Kennedy Half Dollars

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The United States Kennedy Half Dollar, often simply referred to as the Kennedy Half, is a coin with a rich and storied history dating back to its inception in 1964. This numismatic treasure was created to honor and commemorate the life and contributions of President John F. Kennedy, whose tragic assassination on November 22, 1963, left the nation in mourning and searching for ways to pay tribute to the beloved leader.

In the aftermath of President Kennedy’s assassination, the desire to memorialize him in a meaningful way was overwhelming. The United States Mint, recognizing the significance of the moment, wasted no time in taking action. Early in 1964, the Mint embarked on the design and production of the Kennedy Half Dollar, an enduring symbol of President Kennedy’s legacy.

The obverse of the Kennedy Half Dollar featured a captivating and lifelike portrait of the President, gazing to the left. The portrait was skillfully crafted by the renowned sculptor Gilroy Roberts. This depiction was based on a photograph of President Kennedy taken by Aaron Shikler, an official White House photographer. The image managed to capture the essence of Kennedy’s charisma and dignity, making it a fitting tribute to the fallen leader.

On the reverse side of the Kennedy Half Dollar, a design created by Frank Gasparro was featured. This design incorporated the presidential seal, complete with an eagle clutching a shield and a banner that bore the inscription “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” This phrase, Latin for “Out of many, one,” symbolized the unity and diversity of the United States. To further enhance the symbolism, the reverse also showcased an olive branch, a universal symbol of peace, and a bundle of arrows, representing strength. Together, these elements portrayed a balanced image of a nation that was strong and resolute but also dedicated to peace and unity.