Over 90 million half dollars were minted in 1963, representing what was by far the most prolific year for the series. With a coin shortage spreading throughout the United States, the mint tried vigorously to fill the void, but bullion hoarders were plucking silver coins from circulation left and right as intrinsic values rose.
Here’s a breakdown of mintages and values for 1963 Franklin half dollars:
1963, 22,164,000 minted; $11
1963 proof, 3,075,645; $20
1963-D, 67,069,292; $11
*Values are for coins in Very Fine-20 grade, unless otherwise noted.
1963 wasn’t supposed to be the last year of the Franklin half dollar series, but a very tragic event would alter the course of national history. On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, during a motorcade procession through the city.
A mourning nation honored the fallen leader by renaming streets, buildings, and parks in the 35th president’s honor, and the U.S. government, in a similar way, was quick to choose the half dollar as a coin on which to pay homage to Kennedy. Representing one of the fastest coin design changes in history, the new Kennedy half dollar would debut in early 1964.