1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Value (Mint Errors, SMS & More)

Old coins with historical significance have always been an attraction for coin collectors. And that makes the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar special and valuable for them! Minted in 1964 as a tribute to the 35th president of the USA, John F. Kennedy, these coins are the first of the Kennedy coin series!

Besides the sentimental notions, the 1964 Kennedy coin displays unique features, errors, & variations that hike its price in the market. So, are you interested in knowing an old 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar value? This ultimate guide is all you need!

Key Takeaways

  • The Kennedy Half Dollar coins were initiated in 1964 in memory of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. 
  • The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars are the only coins Kennedy Half Dollars with a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper. 
  • Mint state Kennedy Half coins with a 65+ grade can be priced as much as $5,000. 

Brief History of the 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollars

  • 1963: The 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. The Congress proposed minting the Kennedy coins as the memorial to JFK, designed by two US Mint engravers. 
  • 1964: The first Kennedy coins, the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar coins, were first minted with the original composition of 90% silver and 10% copper.
  • 1965: The coin’s composition was changed to 40% silver and 60% copper because of expensive metals. 
  • 1970: The Kennedy Half Dollars were now made of 75% copper and 25% nickel, the composition we see in modern half-dollar coins. 
1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Key Facts
Material (Composition)Silver (90%) and Copper (10%)
Minting Location Philadelphia 
Year of Minting 1964
Weight12.5 grams (Approx.)
Diameter30.6 mm
DesignerGilroy Roberts (Obverse)Frank Gasparro (Reverse)
Face Value$0.5
Mint MarksNo Mint Mark“D” Mint Mark (Denver Mint)
Total Mintage433,460,212
History of 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Coin

How to Spot a 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar (Design Features)

An interesting fact about the 1964 Kennedy Half is that it was designed by two different engravers. While the coin’s front design is inspired by JFK’s Presidential Medal, its back design is carved based on Kennedy’s Presidential Seal!

1. Obverse or Heads Design:

The obverse (front or heads) of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar coin was designed by Gilroy Roberts. You’ll find the following design on the front:

  • The left-profile cameo of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy
  • “LIBERTY” written on the upper-half edge of the obverse with distant letters
  • “IN GOD” carved on the left side, and “WE TRUST” is carved on the right side of the president’s profile 
  • President’s hair covering the lowermost part of the letters “B,” “E,” and “R” of Liberty
  • The Mint date written along the bottom edge beneath the profile
  • Obverse sculptor Gilroy Roberts’ monogram “GR” inscribed on the president’s neck
  • A soft smile on the president’s face

2. Reverse or Tails Design:

The following design features appear on the reverse (back or tails) of the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar coin, designed by Frank Gasparro:

  • Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s presidential seal
  • A heraldic eagle with open wings right at the center
  • A shield (symbol of on the eagle’s chest/body
  • An olive branch (symbol of peace) in eagle’s right claw and a bunch of 13 arrows (symbol of war) in the left claw
  • 50 stars (symbol of all 50 states) forming a circle carved around the eagle 
  • Face value “HALF DOLLAR” inscribed around the lower edge of the reverse
  • “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” relief carved along the upper-half edge
  • Reverse designer Frank Gasparro’s initials “FG” written below the eagle’s left talon

3. Coin Composition & Measurements:

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Coin Composition

The first 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar coins of the Kennedy Half Dollar series were purely made of 90% silver and 10% copper. And that’s why these coins are special than the others.

The latter Kennedy Hald Dollars, minted after 1964, were all made of the mixed composition of 40% silver and 60% copper and later 75% copper and 25% nickel, which are common to date!

The coins weigh around 12.5 grams, with a thickness of 2.15 mm and a diameter of 30.6 mm. The coin has a reeded edge with 159 reeds, making it attractive!

4. Special Identifying Mint Marks:

1. The 1964 D Kennedy Half Dollar Coins: The Kennedy coins minted by Denver Mint can be identified by the tiny mint mark “D,” which you can spot on the reverse side, right below the olive branch stem in the eagle’s right talon. 

1964-D Kennedy Half Dollar

2. The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Coins: The 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollar coins minted in Philadelphia do not bear any unique mint mark. Even the proof coins minted by the Philadelphia Mint don’t have any special marking. 

5. 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Variations:

1. Accented Hair Variation: Engraver Gilroy Roberts was inspired by John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Medal to design the Half Dollar’s obverse. But, based on the late president’s brother’s suggestions, a few changes were made to JFK’s hairstyle on the obverse.

Around 100,000 coins were minted with this varied hairstyle, which collectors interestingly seek today. You can spot the 1964 Kennedy Accented Hair coins by ornate carving on JFK’s hairstyle with high relief.

The Accented Hair Kennedy Halves can cost up to $1,300 for a 65+ grade, certified by coin grading services.

