The 1972 half dollar is a popular coin within the half-dollar coinage history. You may already have it in your collection, but if not, you may want to know that the coin’s value is not as high as many think. In other words, the 1972 half dollar value is relatively low.
However, the actual worth depends on some factors, such as the coin condition, mint mark, and unique markers. Therefore, a collector may value such a coin higher than the price on the open market based on specific needs.
This article is an in-depth guide on the actual value of the 1972 half dollar. We explore different aspects, including coin grading, mint marks, mintage, and errors. Read on to learn more about how much value to place on the coin if you have one.
1972 Half Dollar Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|1972 No Mint Mark Half Dollar Value||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50||$2.28|
|1972 ‘D’ Half Dollar Value||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50||$5.70|
|1972 ‘S’ Half Dollar Value||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50||$15|
The half dollar, as a coin, has gone through many alterations since its inception in 1794. It has many images on the obverse and reverse, and the image of the beloved but assassinated president John F. Kennedy was the final one that made the coin so famous.
The Kennedy half dollar, as it is fondly called, was first minted in 1964, following the brutal assassination of JFK the previous year. It was an urgent call and there was hardly any time to wait for specific or unique designs. The calls were everywhere to honor the president on a coin.
As a result of this, the Mint opted to select designs from already existing images on the Presidential Medals. These designs had the approval of the president before his death, so there was no further need for protocols or arguments over his depiction.
However, there was a snag: his widow did not like his hairline on the design. This causes a small delay as the Mint had to decide how to proceed. Finally, it decided to strike two coin types based on her comment on the hairline.
The coins minted in 1964 were about 90% silver and 10% copper, but this changed in 1965 when the competition changed. The outer layer was 80% silver and 20% copper clad to core of 79% copper and 21% silver. In other words, the composition changed from mostly silver to a higher percentage of copper than silver.
This ran through until 1970 when the composition changed again from silver and copper to 75% copper and 25% nickel clad to pure copper core. These changes affected the value of the coin over the years, and its worth kept dropping, especially because the coin was readily available.
One of the driving forces behind the worth of an old or historic coin is the condition or grade. One look at a coin should tell how much value it has based on its luster, image details, and clarity.
From the chart above, you can see that the 1972 half dollar is divided into four categories. These categories are the conditions in which you may find the coin, whether you are buying or selling. It can be good, fine, extra fine, or uncirculated, which is the best condition.
It is also clear from the chart that a coin in uncirculated condition fetches more money. In such a condition, the coin usually maintains its full luster and all the details are still in sharp relief. There is hardly any degradation, which is rare to find in a highly circulated coin like this one.
In extremely fine condition, the coin is close to perfect, but there are usually small signs of wear. The details would show some fading in areas with the sharpest relief and the luster would not be as bright as that of a coin in mint state or uncirculated condition.
But if the coin is in fine condition, it has lost most of its luster and the images on the reverse and obverse would not be clear. Still, the details will be somewhat distinguishable. The same applies to a coin in good condition, except that it looks worse than the former.
1972 No Mint Mark Half Dollar Value
Many of the Kennedy half dollars were minted in 1972, but more than 153 million of them were struck in the main mint in Philadelphia. Coins minted in this branch typically do not have any mint marks. So, no mint mark coins are Philadelphia coins.
However, there are not many of them in circulation today because when they were first minted and released into circulation, collectors and fans of the assassinated president took and hoarded the coins. This reduced their availability, so there are not many graded ones in circulation.
But while they are difficult to evaluate, the coins do not have much value. Most times, their worth is only as high as their face value, which is 50 cents. Nevertheless, some rare coins can be as valuable as $1,000, depending on who is buying, the coin’s condition, and the specific purpose for them.
The obverse of the coin bears a profile of JFK facing left. The word LIBERTY appears at the top of the coin, curved around the president’s head. IN GOD WE TRUST appear on the sides of the neck, divided in two by a protrusion of the design of the neck.
You may find the designer’s initials, GR, under the neck if you look closely; Gilroy Roberts was the Chief Mint Engraver and the designer for the 1964 coin. It carried from that year till date.
The reverse bears the image of the official seal of the president of the United States. It features an eagle with a shield over its chest, an olive branch clutched in one claw, and arrows clutched in the other claw. 50 stars circle it and 13 more stars within the circle.
Light rays appear around the eagle’s head and a banner bearing the words E PLURIBUS UNUM is on top of the rays, just above the eagle’s head. The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are struck around the top of the coin and the denomination appears at the bottom.
