This article describes how the U.S. Mint restored the original portrait design on 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollars for 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollars in .9999 fine gold, .900 fine silver and copper-nickel clad.
This year’s 50th anniversary Kennedy half-dollars bear the vintage Gilroy Robert’s portrait of President John F. Kennedy, a design for inaugural 1964 halves that was "lost" over the years following a number of revisions. Shown side-by-side, the portraits vary greatly. The original presents a life-like sculpt of Kennedy whereas the revised versions turned almost robotic in appearance.
Digital Scans to Restore Original Portrait Design
Restoring Robert’s original 1964 portrait for the 50th anniversary Kennedy half-dollars took a bit of work, and modern technology. (Read about U.S. Mint sculpting technology.) The U.S. Mint could not locate Robert’s original plaster model but it did have a version in the form of a Galvano Bronze, and it also had an original die for the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar. Both were scanned, converted to digital models, compared for best replication of the original design and heightened relief, and then rendered to restore the design for the seven 50th anniversary Kennedy coins.
The following U.S. Mint-provided photos and captions outline the process used to restore Robert’s design.
With everything digitally mapped, the restoration was completed and hubs and dies were created to strike 50th Annniversary Kennedy half-dollars. (Read how the U.S. Mint makes hubs and dies.)
The following photos were taken on July 22, 2014, from the production floor of the U.S. Mint at West Point. They show newly minted 2014-W 24K Proof Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Coins and 2014-W Reverse Proof Kennedy Half-Dollar Silver Coins.
50th Anniversary Kennedy Products
Three U.S. Mint products will feature the 50th anniversary Kennedy coins. They include a two-coin clad set that launched on July 24 for $9.95, a 99.99% fine Gold Kennedy half that will be priced around $1,300 and launches on Aug. 5, and a fall release of a four-coin 90% silver set for $99.95.
In addition to the original 1964 obverse design, these coins feature varying finishes and are struck from four different U.S. Mint facilities.
2014-Dated Kennedy Halves
In all, there will be 13 Kennedy half-dollars this year. They include the 7 anniversary coins and the 6 regular annual issues. Here is a chart that offers specifications for each coin and describes the contents of the 2014 Kennedy half-dollar products.
|Unique to 50th Anniversary||Composition||Associated Product||Release Date|
|2014-W Proof Gold 50c||Yes, featuring original 1964 obverse design||.9999 Gold||Individually Sold as the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Proof Coin (See photos)||Aug. 5|
|2014-P Proof Silver 50c||90% Silver, 10% Copper||2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Silver Coin Collection (See reverse proof photos)||Fall 2014|
|2014-W Reverse Proof Silver 50c|
|2014-D Uncirculated Silver 50c|
|2014-S Enhanced Uncirculated Silver 50c|
|2014-P Uncirculated Clad 50c||8.33% Nickel, Balance Copper||2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Uncirculated Coin Set||Jul 24|
|2014-D Uncirculated Clad 50c|
|2014-S Proof Silver 50c||No, regular annual issue||90% Silver, 10% Copper||2014 Silver Proof Set / 2014 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set||Apr 29 / TBD|
|2014-S Proof Clad||8.33% Nickel, Balance Copper||2014 Proof Set||Mar 25|
|2014-P Uncirculated Clad 50c||2014 Mint Set||May 13|
|2014-D Uncirculated Clad 50c|
|2014-P Circulating Quality Clad 50c||2014 Kennedy 50c Rolls and Bags||Feb 13|
|2014-D Circulating Quality Clad 50c|
For Kennedy products already issued, visit the United States Mint website at www.usmint.gov/catalog for more information or to order.