History of Silver Kennedy Half Dollars As 1963 ended, there was a strong public outcry in the United States for a coin to honor President John F. Kennedy. Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to issue a half dollar coin bearing President Kennedy's likeness. Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts designed the obverse with a bust of John F. Kennedy, and Frank Gasparro designed the reverse featuring the presidential coat of arms. Since its debut in 1964, these Silver Half Dollars have been a favorite among collectors.
Are 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars real Silver? Many collectors question whether the Half Dollar is Silver. Prior to 1965, the Silver Kennedy Half Dollar was made of a 90% pure Silver alloy. However, from the years 1965 to 1969, the U.S. Mint reduced the amount of Silver content in the Kennedy Half Dollar from 90% to 40%. Then, in 1971, Silver metal content was eliminated from the JFK Half dollar altogether.