The numbers of circulation-quality 2013-D and 2013-P Kennedy half
dollars struck for numismatic sales are the highest since 2001, the
last year the coins were struck for distribution into circulation.
Total production through Dec. 15 is 9.6 million half dollars — 4.6
million coins struck at the Denver Mint and 5 million coins struck at
the Philadelphia Mint.
United States Mint spokeswoman Heather Sabharwal said Mint
officials can’t explain the increase in sales, which are nearly triple
the sales for 2012, when 3.5 million 2012 Kennedy half dollars were struck.
The year 2001 was the last year that Kennedy half dollars struck
at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints in circulation quality were
intended for release into circulation. The Federal Reserve Bank
stopped ordering half dollars for circulation in 2001 because little
demand was shown for the coins in commerce. Federal Reserve vaults
were stocked with half dollars from previous production years.
While some of the 19,504,000 2001-D Kennedy half dollars struck
were initially released through the Federal Reserve into circulation,
all of the 21.2 million 2001-P Kennedy half dollars remained in U.S.
Mint vaults, initially. The unreleased inventory of 2001 Kennedy half
dollars remained in Mint storage until late in 2003, when additional
coins were released from both the Denver and Philadelphia Mints.
Beginning in 2002, the U.S. Mint struck Kennedy half dollars in
circulation quality but restricted their distribution to numismatic
sales, above face value. The Mint offered the half dollars in two-roll
sets of 20 coins per roll and 200-coin mixed bags of 100 coins from
Production in subsequent years has also been limited to half
dollars needed to fill collector orders.
Mint begins selling 2001 coins
In the spring of 2004, the U.S. Mint began retroactively offering
2001-P and 2001-D Kennedy half dollars as numismatic products, also in
200-coin mixed bags and two-roll sets at premiums above face value.
The decision to offer the 2001 coins as numismatic products came
months after the Mint nixed a deal arranged by two Tennessee dealers
to acquire some of the 2001-P Kennedy half dollars and place them into
The Tennessee dealers had arranged for a shipment of 100,000 of
the 2001-P Kennedy half dollars to be delivered to the Nashville
branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for pick up.
After U.S. Mint executives learned of the 100,000-coin delivery of
2001-P Kennedy half dollars, they quickly had the shipment retrieved
and the coins delivered back to the Philadelphia Mint, to be stored
until a decision was made as to their disposition. ■