In the last year I have purchased over 20,000 JFK halves from a local bank in original bank wrappers shipped in bank boxes of 1000 coins each. In reviewing these coins, I have hand selected the Kennedy Half dollars I am offering for sale, and fairly graded each coin. I do not use the terms "BU" or "Choice BU" because it is so overused, and nowhere in the A.N.A. coin grading guidelines does the grade "Brilliant Uncirculated" appear. So the next time you want to buy a coin, and a dealer tells you that it is "BU" ask him if that is an A.N.A. grade. Then open the Red Book to page 5, and ask him where the term appears. See below for the A.N.A guide.
JFK Half Dollar Coin Boxes
I have reviewed several thousand JFK halves obtained in bank mint boxes. I am finding more and more damaged coins in these rolls, due, I believe, to Kennedy Half coin handling equipment. In my estimation, based only on examining the last 20,000 JFK Half coins obtained in these mint boxes, 15% to 20% of the coins I have examined tend to exhibit some level of damage.
On our last group, reviewed in November, 2006, we found that of 100 rolls of JFK Halves obtained in the most recent group of bank boxes, there were 46 rolls which clearly showed the concentric circle damage to either one or the other end coins. 408 of the 2,000 coins in total exhibited either the concentric circle or the rim damage, making the coin of no numismatic value. 312 of these coins showed severe damage.
As these coins continue to circulate and to recirculate, in my opinion we will see further damage to the coins as a result of the handing issues. It is quite conceivable that within a few years, most circulating JFK half dollar coins will exhibit this equipment handling damage, and finding undamaged specimens through circulation will become more and more difficult.
As a result, I expect to see JFK halves increase in value. When you combine this with the fact that the US mint has now significantly reduced both production and distribution, the reasons for these coins rapid appreciation becomes evident.
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A.N.A. Grading Standards
Essential Elements of the A.N.A. Grading System
(AG3) - Very
heavily worn with portions of lettering, date, and legends worn smooth. The date
may be barely readable.
Good (G4) - Heavily worn with design visible but faint in areas. Many details are flat.
Very Good (VG8) - Well worn with main features clear and bold although rather flat.
Fine (F12) - Moderate to considerable even wear. Entire design is bold with overall pleasing appearance.
Very Fine (VF20) - Shows moderate wear on high points of design. All major details are clear.
Choice Very Fine (VF30) - Light even wear on the surface and highest parts of the design. All lettering and major features are sharp.
Extremely Fine (EF40) - Design is lightly worn throughout, but all features are sharp and well defined. Traces of luster may show.
Choice Extremely Fine (EF45) - Light overall wear shows on highest points. All design details are very sharp. Some of the mint luster is evident.
About Uncirculated (AU50) - Has traces of light wear on many of the high points. At least half of the mint luster is still present.
Choice About Uncirculated (AU55) - Evidence of friction on design high points. Most of mint luster remains.
Mint State - The terms Mint State (MS) and Uncirculated (UNC) are interchangeably used to describe coins showing no trace of wear. Such coins may vary to some degree because of blemishes, toning, or slight imperfections as described in the following subdivisions.
Uncirculated (MS60) - Has no trace of wear but may show a number of contact marks and surface may be spotted or lack some luster.
Uncirculated (MS63) - Some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Luster may be impaired.
Choice Uncirculated (MS65) - An above average Uncirculated coin that may be brilliant or lightly toned and has very few contact marks on the surface or rim. MS67 through MS62 indicate a slightly higher or lower grade of preservation.
Perfect Uncirculated (MS70) - Perfect new condition, showing no trace of wear. The finest quality possible, with no evidence of scratches, handling, or contact with other coins. Very few regular issue coins are ever found in this condition.
Proof (PF60) - Surface may have several contact marks, hairlines, or light rubs. Luster may be dull and eye-appeal lacking.
Attractive Proof (PF63) - Reflective surfaces with only a few blemishes in secondary focal places. No major flaws.
Choice Proof (PF65) - Reflective surfaces with no noticeable blemishes or flaws. Few scattered barely noticeable marks or hairlines.
JFK Kennedy Half Dollar Mechanical Damage