highlight the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy half dollar, the United
States Mint has launched a multipart online retrospective chronicling
the development of the coin.
to the first installment, posted at www.usmint.gov/campaigns/?action=Kennedy, not long
after President John F. Kennedy's Nov. 22, 1963, assassination, his
newly installed successor as president, Lyndon Johnson, quickly
submitted a bill to Congress to authorize a redesign of the half dollar.
House of Representatives took up the bill on Dec. 17, 1963. The
legislation sailed through Congress and was signed on December 30,
1963, as Public Law 88-256 (www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/STATUTE-77/STATUTE-77-Pg843-3/content-detail.html).
"In the two months between enactment of the law and minting the
first coins, then-United States Mint Director Eva Adams, appointed by
Kennedy in October 1961, charged Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts and his
protégé, Frank Gasparro, with creating the designs for the new half
dollar, according to the U.S. Mint's website.
"After the assassination, during the final days of 1963,
Roberts joined Adams and former Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon
as Jacqueline Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy examined
a trial strike of the design concept that had originated in connection
with a presidential bronze medal series that Kennedy personally
approved before he died," the website recounts.