Frank Gasparro designed the coin’s reverse with all its intricate details. You may find his initials, FG, just to the right of the eagle’s tail.
1972 D Half Dollar Value
Denver was the first mint to strike the Kennedy half dollar in 1964, with the Philly mint striking more coins only a week after that. In 1972, Denver struck 141,890,000 half dollars, close to the amount from the Philadelphia mint.
These coins do not have more monetary value than the Philly coins, despite the D mint mark. However, some of the Denver coins do not bear the reverse designer’s initials, which increases their value in some quarters.
For example, a 1972-D half dollar without FG on the reverse sold for over $2,000 seven years ago. And about three years ago, a mint state 1972-D coin sold for more than $7,000.
For the Denver coins, you will find the mint mark on the obverse. It sits below the president’s neck and above the mint year 1972. The D mint mark balances above the space between the 9 and 7 in the date. Apart from this mark and possible errors, there is no difference between this coin and the Philly coin without a mint mark.
1972 S Half Dollar Value
You may not be aware of it, but San Francisco struck some half dollar coins in 1972. However, the reason it may not be popular knowledge is that the mint only struck proof coins. It produced 3,260,996 Proof coins that year, which slightly increases the value.
A proof coin is a specially-struck coin made for its excellent design, luster, and relief. It is struck on a burnished planchet using a frosted device and a mirrored field. The image on a proof coin is usually sharper and clearer than on regular strike coins. Also, the luster is much better than that of the most uncirculated coin in existence.
The first coins to be minted when striking proof coins are exceptionally bright and in sharp contrast with a cameo finish. While a proof coin in uncirculated condition can sell for about $6, one that is among the first to be minted may be worth much more. A 1972-S Deep Cameo MS 69 half dollar with no errors can sell for about $125.
1972 Half Dollar Grading
We have discussed how to determine and categorize a coin based on its condition. However, the four categories can be further divided into smaller levels using the Sheldon scale. The scale goes from 1 to 70 to help this division and place coins in the correct grade.
This video explains how to grade the Kennedy half dollar, part of which is the 1972 half dollar:
Rare 1972 Half Dollar Errors List
Some rare errors increase the value of your 1972 half dollar. If you think these errors make the coin valueless, you are mistaken. Unique markers attract collectors because of how special they make the coins.
The following are some of the errors found on the 1972 half dollar:
1972 Half Dollar Struck on a Penny Planchet Error
A penny planchet is typically smaller than a half-dollar planchet. Before 1982, a penny planchet would be made mostly of copper, so the color and planchet size would indicate what coin it should be.
While a 1972 half dollar is 75% copper, the copper color would be duller than that of a penny from the same year. Therefore, this error is fairly easy to see based on the coin’s color and size. But it does not reduce the value in any way.
1972 Half Dollar Doubled Die Obverse Error (DDO)
This error refers to the slight shifting of the die during hubbing. When this happens, the image on the obverse appears at slightly different angles, although the main one is clear.
In other words, you will notice the number of times the die strikes the planchet because of the appearance of other images around the main one. Some 1972 half dollars show this error on the bottom of the obverse, on the legend IN GOD WE TRUST. This small error increases the value from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars.
1972 Half Dollar Off-center Strike Error
During hubbing, the die must strike the hub several times to get the image in sharp relief. If there is a doubling or tripling of the images because the die or planchet moves in between strikes, it is doubled die error.
But a significant shift from the center of the planchet is an off-center strike error. An off-center shift can go from 5% to 95%, and this can significantly increase the coin’s value.
1972 Half Dollar Missing Clad Layer Error
The outer layer of this half dollar is typically 75% copper and 255 nickel. But sometimes, the top layer does not contain nickel, which leaves only copper. This error affects the overall look and feel of the coin, making it similar to a large penny instead of a half dollar.
There are a few other errors unique to this coin, and they are explained in this video:
1972 Half Dollar FAQs
What makes a 1972 Kennedy half dollar rare?
Most 1972 half dollars are rare because people hoarded them due to the sentiments attached to the president on the obverse. Others hoarded them because of the silver in them. However, the coins were slowly released into circulation over time, and their abundance increased, which reduced their overall value.
Is a 1972 half dollar real silver?
The silver in a 1972 half dollar is only about 40%. The rest is copper and nickel. While the silver is real, the melt value is too low to increase the coin’s value. Use a magnet to check the silver in the coin. If the magnet does not stick, there may be silver in the coin, although small. Otherwise, the coin is mostly copper.