1971 Half Dollar Value

There are a lot of things that 1971 holds dear in the world of coin collecting. For Numismatists, it was the year that the United States decimal currency system went into effect. It was also the year the half-dollar made its first appearance in circulation.

1971 Half Dollar Value

In this blog post, we will explore what happened to the value of these coins in 1971 and how you can capitalize on this information to help grow your hoard. We will also share tips for spotting rare coins from this year and some valuable pieces you may have yet to consider.

Why Was 1971 Half Dollar Minted?

A few months after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, the U. S. Mint first issued the Kennedy half-dollar in 1964. After this beloved president was assassinated, the country was in mourning. To replace the design of the Franklin Half Dollar with one honoring President John F. Kennedy, Congress swiftly passed Public Law 88-256

Gilroy Roberts created the portrait of John F. Kennedy on the obverse, and the armorial eagle on the reverse was sculpted by Frank Gasparro based on the Great Seal of the United States.

The Kennedy half-dollars were 90% silver and 10% copper in 1964. The inner core of 1965–1970 half dollars contains 20.9% silver and 79.1% copper, with the two outer layers consisting of 80% silver and 20% copper (net composition: 40% silver and 60% copper). Coins produced after 1971 have an inner core of pure copper and outer layers of 75% copper and 25% nickel bonded together. The coin has a reeded edge and a diameter of 30.6 mm.

Mint Marks

The United States Mint marks its half dollars with a “D” for Denver, a “P” for Philadelphia, and a “W” for West Point. However, only some half dollars have a mark. For example, some coins minted in Philadelphia have no mark.

What Makes A 1971 Kennedy Half-Dollar Rare?

The 1971 half-dollar is not particularly rare, and millions of Kennedy half-dollar coins were produced over the years. The 1971 half-dollar, however, is distinguished by the silver content that was an error. 

Most 1971 half-dollar coins are composed of copper and nickel, and there should be no silver coins. However, the minting facilities still contained some old silver planchets, and these planchets were inadvertently struck and included in the process. Because of this, the rarest 1971 Kennedy half-dollar has about 40% silver.

What Makes 1971 Half-Dollar Valuable?

For many, the 1971 Kennedy half-dollar isn’t much. Because the standard half-dollar coin isn’t that rare and due to its modern mintage date, you won’t be able to sell it at a higher price. To give you an idea, a half-dollar Kennedy with MS-60 condition is $1, while MS-63 is $2. Even in such good condition and high grade, they are still priced low.

There are still some half-dollar coins, though, that are worth more. For instance, MS-65 half dollars cost $40 each, and the cost of coins graded MS-66 is $225. It’s important to note that there are only over 200 Kennedy half-dollar coins with an MS-66 grade.  

The value of 1971 silver coins significantly rises due to their rarity. The expensive silver coin was purchased for $6,000 at one auction. Keep in mind that prices tend to rise over time. This means that the price of your coin might well increase with age.

SEE: 1921 Silver Dollar Value

The Grading System: How Does It Work?

The 1971 Kennedy half-dollar coin is graded similarly to other coins. In most cases, the coin’s grade is determined by the following criteria:

  • Strike
  • Preservation
  • Luster
  • Attractiveness
  • Color
  • Minting Branch

Experts have significantly improved the coin grading system, which has advanced substantially over the years. However, coin grading will always be a matter of opinion, and as a result, sometimes even experts disagree about the grade they assign.

How Do You Know If a 1971 Half Dollar from Has Silver?

You can check if your Kennedy half-dollar contains silver in a few different ways. 

Keep in mind that the first Kennedy half-dollar coins had a 90% silver composition. Accordingly, if your coin has the year “1964,” it is made of silver. Silver is still present in coins from 1965, 1966, and 1967, though it is not as much as it was in 1964’s coins. The Kennedy half-dollar from 1971 is almost certainly made of copper rather than silver if you have one.

A magnet can be used to determine whether a coin is made of silver or not. If your coin is drawn to the magnet and remains there, it is not made of silver. You can scratch the coin with a sharp object if you’re comfortable. It is most likely made of silver if the mark left by the sharp object has a silver tinge. 

Examining the coin’s edge is another way to tell if your half-dollar is made of silver or not. A coin made of silver would have a silver stripe, and a reddish-brown stripe on the edge indicates that copper is likely the material.

Kennedy Half Dollar Average Prices and Values

Discussions of the half-dollar value can be found throughout the numismatic community. However, this article will focus on prices and average values for Kennedy half dollars. 

As of January 20, 2017, the PCGS Population Report has the coin grading company’s total graded population for Kennedy half dollars at 2,646,912 coins. This represents an increase of 3% over the previous report, which had 2,607,260 coins graded. The highest grade assigned to a Kennedy half-dollar was an MS-66++ which equals a $200 price tag. The lowest grade is a VG-8 which equals $1.00. 

Regarding condition, it should be noted that 90% of all JFK halves are in grades below AU-55. Only 1% of all coins are in grades above this level. Additionally, less than 1/10th of one percent (0.0002%) of all coins are in grades above MS-66++.

Where Can I Buy or Sell 1971 Kennedy Half Dollars?

You would undoubtedly find 1971 half-dollar coins online if you were looking to buy or sell them. In this era of digital technology, a quick Google search will return many results. You can sell your coins on the internet as well. In addition to the internet, you can go to pawnshops, antique shops, and collectors’ centers. Besides, shops that are dedicated to buying and selling coins exist. So you could also try them.

SEE: 1916-1945 Mercury Dime Value

How Do I Sell My 1971 Half Dollar?

If you have a 1971 half-dollar in good condition, you can sell it for a fair amount. To get the best price, it is important to know this coin’s value and how to market it. Here are some tips on how to sell your 1971 half-dollar.

1. First, determine the approximate value of your coin. This can be done by consulting online databases or auction sites. Depending on the condition and rarity of your coin, its worth may range from $10-$40.

2. Next, decide whether you want to sell your coin privately or through an auction site. Private sales yield better prices than auctions, as the seller has more control over the process and can set their terms and conditions. However, auction sites are also popular because they allow buyers worldwide to participate in bidding.

3. Campaign your coin carefully before selling it off. Make sure you include photos, detailed information about its condition and history, and other materials that could help buyers make an informed decision about purchasing it. Also, remember that most buyers prefer coins in UNC (Uncirculated) condition; if yours is not in this condition, you may need help selling it for its silver value.

4. Once you have decided on a price and have listed your coin for sale, be prepared for a bidding war. It is important to set a realistic price for your coin, as overpriced coins may not sell, and underpriced coins may be returned to you. The best way to determine the correct price is to compare it to similar coins on auction sites.

If you follow these tips, selling your 1971 half-dollar should be relatively easy. Just be sure to take the time to properly market and advertise your coin so that you can receive the best possible price. 


There is no denying that the 1971 half-dollar is one of the most popular coins in America. With its striking design and history, it’s no surprise that this coin continues to be worth a great deal of money today. If you’re looking to add this rare and valuable coin to your collection, do your research first so you don’t spend too much on an asset you may not appreciate in the future.

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