Ahead of next week’s big launch for the latest 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar product, I wanted to share some photos from my recent visit to the West Point Mint which showcase the production of the 24 karat gold proof and reverse proof silver coins.
For an in depth look at the full range of activities involved in the coin production process at the West Point Mint, please check out my latest article on Coin Update.
These are finished dies for the 24 karat gold proof half dollars. Raw or unfinished dies sent from the Philadelphia Mint undergo a finishing process which involves polishing the dies by hand and by machine, laser frosting, cleaning, and PVD coating.
At the bottom of the image are a pair of unfinished dies for the reverse proof silver half dollar. At the top of the image are the finished dies ready for production.
Here are some 3/4 oz 24 karat gold planchets destined to become Gold Kennedy Half Dollars.
The gold planchets are manually fed and struck three times under 90-95 metric tons of pressure. The die life is approximately 600 coins.
A mint employee inspects one of the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Gold Proof Coins just after it was struck.
Here is a full tray of gold proof half dollars. At the time of the visit to the West Point Mint, production was nearly completed for the 40,000 coins targeted to be ready for the on-sale date.
For the 2014-W Reverse Proof Silver Kennedy Half Dollars, the planchets are automatically fed and struck three times under 145-150 metric tons of pressure. The die life is approximately 1,200 coins.
Here is a close up of the reverse proof silver half dollar. Since this one has been handled, it will go into the reject pile.
The West Point Mint has been striking the reverse proof half dollars for approximately three weeks. The coins will eventually be shipped to another facility where they will be placed together with the Philadelphia proof coin, San Francisco enhanced uncirculated coin, and Denver uncirculated coin to form the complete Silver Coin Collection. The initial production level for the collection, which will represent the third and final 50th anniversary Kennedy product, has not yet been determined.
While some coins which are produced in higher volumes are encapsulated and packaged through automated process using machines, the gold Kennedy Half Dollars are encapsulated by hand.
The packaging process for the gold half dollar is also performed manually. Here are boxes awaiting their coins.
Packaging is done in an assembly line fashion. The packaging consists of a single, custom-designed, brown mahogany hardwood presentation case with removable coin well and certificate of authenticity.
Pallets of the 2014-W Gold Proof Kennedy Half Dollars (product code K15) are packaged, boxed, and ready to go.
Sales will begin next week on August 5, 2014 at 12:00 Noon ET. Anticipating high demand, the United States Mint recently reduced the over-the-counter ordering limit to just one coin per customer. The “online waiting room” will be used to handle the expected influx of traffic to the Mint’s website.
Mint News Blog will provide full coverage of the release next week!
As a final point of interest, the West Point Mint retains the first and last strikes for each coin the facility produces. Shown above is a display of the literal First Strikes of some of this year’s coins.