The 1963 half dollar finished out the Franklin half series with a bang, seeing record-setting mintage numbers for the beloved coin design. The larger production numbers cause a lack of particularly valuable coins, but different varieties, errors, and grades command their own prices.
Most 1963 half dollars sit in storage due to their silver melt value, but collectors will pay about $11 for halves at high grades. Proof half dollars from 1963 sell for about $20.
This guide elaborates on the different types of 1963 half dollars and their values before exploring how to grade the Franklin half dollar. We also explain the most common mint errors that make this coin more rare and valuable.
1963 Half Dollar Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated||Proof|
|1963 No Mint Mark Half Dollar Value||$7.98||$7.98||$7.98||$10.96||/|
|1963 D Half Dollar Value||$7.98||$7.98||$7.98||$10.96||/|
|1963 Proof Half Dollar Value||/||/||/||/||$20+|
1963 No Mint Mark Half Dollar Value
A total of 22,164,000 1963 no mint mark half dollars were produced at the Philadelphia Mint, marking a record high production of Franklin halves for this particular mint. They guaranteed the series went out with plenty of coins to tide them over.
This means that half dollars from this year are still rather prevalent, although many are well worn on the surface. The coins are regularly held at their silver content value, and many choose to stash them away as a bit of a rainy day fund.
An “Uncirculated” 1963 half dollar may sell for $10.96 at market, and collectors are often satisfied with snatching one up. The more serious numismatists seek out mint state graded coins to ensure they have the best of the best.
This is easier said than done. A MS66+FBL 1963 no mint mark half dollar holds the auction record for this variety, and it sold for $85,187.50 in 2019.
This particular coin is regarded as the finest certified at PCGS, and it has a price to match.
1963 Half Dollar Features
The 1963 half dollar features the combined designs of John R. Sinnock and Gilroy Roberts to honor one of the United States’ founding fathers.
The coin’s obverse design by Sinnock shows Benjamin Franklin’s bust in the center, facing the right of the coin. The half dollar reads LIBERTY along the top rim and IN GOD WE TRUST along the bottom. The year 1963 sits to the right of the coin, beside Franklin’s neck.
Roberts’s reverse design showcases the Liberty Bell in the center and symbolizes America’s founding values. The bell is surrounded by many inscriptions, including UNITED STATES OF AMERICA above and HALF DOLLAR below.
E PLURIBUS UNUM is inscribed to the left, and the coin also features a smaller eagle to the right. Coins from the Denver mint are stamped with a D between the yoke of the bell, but Philadelphia coins contain no such mark.
The 1963 half dollar is 90 percent silver reinforced with 10 percent copper. It weighs 12.5 grams, with 11.25 grams attributed to silver weight.
The half dollar has a round shape with a reeded edge. Its diameter measures 1.21 inches, while the coin is only 1.8 mm thick.
1963 D Half Dollar Value
The 1963 D half dollar is the only variety with a mint mark stamped on the reverse, just above the Liberty Bell design. Denver minted 67,069,292 half dollars that year, producing the highest amount for any mint in any given year during the Franklin half dollar series.
This is why you see very few Denver minted 1963 half dollars of particularly high value. They’re still fairly abundant today, and most quantities are available solely for trade at their base silver value.
A 1963 D half dollar should have a complete lack of wear to attract a collector. When these coins jump up to “Uncirculated” condition they sell for about $10.96 or more, although taking the coin to auction usually guarantees a higher sale.
The current auction record is a NGC MS67+FBL 1963 D half dollar that sold for $16,800 in 2019. The auction house notes that most highly graded Denver half dollars are still under MS66 grade, and this is only one of 3 NGC submissions with certified Full Bell Lines.
Further, this particular example has an iridescent tone and shines radiantly in the light.
1963 Proof Half Dollar Value
The 1963 proof half dollars were also minted in Philadelphia, but only 3,075,645 were made. The smaller population was quickly snatched up by collectors, resulting in a stable number of highly graded coins.
Proof coins regularly sell for more than regular strikes. They rarely enter circulation, and their special manufacturing process results in a more pleasant design strike. The smaller production numbers also play a role in the higher base cost of the coin, and most 1963 proof half dollars attract a $20 or more sale at market.
On the other hand, proof coins rarely attract as much as similarly graded business-strike coins once they go to auction. Almost all proof coins are PR60 or higher, meaning it’s easier to find them at such a high grade.
Instead, proof coin value is better distinguished by how well the coin was struck. While they’re all phenomenal examples of artistic design, some coins earn a Cameo distinction that increases their value.
The dies used to strike proof coins would erode as they struck more coins, resulting in only about 100 with cameo contrasting devices and mirrored fields. These early proof coins carry a premium on their original price, but they must receive the proper grade from a professional service.
The difference in value isn’t as significant as it is with proof coins from other years. A PR66 proof half dollar may sell for $22, while a PR66 CAM sells for $33 and one with a Deep Cameo sells for about $65.
