Kennedy Half Dollar - Errors and Varieties

Errors and Varieties for the Kennedy Half Dollar

In 1964 Proof Kennedy Half-Dollar Accented Hair Variety
In 1964 Proof Kennedy Half-Dollar Accented Hair Variety. Image Copyright: © 2016 James Bucki; All rights reserved.

The Kennedy half dollar series provides some well known and some obscure mint errors and varieties. Although this series features one of the most popular presidents in United States history, demand for these coins are fairly high but their availability is abundant. Most collectors remember the day in November 1963 when Pres. Kennedy was assassinated. When the coins were released in 1964  people scramble to get a momento of this popular president.

Over 273 million coins were produced at the Philadelphia mint in more than 156 million coins were produced at the Denver mint facility.

The best know is the 1964 Proof Heavily Accented Hair variety. Given the low demand for Kennedy half dollar errors and varieties, most are extremely affordable for collectors of all means.

Kennedy Half Dollar Errors and Varieties

No coin series would be complete without its fair share of mint errors and die varieties. Beginning collectors will want to look carefully as they search their rolls for the following errors and varieties because they carry a premium over the normal market priced specimens.

Here are a few of the more popular errors and varieties:

  • 1964 Proof Heavily Accented Hair
    The hair above Kennedy's hair has a few more incused lines making his hair look more pronounced. Additionally, look at the "I" in LIBERTY. The lower left serif seems to be truncated or missing.
  • 1964 Proof and Circulation Strike Doubled Die
    Look carefully at the words WE TRUST on the obverse of the coin.. You will see a slight doubling near the tops of the letter. It is also sometimes evident on the RTY of the word LIBERTY.  This variety is also found on some 1964-D coins
  • 1968-S Proof Inverted Mintmark
    In 1968 mint marks were punched by hand into the coin dies. The workmen at the mint facility punched the "S" upside down. Normally the upper hook of the S is smaller than the lower hook. In this variety the upper hook is larger than the lower.
  • 1971-D and 1977-D Struck On 40% Silver Clad
    A few of the 40% silver clad planchets used from 1965 to 1970 slipped into regular production lines at the Denver mint in 1971. Silver clad planchets were also used in 1976 to produce the circulating commemorative American Bicentennial half dollars. Once again, some of these silver clad planchets were used to make Kennedy half dollars dated 1977.
  • 1974-D Doubled Die Obverse
    A production error occurred on the obverse die in 1974 that makes the letters look they are doubled. The doubling is especially evident on the letters in TRUST on the obverse.
  • 1979-S Proof Filled S & Clear S
    In the middle of 1979 the obverse hubs for the Kennedy half dollars were replaced. From years of use, the punch used to put the mint mark on the hub became worn and made the mint mark look more like a blob than an "S." The new hub had a mint mark that was much clearer.
  • 1981-S Proof Clear S & Flat S
    Once again in 1981 the hub was redone and the mint mark was less pronounced and more flat.. Additionally, the ends of the hook on the "S" have a bulbous end that is very pronounced.

Next: 2014 50th Anniversary High Relief Clad Kennedy Half-Dollars