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Kennedy Half Dollar Coin Ring
Our third blog in the GET TO KNOW YOUR COIN RING series details the Kennedy Half Dollar history. Our Kennedy Half Dollar Coin Rings were minted between 1965-1969 and are currently on sale. Enjoy learning about these coin rings and nab one while they are still at a special price!
Designers – Gilroy Roberts & Frank Gasparro
Diameter – 30.6 mm
Thickness – 2.15 mm
Edge – Reeded
Composition – 40% silver, 60% copper
Years Minted – 1964 – Present (modern coins have less silver)
The coin that we use for our Kennedy Half Dollar Coin Ring was first minted in 1964 and was intended as a memorial to the assassinated President John F. Kennedy. It was authorized by Congress just over a month after his death. Use of existing artwork by Mint sculptors Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro allowed the coin dies to be prepared quickly. Striking of the new coins began in January 1964.
The silver coins were hoarded upon their release in March 1964 by both coin collectors and people in a memento of the late president. Continued rises in the price of silver increased the hoarding; many early Kennedy half dollars have since been melted for their silver.
Within hours of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Mint Director Eva Adams called Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts to inform him that consideration was being given to depicting Kennedy on one of the larger silver coins. On November 27 the the project was authorized. The late president's widow, Jacqueline Kennedy, chose that he be depicted on the half dollar.
In the interest of time (the striking of the new coin was to begin just two months later in January 1964), Roberts modified an existing bust of Kennedy that he had created, while Frank Gasparro began modifications on one of his own previous designs for the reverse side of the coin.
The Treasury Department made the coins available to the public beginning on March 24, 1964. A line a block long formed at the department's windows in Washington to purchase the 70,000 coins initially allocated for public sale. The department limited sales to 40 per customer, but by the end of the day the coins were gone and the line had not shortened. Banks in Boston and Philadelphia quickly rationed supplies, but still sold out by noon. Sales in New York did not begin until the following day and rationing was imposed there as well. The coins also were popular overseas.
In May 1969, the Treasury sought authorization to eliminate the half dollar's silver content, changing it to the same copper-nickel clad composition as the dime and quarter. The Kennedy Half Dollars that we use for our coin rings were all produced before this change.
Own your own wearable piece of history!
We hope you enjoyed this short history lesson on the Kennedy Half Dollar. You can see our Kennedy Half Dollar Coin Ring by clicking here Kennedy Half Dollar Coin Ring.