The auction record belongs to a PR69 Ultra Cameo 1963 proof half dollar that brought in $9,000 in 2018.
1963 Half Dollar Grading
While a professional grading service can pinpoint the exact value of a coin, you can categorize the ones in front of you with just a bit of knowledge and close inspection.
These general grades won’t hold weight in the valuation of the coin, but understanding coin condition is important in making quick decisions and identifying prospective pieces. It also helps you prioritize the valuation of your own collection.
A 1963 half dollar is bound to have a significant degree of circulation marks. These coins lack most, if not all, finer details, and are flat high points across the face and bell. These coins graduate to a finer grade if you notice only the highest details bear the weight of wear.
Ideally, you want a 1963 half dollar that’s as close to Mint State as possible. An “Extremely Fine” example retains most of its original luster and has little wear (usually just below Franklin’s eye).
The highest graded “Uncirculated” 1963 half dollars seem to have just rolled off the mint. They have a shiny “new” luster and lack even slight lines that indicate circulation.
Franklin Half Dollars and Full Bell Lines
A 1963 Franklin half dollar may obtain a Full Bell Lines (FBL) designation upon grading that increases the value of the coin. These are the most desired by collectors,and they present the coin in its fullest strike (aside from proof coins that should feature FBL regardless).
Many business-strike Franklin half dollars lack the full details near the bottom of the Liberty Bell. To receive this designation, the coin must be MS60 or better and “show full separation of the lines” as well as “no major disturbances…of the separation of the bell lines” (PCGS).
Rare 1963 Half Dollar Errors
The 1963 half dollar is not particularly prone to mint errors, although we’ve seen examples of coins with:
- Planchet errors: including clipped planchets, defective planchets, and incorrect planchets that affect the outer rim of the coin
- Lamination errors that cause some metal to peel off the coin’s surface
- Struck through errors that have external debris affecting the design on the coin
As you see in the video, these errors increase the value of the coin, but the premium is only secondary to the original condition of the coin. As long as the coin is a high grade, an error may add on an extra $10 to hundreds to the original value of the half dollar.
A mint error should be verified to ensure it’s not derivative of post-mint damage or overpolishing that would actually diminish the value of your 1963 half dollar.
1963 Double Mint Half Dollar
A particularly noteworthy double mint error from the 1963 half dollar series skyrocketed the value of the original coin.
The first was a coin struck on the incorrect planchet. Approximately 12 Franklin halves in history have been struck on a cent planchet, including this one. Like other coins incorrectly struck on a cent planchet, this one features the reddish brown seen in copper coins.
Other 1963 half dollars may see a similar issue if they’re struck to the size of another denomination. These coins bear a weight reflective of their original composition, just in the size of the incorrect denomination.
The second rare mint error for this particular coin was a mirror brockage on the reverse. A brokerage refers to a coin that isn’t ejected after its struck, resulting in a loose or reverse die cap. When the next coin is struck, one side receives the correct impression while the other gets a mirror image of the stuck coin.
The combination of errors caused this coin to sell in March 2014 for $21,950.
1963 “Bugs Bunny” Half Dollar
The Bugs Bunny error is a colloquial way of referring to a specific die clash that occurred on 1963 half dollars, resulting in the appearance of buck teeth on Benjamin Franklin.
The die clash comes from two dies hitting each other without a planchet in between them. The damage you see is from the reverse design transferring through to the obverse, leaving the founding father with an interesting set of veneers.
The issue is more common in other years, but a few 1963 half dollars have it. These sell for about $500.
1963 Half Dollar FAQs
How Much Is the 1963 Half Dollar worth?
The 1963 half dollar is worth about $7.98 to $20 or more. The value of your 1963 half dollar varies depending on the coin’s mintage and condition, and 1963 proof half dollars are worth the most without taking the coins to auction.
What Makes a 1963 Half Dollar Rare?
The 1963 half dollar is rare if it’s found in exceptional condition (close to Mint State), if it’s a proof coin, or if it bears a rare error such as a double mint mark. Otherwise, half dollars from this year are not particularly rare or valuable in circulated condition.
Is a 1963 Half Dollar Real Silver?
A 1963 half dollar is 90 percent real silver, or about .36169 troy ounces. This was the last year of the Franklin silver half dollar.
Where Is the Mint Mark on a 1963 Franklin Half Dollar?
The mint mark on the 1963 Franklin half dollar sits above the bell’s yoke and below the “E” in STATES. A 1963 Franklin half dollar from the Philadelphia Mint (including proofs) will not have a mint mark.
Are There Any 1963 Kennedy Half Dollars?
There are no 1963 Kennedy half dollars. The Kennedy half dollar series began in 1964 and continues today.
How Many 1963 Half Dollars Were Minted?
A total of 92,308,937 half dollars were minted in 1963. This includes 22,164,000 business strike half dollars and 3,075,645 proof half dollars from Philadelphia and 67,069,292 from Denver.