Producing 24 Karat Gold and Reverse Proof Silver Kennedy Half Dollars

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.

2014 24 Karat Gold Proof Kennedy Half Dollar coin dies

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.

2014-W Reverse Proof Silver Kennedy Half Dollar coin dies

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.

24 karat 3/4 oz gold planchets

Here are some 3/4 oz 24 karat gold planchets destined to become Gold Kennedy Half Dollars.

striking the 24 karat gold Kennedy Half Dollar

The gold planchets are manually fed and struck three times under 90-95 metric tons of pressure. The die life is approximately 600 coins.

inspecting the gold half dollar

A mint employee inspects one of the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Gold Proof Coins just after it was struck.

tray of 2014-W Gold Proof Kennedy Half Dollars

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.

striking the silver reverse proof Kennedy Half Dollar

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.

2014-W Reverse Proof Silver Kennedy Half Dollar in hand

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.

tray of reverse proof silver half dollars

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.

placing gold coins in capsules

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.

packaging for gold Kennedy Half Dollars

The packaging process for the gold half dollar is also performed manually. Here are boxes awaiting their coins.

assembly line packaging of gold half dollars

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.

pallet of K15 US Mint product

Pallets of the 2014-W Gold Proof Kennedy Half Dollars (product code K15) are packaged, boxed, and ready to go.

reverse proof gold half dollar in packaging

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!

Real, Actual First Strike Coins

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.

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  1. GoldFishin says

    @Steve – I agree with you….a lot of these will be bought on CC’s and folks will need to get money back quick! If panic selling kicks in we may see a lot of bloodletting. I am thinking of getting 3, but same thinking as you. If only 5% of the produced 40,000 hit the Bay we are talking 2000 coins all hitting at the same time. We aren’t talking $50 coins here.

  2. Sith says

    I will get one to flip, and get mine later. if it does not work out I will have a nice coin. I can’t pass this coin up, the silver Kennedy’s are going to get wild.

  3. VA Bob says

    Samuel, they might be, but I doubt if the planchets received any TLC. Seems they grabbed them from a big pile, shoveled them into the coin hoppers and started striking them. I realize it’s a low cost item, but for $1 face the remaining $8.95 could have bought a little special handing IMO.

  4. Pittsburgh P says

    GF I’m thinking about getting 2 but will probably keep em both unless they are selling for a huge premium when I get them-then I’ll sell one, Doubtful though. Like you I’d like to make sure to get at least one good one just in case or I’d just get one even though I’ve had good luck it seems from the mint.

    Hawkster yeah I know that the ones in rolls & bags are slightly circulated but that’s why I got the unc set… 2cents where do you see it that the mint says they are different finishes?

  5. Pittsburgh P says

    2cents I saw you said in the mints description sry missed it the first time… Are you talking about the annual mint unc set or the anniversary set?

  6. Pittsburgh P says

    Sry again… Phones not refreshing quick enough & posted before seeing your reply

  7. says

    I previously posted “This is how I am playing the Kennedy rollout.
    Zero Clads for $9.95
    Zero Silvers for $99.95
    5 Golds if mintage is under 100k, 3 if under 150k, Zero if it is unlimited, window, mint-to-demand. ”

    I do NOT think what the Mint will be doing is “unlimited, window, or mint-to-demand”, Thus I will be in for max 5 and Hope that the Mint will do the Right thing and pull the plug before Mintage gets to a bullion stage…

  8. Pittsburgh P says

    Cag I hope your right, good luck.

    Thx 2cents, never saw that before but like you said alot of people will overlook that but many will have to have all 13.

  9. says

    PP, You bet. If you ever take them out of the blisters and look at them side by side you WILL see the difference. Can’t get them graded though, not that I would want to.

    The problem for me as only an old time coin collector is that there is no vehicle in which to store all the varieties of the JFK, e.g. Dansco, etc don’t provide for many of them.

  10. Clark says

    I have to admit that after all the clad BHoF duds I received and returned en masse, my expectation for these P&D Kennedy 50th Anniv clads was low. But after seeing all 5 sets that arrived today, I am very impressed. There have to be a couple proof-like grades among my allotment. Like others here, my Ds had more visible flaws than the Ps, which was also true with my BHoF clads. Now on to tomorrow’s dog-eat-dog race for the golds…a day that will make numismatic history. Good luck to all.

