Weights of Kennedy half dollars issued in 2014 differ because of the metals used

Readers Ask column from the Dec. 29, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 12/11/14
Text Size

Was is just a coincidence that the diameter of the gold Kennedy half dollar was able to match to diameter of all circulation Kennedy half dollars while meeting all design specs?

Tony Fabisiak  /  Via Email

No coincidence. It’s the magic performed by the design, tooling and production staff at the Philadelphia Mint.

The diameter and thickness of all 13 Kennedy half dollar issued in 2014 — the seven 50th Anniversary coins (one gold, four .900 fine silver and two copper-nickel clad), plus two circulation-quality copper-nickel clad half dollars, two Uncirculated Mint set copper-nickel clad half dollars, and two Proof versions, one .900 fine silver and the other copper-nickel clad — are the same, according to U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White.

The diameter is 30.61 millimeters and the thickness is 2.16 millimeters. Weights, however, differ among the metallic compositions.

The seven 50th Anniversary Kennedy half dollars bear the higher relief rendering from 1964 of John F. Kennedy by Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts.

The remaining six coins employ the flatter relief portrait as seen on the 2013 Kennedy half dollars. 

The Proof 1964–2014 Kennedy gold half dollar weighs 23.328 grams and contains 0.75 troy ounce of .9999 fine gold.

The four .900 fine silver 50th Anniversary half dollars — a Proof coin from the Philadelphia Mint, a Reverse Proof piece from the West Point Mint, an Enhanced Uncirculated coin from the San Francisco Mint and an Uncirculated coin from the Denver Mint — weigh 12.5 grams each. The balance of the composition for each coin is 10 percent copper.

The Proof 2014-S Kennedy silver half dollar from the annual Silver Proof set also weighs 12.5 grams.

All versions of the Kennedy copper-nickel clad half dollars — both for the 50th Anniversary set and for the Mint’s regular Kennedy half dollar offerings — are struck on planchets made of outer layers of 75 percent copper, 25 percent nickel bonded to a core of pure copper. Each coin weighs 11.5 grams.

You are signed in as:null

Please sign in or join to share your thoughts on this story

No comments yet