1970 would be the last year that regular-strike Kennedy half dollars would be issued in silver. However, even the regular-strike 1970 Kennedy silver half dollars were not minted for circulation, as they were only distributed in mint sets for that year. This scenario created a situation whereby the 1970-D Kennedy half dollar would become a key date for the series, with just 2,150,000 Denver-mint Kennedy half dollars being made that year.
1970-D Kennedy half dollars are highly sought after by coin collectors – particularly those who are assembling date-and-mintmark sets of the Kennedy half dollar series. Pressures from high collector demand have pushed values upward of $20 for the 1970-D Kennedy half dollar; there has been a dual push on 1970 mint sets, many of which have been broken up so collectors can obtain examples of the 1970-D half. The 1970-S proof half dollar is fairly more numerous and affordable, with a mintage of 2,632,810 and a value of about $15.
With silver values climbing throughout the 1960s, it became cost prohibitive for the United States to continue striking circulating coinage with the precious white-colored metal. For that reason, the Kennedy half dollar would, beginning in 1971, follow the dime and quarter’s suit and be struck with a copper-nickel clad base metal composition.