2. SMS (Special Mint Set) Variation: Another rare variation is the 1964 SMS Kennedy Halves, part of a very small minted set. Although these coins feature no special marking or change, they can be spotted by their satin finish, well-defined strikes, visible die-polishing lines, and no contact marks on the surface. 

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar SMS Coin Price

4 Factors to Value the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

Let’s discuss the crucial factors that decide the value of old 1964 Kennedy Halves in detail!

1. Condition and Grading

The value of an old 1964 Kennedy Half depends largely, in fact, mostly, on its grading. While the low good state to mint state (MS 60) coins will only cost up to $40 – $50, the MS 65+ grade coins can go up to hundreds or even thousands.

Here’s a 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar value chart based on grading:

Coin’s Condition/Coin’s NameFeatures1964 Kennedy Half Dollar (No Mint)1964 D Kennedy Half Dollar 
Good to Very Fine (VF)No die lines, smooth jaw, cheekbone, & hair of the president (obverse), worn out arrows & olive branches (reverse)$0 – $10$1 – $10
Extremely Fine (XF) to Mint State (MS 65)Contact marks, minor blemishes & spots, slight scratches, or wear marks on high reliefs like JFK’s neck, cheekbone, etc. $11 – $40$15 – $55
MS 65+ Graded or UncirculatedMint state luster, minimum or no contact marks, intact shine, die lines, & reliefs$50 – $5,500$130 – $6,000

2. The 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollar Proof Coin

In 1964, the Philadelphia Mint produced over 3.95 million Proof Kennedy Half Dollar coins. Since the mintage of proof coins is also quite much, only high-grade proof coins can fetch good returns.

For instance, the 1964 Proof Kennedy Halds Dollar with a grading of over 65 can cost as much as $3,000.

Here’s what a Proof Kennedy Half Dollar looks like:

  • Deep cameo contrast
  • Ornate details in hair or Accented Hair
  • Well-highlighted face (front)
  • Shiny surface

3. Unique Errors in 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Fact

While a new coin with a minting error may not be desirable, old vintage coins with such errors attract many eyes. Below are some special 1964 Kennedy Half errors that can greatly hike their values:

1. Re-punched Mint (RPM) Error: This error is found in the Denver-minted 1946 D Kennedy coins. The mint mark “D” was punched twice or more in some coins, making it bolder and more pronounced. Although relatively common, collectors will pay a decent sum for high-graded mint state Kennedy halves with this error. 

2. Quadruple Die Obverse Error: While the DDO (Double Die Obverse) error is common in 1964 Kennedy coins, the Quadruple Die Obverse (QDO) error with the obverse minted four times is extremely rare. 

So, if you see a 1964 Kennedy Half with letters & digits punched four times over one another, consider it a valuable coin!

3. The 25-Cent Planchet Error: This is one of the most unique and rarest errors of the 1964 Kennedy Halves. This anomaly is caused when a 25-cent coin planchet is used to mint the Kennedy Half Dollar coin, partially cutting the outer letters. 

Mint State 1964 Kennedy Halves of even 60-65 grades with this error have been sold for up to $4,000 in the past! Precious, right?

4. 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Coin Mintage & Rarity

Due to the high mintage of the 1964 Kennedy Halves, this coin isn’t worth much money in the coin market, not even in a normal 65-grade mint state. But the ones with 67 or 67+ grade coins are difficult to find and can fetch good thousands of dollars.

Similarly, the mintage of the Denver minted 1964 Kennedy coins was over 156 million, making even the “D” marked coins quite common and, hence, less valuable.

1964 Kennedy Half Dollar Coins Mintage
1964 Kennedy Half Dollar 277,254,766
1964 D Kennedy Half Dollar156,205,446

How to Spot a Fake 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar?

With thousands of 1964 Kennedy Half counterfeits, knowing which one is an AUTHENTIC coin can get a bit challenging.

The fake 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar coins can be easily spotted by grading services. But you can also identify one by these fake features:

  • Textured and pixelated surface on the president’s profile/bust
  • Thick & blurry lettering on the obverse and reverse
  • “S” mint mark on the 1964 Kennedy Halves, as there were no such coins ever minted
  • No “FG” or “GR” marks 
  • Different coin weight
  • Modified composition (not entirely silver)

A real Kennedy Half Dollar will not bear any of the above features, making them real and valuable!

What makes the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars valuable?

The 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar coins with minting errors, like a re-punched mint mark and quadruple die obverse, are quite valuable and may cost up to a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

Are all 1964 Kennedy half-dollars silver?

Yes, the first series of the Kennedy Halves – the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars are all made of silver, with the original composition of 90% silver and 10% copper. This composition is one of the key identification features of the 1964 Kennedy coin.

If you have some old 1964 coins, there’s a chance you have a 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar. And if you do, you can easily find its estimated value based on its unique features and anomalies using my guide. And join me to explore some other rare old coins worth money now!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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