  11. says

    cagcrisp, The Mint has said that they would adjust as they see what happens. It’s hard to say exactly what public reaction will be until the noon hour begins tomorrow, but I do see a lot of divided opinions on this offering and not a tremendously large outpouring of excitement. Personally, I like what I see and therefore I’m in the same mindset as you. Equating.

  12. VA Rich says

    Dusty – ahh, but you know of all the enthusiasm and excitement that High Noon will bring tomorrow!

    We’ve seen it all before…, wasn’t that long ago the rhetoric here towards the first ever US Mint curved coin aligned with a baseball theme was questionable, and no one out here accurately predicted how that would play out up, ok, well except for VABB. Though the majority was way off and we ALL missed predicting the ensuing 45 days following release.

    There’s always something to be said for a classic design, where will the classic collector be on this one? Good luck everyone tomorrow.., gonna be exciting and a great day!

  13. GoldFishin says

    @Pitt P. – just looked at my Silver Unc.’s HOF that I received today. They are absolutely flawless and look as good, if not better than the First I received in April. If you put the old ones(which I think you said you sold) side by side with these, the obverses are very similar, but the reverse on the ones I received today are much more shiny or more proof like than the early ones. So cool, I will have to keep these for sure since I only have two.

    I have a question though, on both of mine I have something that looks like may a die crack or some kind of separation ” kind of like you would see with old “V nickels”. It is small but in the same place on both coins. On the glove side to the left of the forefinger about 4-5 leather stitches going to the left between the glove tip and the rim of the coin. I was wondering if anyone else had this on their recent unc. coins. You need at least 5x to see it, but 10x is better. After further review, sort of looks like a nose hair. :=)

  14. Bob R says

    My thoughts on this is since the household limit at 5 units with 40k ready to go there should be very little demand on the secondary market…I really don’t believe the premium to be much over mint price…It will be fun to watch. I will buy 5 and put them on the bay for say $1400, if the don’t sell in 5 days I will return them back to the mint…that’s my game plan.

  15. says

    @Dustyroads, The Problem I have with what the Mint has stated is that the Mint Probably Already knows what they are going to do under various scenarios . We do not. The Mint does and so that means that Some others Probably know and they can make decisions based on those scenarios. We just have to guess and not playing on a level playing field always causes a little concern…

    Markets don’t like uncertainty and I don’t either….

  16. GoldFishin says

    @Bob R- where is the profit in buying a coin @$1240 and selling it for $1400, even if you have an Ebay store it will cost about $150 in fees and shipping costs. If you can’t sell it for $1500 or more, why bother? Just saying.

  17. says

    Pittsburgh P,

    I’m with you in regard to having the regular 2014 P & D Kennedy clads come from the Mint uncirculated sets. They provide much better specimens than the bagged or rolled examples. The uncirculated sets do not seem to be as popular as they once were with collectors, but I’ve picked up a set every year since the beginning of the state quarters series in 1999.

  18. sharks2th says

    If gold gets back on the downward trend as it has been going over the past week or so, those flippers could “make” another 37.50 each on the gold by waiting for the gold average to drop below 1250 . The earliest this drop could occur would be next Wednesday as we all know. Gold seems to be on a downward trend lately due to the strength of the stock market over the past few months. I hope it drops some more to lower the price of the K gold, like it did with the eagles back in June when the average was below 1250.

  19. sharks2th says

    Wednesday of next week, to clarify on the possibility of a lower gold average. This week will most likely remain in the same range of 1250-1300.

  20. says

    VA Rich, Have you checked the annuals at the Mint web site? I mentioned the dollar set being on back order a couple times, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I guess there’s not much excitement over the GB2 Silver unc. going. This has been way too long in coming, but glad it’s finally happening. Last year I bought several PCGS MS70’s for around $62.00 each, they should be worth over a hundred soon. Anyway, I think you have some of your own, so you doing good. You should have been on the Island with us a couple weeks ago, it was all good!

  21. Hidalgo says

    @Steve – another option… If you plan to keep one of your coins, you can buy one gold Kennedy in original packaging from the US Mint and one PCGS MS70 First Strike gold Kennedy from a retailer.


