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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A 1966 Kennedy Silver Half Dollar-Illustrated

Illustrated below is the obverse and reverse of a U.S.A. Kennedy half dollar. The specifications are given below.

Obverse Image:  John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.
Reverse Image:  Eagle holding an olive branch (peace) and arrows (strength). The thirteen stripes represent the 13 colonies. The horizontal bar across the top represents Congress forming one government from many. Fifty stars representing the fifty states encircle the eagle.
Diameter 30 mm
Metal Composition: 40% silver, 60% copper
Total Weight: 11.5 grams

 First minted in 1964 and intended as a memorial to the assassinated President John F. Kennedy, it was authorized by Congress just over a month after his death. Sculptors were Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro. Striking of the new coins began in January 1964.

 After their release in April 1964, due to collectors, hoarders, and those interested in a memento of the late president,  the coins did not circulate well as currency and although the U.S. Mint greatly increased production, the denomination still failed to circulate. Continued rises in the price of silver increased the hoarding—many early Kennedy half dollars have been melted for their silver. Starting with 1965-dated pieces, the percentage of fine silver was reduced from 90% to 40% (silver clad), to promote their circulation as currency but this still failed to properly introduce the coin.

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