When the Kennedy half dollar debuted in March of 1964, the circulation of this type of coin was already dwindling. In fact, the first year's production of Kennedy half dollars was almost entirely hoarded by speculators and those seeking souvenirs of the martyred president. Combined with a great reduction in the silver content of the half dollar beginning in 1965, the result was an almost total removal from circulation of half dollar coins. Thus, this type is rarely seen in grades below Extremely Fine.
Collecting Kennedy Half Dollars by date and mint is easy and relatively inexpensive. Only in the highest grades are these coins scarce, though a handful of dates stand out as being elusive even at the MS-65 level.
Collectors will find much of interest in Kennedy half dollar die varieties, as both the proofs and currency strikes are rich in doubled and even tripled dies. Another popular Kennedy half dollar variety is the 1964 proof with extra lines in Kennedy's hair, known as the "Accented Hair" die variety. Several repunched mintmark varieties of the inaugural 1964 issue are also popular with mintmark variety enthusiasts.
The most desirable Kennedy half dollar die varieties are catalogued in VarietyPlus, and this includes the majority of Cherrypicker listings. Specialists will enjoy the Wiles book, as it includes a much more extensive listing of minor varieties.