The United States Mint has under consideration six different
multicoin options to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy half
dollar in 2014.
Among the possibilities, from which two options could be selected,
is a four-coin set containing Reverse Proof 2014 90 percent silver
half dollars struck at each of the four production facilities, in
Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver and West Point.
Mint officials are also considering a second four-coin option, two
three-coin options and two two-coin options.
All the ideas suggested would include an informational booklet
tracing the history of the Kennedy half dollar, which was authorized
by Congress slightly more than a month after the Nov. 22, 1963,
assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The four-coin set is one of several options referenced in a
Kennedy Half Dollar Special Set Survey launched April 11 by the U.S.
Mint’s internal market research team in conjunction with the Mint’s
research partner, National Analysts Worldwide, headquartered in Philadelphia.
Tom Jurkowsky, the U.S. Mint’s director of the Office of Public
Affairs, said April 18 that the survey is being conducted among both
customers and noncustomers to obtain feedback about several Kennedy
half dollar set options under consideration.
“The options ... are just that — options that we are researching
in an effort to get feedback,” Jurkowsky said. “There’s no guarantee,
of course, that any of these would interest customers. We are
contemplating on producing two sets — high-end and low-end — with
various coin combinations. We really need to see the feedback before
we commit ourselves to a given direction.”
In addition to the possible four-coin set of Reverse Proof coins,
other options under consideration are:
➤ A four-coin set containing three Proof copper-nickel clad half
dollars (one each from the West Point, Philadelphia and Denver Mints)
plus one 90 percent silver Reverse Proof half dollar from the San
➤ A three-coin set containing one copper-nickel Proof half dollar,
one copper-nickel clad Reverse Proof coin, and one copper-nickel clad
Uncirculated half dollar. Each would bear a Mint mark (P, D, W or S)
reflecting where it is minted, although final decisions on minting
locations haven’t yet been made.
➤ A three-coin set containing one 90 percent silver Proof half
dollar, one 90 percent silver Reverse Proof coin and one 90 percent
silver Uncirculated half dollar. Each would bear a Mint mark (P, D, W
or S) reflecting where it is minted, although final decisions on
minting locations haven’t yet been made.
➤ A two-coin set featuring one Proof copper-nickel clad half
dollar and one Reverse Proof copper-nickel clad half dollar. Each
would bear a Mint mark (P, D, W or S) reflecting where it is minted,
although final decisions on minting locations haven’t yet been made.
➤ A two-coin set featuring one Proof 90 percent silver half dollar
and one Reverse Proof 90 percent silver half dollar. Each would bear a
Mint mark (P, D, W or S) reflecting where it is minted, although final
decisions on minting locations haven’t yet been made.
Legislation introduced to authorize production of the Kennedy half
dollar received congressional approval on Dec. 30, 1963, and was
quickly signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Even before the coin was authorized, work was already under way on
coinage dies. Contemplating possible production of the Kennedy half
dollar, U.S. Mint Director Eva Adams had contacted Chief Engraver
Gilroy Roberts about the pending legislation.
For the half dollar obverse, Roberts modified his portrait of
Kennedy that the engraver had executed for the Kennedy medal in the
Mint’s Presidential Series. Assistant Engraver Frank Gasparro worked
on modifications to the reverse of the same medal, featuring the
presidential seal, for adaptation on the coin’s reverse.
The quick modifications to existing designs permitted the
completion of the first dies on Jan. 2, 1964.
The initial production comprised Proof versions struck at the
The first Kennedy half dollars intended for circulation were
struck in 90 percent silver at the Denver Mint on Jan. 30, 1964.
The Philadelphia Mint began execution of its first production for
circulation the following week.
The Treasury Department made the circulating coins available to
the public beginning on March 24, 1964. ■