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Unraveling Auction Mysteries: The Top Valuable Kennedy Half Dollars

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The Kennedy half dollar, introduced in 1964 to honor President John F. Kennedy, holds a special place in American coin history. While many of these coins are commonly found in circulation, there are rare versions that have been sold at auction for astonishing prices. Let’s delve into the stories behind four of the most valuable Kennedy half dollars ever auctioned, highlighting their rarity, historical importance, and the incredible amounts they fetched.

4 Most Valuable Kennedy Half Dollars Ever Sold at Auction

1. 1964 Special Mint Set (SMS) Kennedy Half Dollar – $108,000

In 2013, a 1964 Special Mint Set (SMS) Kennedy half dollar made headlines by selling for an astounding $108,000 at auction. These coins were struck using specially treated dies and planchets to achieve a superior quality finish compared to regular circulation coins. Originally intended for collectors rather than circulation, the SMS coins were produced in lower quantities due to production challenges following President Kennedy’s assassination. The example that fetched $108,000 was in MS-68 condition, graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). Its high grade and historical significance contributed to its record-breaking auction price, symbolizing a pivotal moment in American history.

2. 1964 Proof Accented Hair Kennedy Half Dollar – $47,000

Another notable Kennedy half dollar is the 1964 Proof Accented Hair variety, which features a sharper depiction of President Kennedy’s hair compared to the standard Proof version. This variety was quickly replaced due to concerns about the durability of the minting dies, making it rare among collectors. In 2016, a Proof-67 graded example of this coin sold for $47,000 at auction. Its high auction price underscores its desirability and scarcity within the Kennedy half dollar series, appealing to collectors seeking rare varieties with historical significance.

3. 1970-D Kennedy Half Dollar – $31,102

The 1970-D Kennedy half dollar is renowned for its scarcity and high market value. Although struck for circulation at the Denver Mint, very few entered public circulation and most were melted down. In 2019, a superb MS-66 graded specimen of the 1970-D Kennedy half dollar was sold for $31,102 at auction. Collectors value this coin not only for its rarity but also for its role in U.S. numismatic history, reflecting the broader context of the time and economic policies influencing coin production.

4. 1966 Special Mint Set (SMS) Kennedy Half Dollar – $28,200

Similar to the 1964 SMS Kennedy half dollar, the 1966 SMS variety was produced with specially treated dies and planchets to enhance its finish. In 2017, an MS-67 graded example of the 1966 SMS Kennedy half dollar fetched $28,200 at auction. This coin’s rarity, coupled with its exceptional condition and unique production method, makes it highly sought after among collectors. The auction price reflects the strong demand for high-quality SMS Kennedy half dollars from the mid-1960s, highlighting their significance in American numismatic history.


The Kennedy half dollar series encompasses a wide spectrum of coins, ranging from everyday circulation pieces to exceedingly rare and valuable specimens that command impressive prices at auction. The stories behind these four coins—spanning unique production methods, historical contexts, and scarcity within the series—showcase the diversity and allure of Kennedy half dollars among collectors and enthusiasts alike.


Each coin not only represents a piece of American history but also tells a compelling story of its own, from the tragedy of President Kennedy’s assassination to the intricate details of minting processes and economic influences. As collectors continue to pursue these rare treasures, the market for valuable Kennedy half dollars remains dynamic, reflecting their enduring numismatic value and cultural significance.


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