1981 Kennedy Half Dollar

The focus of collectors for the 1981 Kennedy Half Dollar (Buy on eBay) once again moves to the Proof version of the coin. In a similar situation to 1979, two different varieties exist which are differentiated by the appearance of the “S” mint mark. For this year, the Type 1 variety carries a clear “S” mint mark, which is similar in appearance to the 1979-S Type 2 Proof Kennedy Half Dollar. The Type 2 variety is a flat mint mark with rounder serifs. Closer examination is required to differentiate the mint marks for this year, or if certified by a third party grading company, the type is noted on the holder.

1981-P Kennedy Half Dollar
1981-P Kennedy Half Dollar

The 1981-S Type 2 Proof Kennedy Half Dollar is the scarcer variety and commands a premium. It is estimated that 314,000 of the coins were originally produced, making this scarcer than the 1979-S Type 2 Proof Kennedy Half Dollar.

Circulation strikes were also produced for this year, with relatively high mintages and widespread availability through government issued Mint Sets.

1981 Kennedy Half Dollar Specifications:

  • Denomination: $0.50
  • Composition: 91.67% copper, 8.33% nickel
  • Weight: 11.34 grams
  • Diameter: 30.61 mm
  • Edge: reeded
  • Mint Mark: none (Philadelphia), “D” (Denver), “S” (San Francisco)

1981 Kennedy Half Dollar Mintages:

  • 1981-P: 29,544,000
  • 1981-D: 27,839,533
  • 1981-S Proof: 4,063,083
    (Type 1 & Type 2)

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