Today, February 13, 2014 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of circulating quality 2014 Kennedy Half Dollars packaged in bags and rolls. The product release may see some increased attention due to the 50th anniversary of the series and various special products the US Mint will offer later this year.
The Kennedy Half Dollar was introduced in 1964, shortly following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The series had been authorized by an Act of Congress and cut short the statutory 25-year length of the previous Franklin Half Dollar series. The obverse design for the new coin was created by Gilroy Roberts based on Kennedy’s inaugural medal. The reverse design was created by Frank Gasparro after the Presidential Seal. A large portion of the initial mintage was hoarded by the public, who were eager to obtain a memento of the fallen President. The decline of usage for the half dollar denomination in circulation has been attributed to the public’s continued hoarding of the coins as a special keepsake.
Since 2002, the half dollar has not been produced for distribution to circulation, however production of the coins has continued each year in limited numbers. The coins have been distributed solely within numismatic bags, rolls, and other United States Mint products to satisfy demand from collectors.
The products released today include circulating quality 2014 Kennedy Half Dollar struck at the Philadelphia or Denver Mints. A two roll set includes one 20-coin roll from each mint and is priced at $32.95 per set. A 200-coin bag includes 100 coins from each mint and is priced at $139.95 per bag. These prices are unchanged from the levels of the prior year.
The mint wrappers or the canvas bags include the “P” and/or “D” mint mark, the date, and the face value of the contents.
There are no stated mintage or product limits. The US Mint indicates that the products will be available for one year from the initial on-sale date or until inventory is depleted prior to the one-year timeframe.
Circulating coin production figures for January 2014 indicate that the Philadelphia Mint has struck 2.5 million half dollars and the Denver Mint has struck 2.1 million half dollars. It is always possible that additional production may take place during the course of the year, particularly if demand is strong for the numismatic bags and rolls.
Other Kennedy Half Dollar News
Last year, the initial production for circulating quality 2013 Kennedy Half Dollars had been 1.8 million coins each at the Philadelphia and Denver Mint facilities. This was roughly in line with the prior year production and close to the typical demand for the coins as issued within numismatic bags and rolls.
In November 2013, the US Mint had unexpectedly struck another 3.2 million and 2.8 million half dollars at the Philadelphia and Denver facilities, respectively. Shortly after the mysterious production, a representative for the Mint said that they could offer no explanation as to why the additional coins were struck. Recently, Dave Harper uncovered the answer.
Apparently, the Mint had struck the additional half dollars after receiving an order for the denomination from the Federal Reserve. This would have been the first order for the half dollar in more than a decade. However, soon after the order was placed, it was cancelled. Presumably, the US Mint still has the 6 million additional 2013-dated half dollars. At this point, it is uncertain what will happen to them.
This week the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee had a chance to discuss the US Mint’s potential 2014 24 karat Gold Kennedy Half Dollar, which may be offered as a special product to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the series. Full coverage of the discussion can be found on Coin Update News.
Some topics included in the discussion were whether the coin should carry the single “2014” date or a dual date of “1964-2014” and whether the weight should be raised to one troy ounce. One member brought up the possibility of someone potentially gold plating half dollars to simulate the US Mint’s 24 karat gold product. Others suggested moving the mint mark location from the front to the original position on the reverse, or including the precious metal fineness on the reverse or edge of the coin.
At this point, no final decisions have been made about the product. The US Mint will be looking at the results of a survey distributed to customers.
Plans do seem to have coalesced for lower priced numismatic products to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Half Dollar. There will reportedly be a four coin set with coins from the Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point Mints with each coin carrying a different finish. A clad version would be available priced at approximately $15 and a silver set would be available priced at approximately $100.