The Kennedy half dollar is a fifty cent coin issued by the U.S. Mint. Intended as a memorial to the assassinated President John F. Kennedy, it was authorized by Congress just over a month after his death. Use of existing works by Mint sculptors Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro allowed dies to be prepared quickly, and striking of the new coins began in January 1964.
The coins vanished from circulation upon their release in March 1964 due to collectors, hoarders, and those interested in a memento of the late president. Although the Mint greatly increased production, they still failed to circulate. Starting with 1965-dated pieces, the percentage of fine silver was reduced from 90% to 40% (silver clad), but even this change failed to restore the coin to circulation.
In 1971, silver was eliminated entirely. A special design for the reverse of the half dollar was issued for the United States Bicentennial and was struck in 1975 and 1976. Even though ample supplies of half dollars are now available, their circulation is extremely limited. Since 2002, Kennedy half dollars have only been struck to satisfy the demand from collectors, and are available at a premium through the Mint. (Full article...) Recently featured: Ontario Highway 416 – Alloxylon flammeum – Rani Mukerji Archive – By email – More featured articles...
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In the news
Russia formally annexes Crimea while the European Union and Ukraine sign an association agreement. Anna Fenninger (pictured) and Marcel Hirscher of Austria win the overall Alpine Skiing World Cup titles. The United States announces that it will relinquish control of the DNS root zone, removing its oversight of ICANN. In rugby union, the Six Nations concludes with Ireland winning the championship. Chiquita and Fyffes agree to a merger that would create the world's largest banana producer. Recent deaths: Fred Phelps – Tony Benn – Bob Crow
More current events... On this day... March 24
1603 – King James VI of Scotland acceded to the thrones of England and Ireland, becoming James I of England and unifying the crowns of the kingdoms for the first time. 1869 – The last of Māori leader Titokowaru's forces surrendered to the New Zealand government, ending his uprising. 1944 – World War II: German occupation troops killed 335 people in Rome as a reprisal for a partisan attack conducted on the previous day against the SS Police Regiment Bozen. 1989 – The tanker Exxon Valdez (pictured) spilled more than 10 million US gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska, causing one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters at sea. 2008 – The Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party, led by Jigme Thinley, won 45 out of 47 seats in the National Assembly of Bhutan in the country's first-ever general election. More anniversaries: March 23 – March 24 – March 25
Archive – By email – List of historical anniversaries It is now March 24, 2014 (UTC) – Reload this page From today's featured list