2013 half dollar sales highest since 2001

Sales soar to 9.6 million, nearly triple 2012 figure
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Published : 12/30/14
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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 each Mint.

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 collector hands.

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. ■

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