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What You Need to Know About the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar holds a special place in American numismatic history, marked by its connection to President John F. Kennedy and its unique variations. From the early Denver Mint editions to the rare SMS (Special Mint Set) and Proof versions, collectors and enthusiasts cherish these coins for their historical significance and rarity. Let’s delve into the intriguing world of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars and uncover why these coins remain highly sought after.

Introduction to 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar was introduced to honor President John F. Kennedy following his tragic assassination in 1963. Designed by Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro, these coins were struck in both regular circulation and special editions, each carrying its own unique features and values. Let’s explore the significant varieties and their impact on coin collecting.

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

Major Varieties of 1964-D Kennedy Half Dollar

The Denver Mint’s initial production in 1964 yielded several notable error coins, making them highly desirable among collectors. Varieties such as the Repunched Mintmark (1964-D/D FS-502), Doubled Die Obverses (DDO), Tripled Die Obverses (TDO), and the rare Quadrupled Die Obverse (QDO) are particularly valued for their distinct characteristics and scarcity.

1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollar: Rarity and Value

Among the rarest variations is the 1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollar, known for its satin finish and sharp strike. With only a few authenticated examples by NGC and PCGS, these coins fetch significant prices at auctions, highlighting their scarcity and collector appeal.

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

Accented Hair Proof: A Collector’s Gem

The Accented Hair Proof, struck early in production, features a unique portrayal of President Kennedy’s profile. Initially, Jacqueline Kennedy suggested subtle changes to the hair design, resulting in a limited mintage of these proofs. Despite being less rare than the SMS version, they remain highly sought after by collectors for their historical significance.

President Kennedy’s Peace Tour and Commemorative Medals

President Kennedy’s 1963 Peace Tour of Europe left a lasting impact, commemorated through special Presidential Medals designed by Gilroy Roberts. These medals, distributed to honor peace-making leaders across Europe and Native American tribes, reflect Kennedy’s commitment to global diplomacy and peace initiatives

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar


Coin Act of 1965 and Legacy

Following the introduction of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar, subsequent legislative actions such as the Coin Act of 1965 significantly altered U.S. coinage. This act aimed to address coin shortages and reduce hoarding by modifying the composition of circulating coins. Kennedy Half Dollars minted after 1965 saw a reduction in silver content, shifting to a base metal composition, which impacted their value and collector interest.



The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar series encapsulates a poignant moment in American history, commemorating President John F. Kennedy’s legacy and enduring popularity among collectors worldwide. Whether exploring the rare 1964-D varieties, the elusive SMS editions, or the timeless Accented Hair Proofs, each coin tells a story of innovation, commemoration, and numismatic intrigue. These coins continue to fascinate collectors and historians alike, serving as tangible reminders of a pivotal era in American politics and numismatic evolution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars

1. Why are 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars so valuable?

  • 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars are highly valued due to their association with President Kennedy, their silver content, and the various rare varieties such as the SMS editions and Accented Hair Proofs. Their historical significance and limited mintages contribute to their collectible appeal.

2. What are the rarest varieties of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar?

  • The rarest varieties include the 1964 SMS Kennedy Half Dollar, with only a few known examples, and the Accented Hair Proof, which was struck in limited quantities due to Jacqueline Kennedy’s design revisions. Additionally, error coins like the 1964-D Doubled Die Obverses (DDO) and other mintmark varieties are highly sought after.

3. How can I determine the value of my 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar?

  • The value of a 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar depends on factors such as its condition (mint state), rarity, and current market demand. Professional coin grading services like NGC and PCGS can provide accurate assessments based on these factors.

4. Were all 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars made of silver?

  • Yes, the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars were originally minted with 90% silver content and 10% copper. This high silver content contributes to their higher intrinsic value compared to later compositions of the coin.

5. Where can I buy or sell 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars?

  • You can buy or sell 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars through reputable numismatic dealers, online auction platforms, coin shows, and specialized coin shops. Ensure authenticity and quality by dealing with certified dealers or using grading services.

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