    Steve says
    AUGUST 4, 2014 AT 8:09 PM

    I think I’m buying 2 gold Kennedy’s tomorrow. If the resale market is weak I can sell one and get my money back and keep the other. If the market is hot I can flip both right away and pick up another later. Buying more than 2 is too risky IMO. If the market is soft flippers who bought 5 will be panic selling and lose their arse.

  22. VA Rich says

    Dusty – I did, I checked in disbelief ~ thanks for posting! Not meet with much fan fare, ehh? Almost every day this year I had been checking and gave up on Friday, shoulda gave up much sooner. Think you put me on some good buys this time last year, and yes, hope we do well in due time. Bet there’s less sets made this year!

    Regarding your million dollar question, the best I can come up with involves a dart, and wall calendar. One would have to presume that the mint realizes they will have likely captured appx. 70% of sales by Sunday evening. Then through watching the daily sales rate next week, say it’s 250 or 500 units/day, roll that number to where they would like to end given what their planchet/packaging vendors can support without drawing shipping out (again), add 5-6,000 units for the last days spike and whaa laa! Like I said, got a dart? Michael’s sales number this evening will tell a lot.

    Enjoy that little piece of heaven down there!

  23. GMS says

    The line for the Kennedys is around the corner or the building. My hotel is across the street and the line started forming in the middle of the night and at 5:00am the line is huge! Just FYI!

  24. VA Rich says

    Good luck GMS! Keep up posted!

    The .xls file hasn’t made it out for this week, has it? Was hoping to see a healthy bump in the BHoF clads

  25. Jake says

    Well hope all those people in line are registered and have a badge because if not they will be kicked out if line

  26. Pittsburgh P says

    Goldfishin yeah I did sell all the silver BHoF silvers I got from the first ave of shipments. that’s why I was relieved to get such great specimens from this last shipment since I’m going to keep these. Glad to hear you got flawless ones also. I didn’t see the possible die crack on any of mine but will take a closer look & get back to you if I see anything.

    Hawkster yeah the annual JFK unc set doesn’t seemed to be as popular as it was but like you I try to get at least one & the S mark silver either in one of the silver proof sets or on the secondary market.

  27. thePhelps says

    Looking forward to the news of the day! Will be watching to read what the lines look like at the convention, as well as actively following the blog today for updates on the waiting room! I won’t be in any lines – other than maybe to take a brief spot in the waiting room to see what delays and activity is like there.

    Good luck to those in Chicago and the online buyers!

  28. mgm says

    My brother went down to the Denver mint. He texted me this:

    They had a pre-sign up list and check in list. I did not know anything about it. I got down there at 5 and there was no way. Went home.

    I’m going home and ordering on-line.

    There was some type of number draing from the list. Well over 500 people down there by 5.

  29. jeff says

    Once the initial frenzy is over for the gold this will be a bust imo. As may have alluded to after the first week these will fizzle out bad. I’m on the side lines until the silvers

  30. Clark says

    Thanks for the intel, mgm. Of all today’s physical sales venues, I expected Denver to be the least active. Your report suggests that even in that sleepy cow town, where I lived for eight years, interest is extremely high.

    I respect opinions that this will be just a passing fad with initial frenzy followed by a dramatic loss of interest, but I respectfully disagree. I expect to see huge initial sales followed by sustained sales in record numbers first at the Mint and later from secondary retailers. Don’t say we didn’t tell you ; )

  31. JOE #2 says

    Hardly anyone buys for the COIN anymore. Who President KENNEDY was. Just flippers now. How sad. People just want to buy the STICKER And the nonsense fs/er..

  32. joseph says

    My thoughts on this is since the household limit at 5 units with 40k ready to go there should be very little demand on the secondary market…I really don’t believe the premium to be much over mint price…It will be fun to watch. I will buy 5 and put them on the bay for say $1400, if the don’t sell in 5 days I will return them back to the mint…that’s my game plan.

    I know Bob R already lose money, $1400 MINUS EBAY+PAYPAL FEE MINUS SHIPPING AND INSURANCE = LESS $1200.


  33. says

    Pittsburgh P,

    Sure, it’s not only true that the Mint uncirculated sets provide the best examples of the clad Kennedys, but also the other coins such as the ATB quarters. Anyone putting together a P&D album would be wise to use the coins from the set, not the rolls.

