1964 Accented Hair Variety Kennedy Half Dollar

One of the most notable varieties of the series is the 1964 “Accented Hair” Kennedy Half Dollar. The variety only exists for the proof version of the coin. Many collectors seeking a complete set of proof coins will include this variety in their collection.

In the first year of issue for the Kennedy Half Dollar, the design was modified shortly after production began. It has been rumored that the modification came at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy who disliked the details of the hair above her husband’s ear. An alternate theory suggest that the modifications were done to facilitate production. Whatever the case, the heavy incuse lines in Kennedy’s hair were removed, creating a low mintage variety.

It has been estimated that 1% to 3% of the total mintage of proof 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars are of the accented hair variety. This would suggest a total population ranging from about 40,000 to 120,000 coins.

Besides the appearance of Kennedy’s hair, there are other diagnostics which will distinguish the variety. On the obverse of the coin, the “I” in “LIBERTY” had a truncated lower left serif as compared to the full serif on the regular version. On the reverse of the coin, one of the rays appearing between the eagle and scroll will have breaks at the area of the stars. No breaks appear on the regular version. Additionally on the reverse of the coin, the “G” from designer’s initials “FG” will not have a horizontal serif on the variety. The images above show the details of the “accented hair” variety compared to the regular version of the coin.

Both PCGS and NGC attribute the variety on 1964 Proof Kennedy Half Dollars. The coins trade for a premium above regular versions. The Proof 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar with “accented hair” can be difficult to find with cameo or deep cameo contrast.