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Kennedy Half Dollars
 
 
The Kennedy Half Dollar was first struck in 1964 as a tribute to President
John F. Kennedy following his assassination in Dallas, Texas, on November 22,
1963.  Although it is seldom seen in circulation, the Kennedy Half Dollar is one
of the most beloved of all United States coins and is also one of the most popular
U.S. coins with collectors around the world.  Due to the lack of demand for
circulating coins, the Kennedy Half Dollar has not been made for circulation
since 2001.  Starting in 2002, coins were made only for collectors.
 
 
Kennedy was a hero of World War II, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and an accomplished member of Congress before defeating Vice President Richard
Nixon in 1960 to become 35th President of the United States.  He was
inaugurated on January 20, 1961, and his greatest achievements were the
pursuit of civil rights and encouraging Americans to reach the moon.  
 
 
Almost immediately after his assassination, the U.S. Mint prepared to honor
Kennedy on a coin.  The obverse portrait of Kennedy by Gilroy Roberts was first
used on Kennedy’s official presidential medal that was issued by the U.S. Mint. 
The design was personally approved by his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy,
and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy.  The reverse depicts the Presidential seal
by Frank Gasparro.  
 
 
The first Kennedy Half Dollars were released to the public on March 24, 1964. 
The 1964 coin was the first and only coin in the series minted in .900 silver for
circulation.  From 1964 to 1970 it was struck in .400 silver, and from 1971 onwards
it was struck in copper-nickel.