  34. says

    Mint BHOF excel spreadsheet update for 08/03/14:

    Gold proof BHOF 32,963 down 6
    Gold unc. 18,459 up 7
    Silver proof 280,967 down 866
    Silver unc. 146,101 down 187
    Clad proof 205,450 up 2,803
    Clad unc. 130,529 up 302
    Young Collector 13,908 up 13,908

    Gold BHOF oversold 1,422
    Silver BHOF oversold 27,068

  35. says


    Hey, you’re right. Sometimes it’s just not worth the energy and aggravation one has to go through in an attempt to profit off the Kennedy golds

  36. says

    2014 50TH ANNIVERSARY HALF DOLLAR UNCIRCULATED Sold 13,062 last week.

    First 12 hours of Sales = 68,974
    Total Sales for 10.5 days = 97,655

  37. says

    It is said in Golf you can not win a tournament the First day but you can lose it the First day. The Guesstimates Winner will be lost or won Today. Big number guesser Better get a Big number today and Little number guessers Better get a Low number today…

    @Clark, I agree with your sentiment. The Only ? I have is When does the Mint pull the plug. If they let this puppy roll is going to be a Big number…

    Today will be a Big number not matter what…

    For those that will be in the Waiting Room, If you get hit by some Elbows, It’s going to be me…

  38. Hidalgo says

    A few thoughts…..

    * I wish everyone much luck and success when ordering their gold Kennedy half dollars today.

    * It’s amazing that folks will pay high prices for a Third Party Grading (TPG) company’s label. Since all PCGS and NGC –70 /–69 coins should be identical in quality (ideally), the only difference in secondary market values can be attributed to the labels. The highest premiums, in descending order, are coins with the following labels: 1) ANA Convention, 2) “First Strike” (FS) or “Early Release” (ER), and 3) those without the FS or ER designation.

    * Since 40,000 gold Kennedy half dollars are readily available, I question if these coins will command prices as high as the Baseball Hall of Fame (BHOF) gold coins (in the short- and long-term). I believe the initial supply of gold BHOF coins was lower than 40,000. Also, the maximum mintage of the gold BHOF coins was limited to 50,000. The “mint to demand” Kennedy half dollars will likely have a much higher mintage.

    * When speculating on a coin’s secondary market value, it’s always important to balance risks versus rewards. How much are you willing to spend for an unknown amount of profit? It’s a tough decision…. We’ll find out where prices will stabilize in the weeks (maybe months) to come.

    Good luck to all!

  39. GMS says

    They took the 500 chosen few to the special waiting room and told everyone to disperse and come back tomorrow. There were approximately 1100 in line by the police estimates.

  40. M says

    Interesting pics but the atmosphere for making these proof coins is not very controlled. Lots of exposed hair, arms, faces close to the coins. One sneeze and you get the white spots after a silver coin is slabbed an graded a PR70. In the 1970’s The Franklin Mint had a “clean” room for striking their medals and coins of the realm. The quality was perfect. No spots, hairs, blemishes…still to this days some of the finest minted pieces around.

  41. Laurence Ramos says

    I went to the show to get my 2014 Gold Kennedy, I called ahead to see what was going on and the mint told me that no one would be able to get in line until 11:00 AM Chicago time. The US mint also told me that the uncirculated set would not be available at the show.

    I got to the show at 8 AM and found the coin was sold out. Apparently the mint acknowledged everyone standing in line and gave out numbers on everyone’s hand. The dealers brought bus loads of people at 1:00 to stand in line for them. Some people were getting paid 1,000. to stand in line all 4 days of the show.

    I guess you expect the US mint to screw up everything. The US mint caused a lot of people to waste time and get in dangerous situations. I got no coin for traveling 12 hours trying to add the gold coin to my complete set. I got to the show 2 hours before they opened. I spent two hotel nights trying to get my con too.

    The mint did sell the two piece set uncirculated set, I bought mine at 10:30 and they didnt care if I had previous I bought any of the two sets of the uncirculated sets they just sold me two sets. But I did see a glimpse of the 3/4 ounce coin.

    I believe the mint doesnt care about getting the coins into collectors hands. and the household limit is a joke. Why make coin shows a release date for new coins to prompt greedy dealers to scam out the general public? Why put a household limit on new coins and never check out who is buying the coins? Why state that no one can get in line until 11:00 if you don’t honor the rules? I missed out on the Kennedy gold release and paid over 500.00 for a two piece Kennedy uncirculated set.

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