Uncovering The Value Of 1979 Half-Dollar Coins
The 1979 Kennedy half-dollar is a coin that holds a significant place in American numismatic history. This coin was minted to commemorate the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963.
The design of this coin is unique, featuring a portrait of Kennedy on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. While the coin is no longer made from silver, it still holds value for its rarity, errors, and mint marks.
This article aims to provide an in-depth exploration of the 1979 half-dollar coin. We will delve into the history and design of the coin, including its composition and minting process. Additionally, we will discuss the various errors and variations of the coin that add to its value and rarity.
We will also provide insights into grading and valuation, as well as tips for collecting and selling the coin. Whether you are a seasoned collector or just starting out, this article will uncover the value of 1979 half-dollar coins.
History and Design
The history and design of Kennedy half-dollar coins, including the popular designs used prior to the introduction of the 1979 coin, are important factors to consider when evaluating the value of 1979 half-dollar coins.
The first US half-dollar appeared in circulation in 1794 and was made out of silver. Over the years, several designs were used, including the Barber, Walking Liberty, and Lady Liberty designs.
In 1948, the Franklin half-dollar was introduced, but it was replaced with Kennedy's image after his assassination in 1963.
The 1979 Kennedy half-dollar features a left-facing portrait of John F. Kennedy on the obverse side, which was designed by Gilroy Roberts. The reverse side of the coin features the presidential coat of arms with an eagle, which was designed by Frank Gasparro.
The coin also features an edge with 150 reeds. The Philadelphia mint produced 68,312,000 Kennedy half dollars without any mint marks in 1979, while the Denver mint produced 15,815,422 half dollars with a 'D' mint mark.
The San Francisco mint produced around 3,677,175 half dollars with an 'S' mint mark, and Type 1 and Type 2 'S' coins have different mint marks.
Understanding the history and design of Kennedy half-dollar coins is crucial to accurately evaluating the value of 1979 half-dollar coins.
Composition and Minting
Composed of a copper-nickel clad alloy, the 1979 Kennedy half-dollar was minted in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The composition of the coin consists of a pure copper core with outer layers of copper-nickel, weighing 11.34 grams and measuring 30.61 millimeters in diameter. The coin's reeded edge contains 150 ridges, providing a sense of grip and texture to the fingers when held.
The Philadelphia mint produced a total of 68,312,000 Kennedy half-dollar coins without any mint marks in 1979. The Denver mint produced 15,815,422 half dollars with a 'D' mint mark, while San Francisco mint produced around 3,677,175 half dollars with an 'S' mint mark. The coins minted in San Francisco were only made for inclusion in proof sets or sold to collectors.
Mint marks and dates are significant in determining the coin's value and rarity, with mint state premium quality coins having superb luster and no apparent contact marks.
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Errors and Variations
Regarding the 1979 Kennedy half-dollar, there are various errors and variations that can significantly affect the coin's market value.
One of the most sought-after errors is the improper annealing error, which occurs when the coin is not heated properly during the minting process, resulting in a distinct rainbow-like toning. This error is estimated to be worth around $100.
Another error that can increase a coin's value is the broad strike error, which occurs when the coin is struck with too much pressure, resulting in a coin with a larger than normal diameter. A broad strike error coin with grading ICG MS65 sells for $50.
Coins with missing clad layers, which weigh less and are thinner than regular ones, can also be more valuable.
Other variations that can increase the value of a 1979 half-dollar coin include those with different mint marks and proof coins and sets. The 1979 Kennedy half-dollar coin with a 'D' mint mark in perfect condition can be sold for $400 to $800.
Proof coins and sets were made in San Francisco mint from 1992 to 2018 with 90% silver, while all series from 2019 onwards were made of 99% silver.
It is important to note that mint mark and date are crucial factors in determining a coin's value, and the grading system can also significantly affect the final price.
Grading and Valuation
Grading and valuation are crucial factors that determine the worth of 1979 Kennedy half-dollar coins. The grading system used by professional coin grading services, such as Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), is based on a 70-point scale that ranges from Poor 1 to Mint State 70. The condition of the coin, including its luster, surface preservation, and any imperfections, is taken into account when assigning a grade. Coins in lower grades, such as Poor, Fair, and Good, have significant wear and damage, while those in higher grades, such as Very Fine, Extremely Fine, and Uncirculated, have minimal wear and excellent preservation. Mint State coins, which are uncirculated coins with exceptional luster and no visible contact marks, are highly valued by collectors.
Valuation is also influenced by the rarity, mint mark, and date of the coin. Coins with mint marks from the Denver and San Francisco mints, as well as those with unique errors and variations, tend to be more valuable. Additionally, proof coins and sets made in San Francisco from 1992 to 2018 with 90% silver and all series from 2019 onwards made of 99% silver are highly sought after by collectors. The table below shows the estimated value ranges for 1979 Kennedy half-dollar coins based on the grading system and other factors.
|Grade||Estimated Value Range|
|Poor 1||Less than $1|
|Very Good 8||$4-$6|
|Very Fine 20||$10-$12|
|Extremely Fine 40||$12-$20|
|About Uncirculated 50||$20-$30|
|Mint State 60-70||$30-$800|
Collecting and Selling
One important aspect of owning 1979 Kennedy half-dollar coins is the process of collecting and selling them, which requires knowledge of reliable sources for appraisals, sales, and purchases, as well as an understanding of the rarity and unique designs of different minting years.
Reliable places to get appraisals, sell, or buy coins include auction houses and reputable coin web pages. It is important to seek out reliable dealers and proven sellers to avoid scams and ensure the authenticity of coins. Basic knowledge of coin history and design is necessary for proper evaluation, and it is important to note that finding rare and unique coin designs from a particular minting year can be challenging but possible.
Collectors tend to replace lower-value coins with better examples, making it important to keep an eye out for higher-grade coins.
A coin's mint mark and date are important factors in determining its value, and the grading system affects the final price significantly. Coins in poor, fair, good, very fine, and uncirculated condition have different characteristics, and mint state premium quality coins have superb luster and no obvious contact marks. Mint state perfect coins have no imperfections visible under 8x magnification.
It is also important to note that coins should not be cleaned with abrasives that can harm the surface. Collectors should be aware of rare editions of 1979 half-dollar coins, including MS 64, PR 70 Type 2 with deep cameo contrast, MS 67+, PR 70 Type 1 with deep cameo contrast, and PR 70.
Where to Buy 1979 Half Dollar
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See Also: 1974 Washington Quarter