The Story Behind the 1776-1976 Half Dollar and Its Value Today

The United States Mint has a history of producing some of the most iconic coins in the world. From 1776 to 1976, America’s Half Dollar was one of these coins. In this blog post, we will explore this coin’s value throughout its lifespan and how you can maximize its potential. From hunting for rare specimens to adding them to your investment portfolio, learn all, you need to know about this historic coin in this article.

The 1776 To 1976 Half Dollar

The 1976 half-dollar is unique because it was designed to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. This means that a Kennedy half-dollar will actually have a double date, 1776-1976, rather than just 1976. The double date is present on each 1975–1976 half-dollar coin and has a unique reverse design. So the coin comes in a few different forms.

The regular 1976 half-dollar is composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The coin has a copper core and a nickel coating. However, Congress gave the U.S. Mint permission to mint a half-dollar coin that was covered in silver in 1993. As a result, the 1976 half-dollars contain 60% copper and 40% silver. 

This is comparable to the 1965–1970 half-dollar coins, which also contained 40% silver and 60% copper. But the 1964 half-dollar comprises 90% silver and 10% copper. 

SeriesLocationQuantity Minted
1776-1976 DDenver287,565,248
1776-1976 S ProofSan Francisco7,059,099
1776-1976 S SilverSan Francisco11,000,000
1776-1976 S Silver ProofSan Francisco4,000,000

The 1776 To 1976 Half Dollar Design

 The coin’s weight is 11.34 grams, and the thickness is 2.15 millimeters, with a diameter of 30.6 millimeters. In terms of design, the obverse depicts John F. Kennedy’s left profile. Among the inscriptions are the following:

 Here are some of the inscriptions:

  • Arched over the top of the coin is LIBERTY. Kennedy’s hair hides the letters “B,” “E,” and “R slightly.
  • Under Kennedy’s portrait, there is a straight line with the words “IN GOD WE TRUST.” However, Kennedy’s neck separates the words “God” and “WE.”
  • If present, the mint mark may be a “D” or an “S.” There may be no mint marks at all.
  • Year – 1776-1976

Kennedy was tragically killed in 1963. The redesign of the half-dollar stemmed from the nation’s pain and loss. As a result, it currently displays the president’s late portrait.

The Kennedy half dollars’ obverse sides were created by former U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts. He took inspiration from President Kennedy’s induction medal for his design.

The presidential seal, which includes the well-known eagle, is typically visible on the back side. However, as was already established, the 1976 Kennedy half-dollar features a distinctive design.

 The design on the reverse includes Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. It is a historic site that hosted the second Continental Congress meeting and the Constitutional Convention. It also has 13 little stars right above the denomination. 

The reverse bears the following inscriptions:

  •  The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” are arced at the top.
  • HALF DOLLAR is cradled at the base.
  • 200 YEARS OF FREEDOM is a monument that can be found on Independence Hall’s left side.
  • The United States’ motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM,.
  • INDEPENDENCE HALL is written below Independence Hall.

Seth Huntington won a contest by the U.S. Mint and designed the obverse side of the 1976 commemorative coin.

Common Errors in the Kennedy Half Dollar

The errors with most coins are well-known. They might be a triple die reverse (TDR), a misaligned die error. The die shifted during minting, causing the words and images to double, triple, or quadruple in size. Alternatively, the coin may have a flaw or crack on the face or rim due to a faulty die. It could also be a strikethrough. 

When it happens, a foreign object squeezes between the die and the coin, blurring the pictures. Coins that have been punctured may be ruined by tape, clothing, apron materials, or other items. Let’s first define specific terminology before we discuss typical Kennedy coin errors. The blank used to make coins is called a planchet. A device is an image or a portrait, while a legend is the wording. 

Since the two terms are frequently used interchangeably, it’s possible to get them mixed up, but the rim is the embossed border that surrounds the coin, while the edge is the reeded or smooth side. You should be familiar with both the obverse and reverse because denomination and mint marks are relatively simple terms. The background of the coin is the field. The errors are as follows:

  • Reverse lamination  — The outer silver layer partially pulled away the inner copper layer.
  • DDO — The word “Trust” has a double die visible on the obverse.
  • DDR — The motto “E Pluribus Unum” is visible on the reverse of a double die.
  • Error in die adjustment — The coin seems to be smeared because of insufficient die pressure.
  • Double Struck — The second die was 5% out of alignment.
  •  Brockage  —The reverse and obverse of the coin are mirror images of one another.
  • Broadstrike —- refers to striking the coin above the rim.
  • Double denomination — The coin is made with a planchet of the incorrect size.
  •  20% Clip Error — A portion of the coin was removed during production.
  •  Missing clad — Someone failed to put the top coating of silver on the front of the clad.
  • Strikethrough date — something obscured and smeared the date during minting.

