB S Kennedy half dollars discovered in 2017. They had the S mint mark made in an atypical way with a knob on each letter’s serif. No one still knows this variety’s history, the reasons for its occurrence, or the existing number.
As you probably know, some coins were struck twice, causing one of the most recognizable errors among Kennedy half-dollars. To the delight of serious collectors, these coins were extremely rare in the 1968 mintage, making them the ultimate collectible pieces.
You can find a few Kennedy half-dollars struck off-center among those produced in 1968. Most are worth about $300, but some coins with high off-center percentages showed up at auctions recently and reached an impressive $1,000+ per piece.
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FAQ about the 1968 Kennedy Half-dollar
Is the Kennedy half-dollar silver?
Kennedy half dollars are considered silver-clad coins since they contain 40% silver. However, pieces from the first year of minting are made of 90% silver, making them the most valuable in the series. Those coins struck after 1971 are made of 75% copper and 25% nickel without silver content.
Which 1968 Kennedy half-dollar is worth a lot of money?
- In 2017, the 1968 S PR 70 DCAM Kennedy half-dollar reached $21,600 at Heritage Auctions
- In 2019, the 1968 D MS 67+ Kennedy half-dollar reached $7,500 on eBay
- In 2022, the 1968 S PR 68 DDR FS-801 DCAM Kennedy half-dollar reached $3,833 at David Lawrence RC
- In 2015, the 1968 S PR 67 DDR FS-801 CAM Kennedy half-dollar reached $2,820 • PR67 at Heritage Auctions
- In 2013, the 1968 S PR 67 CAM Kennedy half-dollar reached $1,815 at Great Collections
- In 2008, the 1968 S PR 63 Kennedy half-dollar reached $1,725 at Heritage Auctions
- In 2016, the 1968 S PR 66 Inverted Mintmark FS-511 Kennedy half-dollar reached $705 at Heritage Auctions
- In 2017, the 1968 S PR 68 DDO FS-101 CAM Kennedy half-dollar reached $646 at Heritage Auctions
- In 2016, the 1968 S PR 67 DDR FS-801 Kennedy half-dollar reached $494 at Heritage Auctions
- In 2022, the 1968 S PR 68 DDO FS-101 Kennedy half-dollar reached $325 on eBay
- In 2012, the 1968 D MS 64 TDO FS-101 Kennedy half-dollar reached $299 on eBay
How much does the 1968 No Mint mark Kennedy half-dollar cost?
The Philadelphia mint didn’t produce Kennedy half-dollars in 1968. Therefore, you can only find pieces with the D or S mint mark among coins minted this particular year.
What is the most expensive Kennedy half-dollar?
As expected, the most expensive Kennedy half-dollar is the one struck in Denver in 1964. This coin containing 90% silver was paid $22,325 at an auction. With the reached price of $15,600, the most costly silver-clad Kennedy half-dollar is the specimen with the D mint mark produced in 1969.