Multiple versions of the Kennedy half dollar will be produced during 2014 by the U.S. Mint on the 50th anniversary of the coin’s introduction, including three special collector versions.
Topping the list is a .9999 fine gold Proof that will be produced at the West Point Mint. The gold coins will be the same diameter, 30.6 millimeters, and thickness, as the silver and copper-nickel clad versions, but contain approximately 0.75 ounce of pure gold.
As of press time Feb. 28, U.S. Mint officials were still tweaking the exact weight specifications that will appear on the gold coin along with the precious metal fineness.
During a Feb. 25 visit to the Philadelphia Mint, Coin World was able to meet with Steve Antonucci, manager of Digital Process and Development, who detailed the development process for the 50th anniversary Kennedy half dollars. Coin World was also able to tour the research and development lab to witness production of test strikes for a copper-nickel clad version.
The U.S. Mint is already producing copper-nickel clad and .9000 fine silver versions of Proof 2014-S Kennedy half dollars at the San Francisco Mint for inclusion in various Proof set configurations. The Denver Mint and Philadelphia Mint are striking Uncirculated Mint set coins for collector sets as well as circulation-quality half dollars for numismatic sales in bags and rolls.
These copper-nickel clad and silver issues bear the singular 2014 date and the Mint mark of the respective Mint where each is struck. The Mint mark appears on the obverse, centered above the 0 and 1 in the date.
The 2014 Kennedy half dollars in the standard annual sets and the circulation-quality coins sold in bag and roll quantities will be struck from dies identical to those used in 2013 except for the date.
Additionally, an expected three versions, celebrating the 50th anniversary, will bear an obverse based on the 1964 sculpt, with one bearing a 1964 – 2014 dual date. These three coins will be in issued in gold, .900 fine silver and copper-nickel clad compositions. The three anniversary versions will appear with Chief Mint Engraver Gilroy Roberts’ original portrait of Kennedy as introduced on the coin in 1964.
The designs of Roberts’ Kennedy portrait for the obverse and Assistant Mint Engraver Frank Gasparro’s Presidential Seal reverse have been modified over the years. Among the changes, the rims are thinner on the current renditions of both obverse and reverse than on the 1964 obverse sculpt.