Since so few JFK half dollars were ever used, their condition is generally excellent, and we are less familiar with their errors. Also worth noting is that although there are six different bicentennial coin denominations, only the quarter, a half dollar, and Ike dollar have a special commemorative reverse. The tails on the dimes, nickels, and pennies were preserved.

SEE: 1971 Half Dollar Value

The Value and Grading of 1776 – 1976 Half Dollar

Proof coins are produced to ensure quality. A set is stored in the archive for historical reasons after being used to inspect the die and polish any coin’s design. However, a novice coin dealer can grasp them quickly because of how bright the coins are. Do not rush, though, as glossy-proof half-dollars do not sell for as much as standard half-dollars in uncirculated condition.

This is due to the privilege that proof coins enjoy. They are not made to withstand wear from regular use; instead, they are made to be stashed in a protective case. So, if your grandparents kept their circulated half dollars in a cigar box or sock drawer, they would be in better condition than proof and sell for more money. You can have your coin graded by the NGC and PCGS.

To submit coins to PCGS, the Professional Coin Grading Service, you must be a paying member. The cheapest membership is $69, and coin values range from $30 to more than $300. 

A basic coin assessment at the NGC is free, but if you prefer an in-depth evaluation with a certificate, you’ll need to become a member, which costs $25. Both make use of the Sheldon scale.

With 1 being low and 70 being premium, this method assigns a grade to coins from 1 to 70. Coins in mint state are ranked from MS60 to MS70, while coins in A.U. (About Uncirculated) are classified from AU50 to AU58. The highest rates are offered by mint state coins and proof coins, which are classed as PF60 to PF70. Here are a few JFK coin values that have been confirmed.

GradeMint MarkCompositionPrice
MS 60 ErrorD (Denver)Clad, Die Adjustment Error$172
MS 60 ErrorD (Denver)Clad, 20% Clipped Error$230
MS 61 ErrorD (Denver)Clad, Missing Obverse Error$250
MS 63 ErrorD (Denver)Clad, Off-centre Error$300
PR 64 CameoS (San Francisco)Silver Lamination Mint Error$490
MS 66 ErrorD (Denver)Clad, Double Strike Error$632
MS 66 DDOS (San Francisco)Silver with DDO Error$704
MS 66 ErrorD (Denver)Clad, Double Strike Error$850
PR 67 DDRS (San Francisco)Clad with DDR Error$1,100
MS 67None (Philadelphia)Clad Cupronickel, No Error$2,000
MS 62 ErrorNone (Philadelphia)Clad on a Quarter Planchet$2,500
PR 70DCamS (San Francisco)Silver Proof, No Error$3,700
MS 64 ErrorD (Denver)Clad with Brockage Error$4,465
PR 70 CameoS (San Francisco)Silver Proof, No Error$5,000

SEE: 1971 Half Dollar Value

Where To Buy 1976 Kennedy Half-Dollar?

Coin dealers and collectors always look for rare coins to add value to their collections. In fact, the 1976 half-dollar is a coin that has seen its fair share of appreciation in the numismatic market.

While some dealers may be willing to part with their coins for a lower price than others, it is generally worth more if you can find a dealer willing to do business at an elevated price point. If you want to purchase your own 1976 Kennedy half-dollar, there are a few places you can go.

One option is to visit an online auction site such as eBay or While this route may only sometimes offer the highest prices, it allows you to shop around and compare bids from different sellers.

Another option is to visit a coin or currency dealer specializing in rare coins. These dealers often have access to higher-quality specimens than those found online, and they are also more likely to be willing to give you an honest appraisal of your coin’s worth.

If you cannot find a dealer in your area, you may consider investing in a numismatic third-party evaluation service such as or PCGS Coin Evaluation Services. These services will help you determine the approximate value of your coin and provide you with detailed photos and descriptions of each specimen they have evaluated.

Many factors affect the value of these coins, including inflation, collector demand and the quality of the metal used in their manufacture. As always, research before investing in any coin.

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