How Can I Tell If My Kennedy Half-Dollar is Silver?
The first Kennedy half-dollar coins were made of .900 fine silver.
This means that the metal in certain Kennedy half-dollars is up to 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. You can use a magnet to test whether or not your coin is made of mostly copper. If the magnet sticks, it's not silver. If it doesn't stick, it might be silver.
You can also scratch the coin with a sharp object to see if it leaves a silver mark.
The Year of a Kennedy Half-Dollar Coin Is a Big Clue to Determine Its Silver Content
Kennedy half-dollar coins minted in 1964 are 90 percent silver. Kennedy coins from 1965, 1966 and 1967 have high silver percentages, but the silver content of these half-dollar coins decreases every year until the coins are completely made of copper in 1970. So, the earlier the year, the more valuable the coin.
If you're just looking for melt value, look for coins in the earliest year ranges.
What Is the 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollar Melt Value?
According to the NGC, it should be just under $10 as of 2022.
What Is the 1970 Kennedy Half-Dollar Melt Value?
Adjusting for the lower percentage of silver versus copper, the melt value of a 1969 or 1970 coin would drop to around $4.
So... if you're asking yourself, "Is my Kennedy half-dollar silver?" the answer is a bit nuanced. If your coin is from 1964 or 1965, you're sitting pretty. If it is from 1970, the value is significantly lower.
Look at the Edge of Your Kennedy Half-Dollar
Are you still wondering if your Kennedy half-dollar is made of silver? Try looking at the edge of the coin.
If there is copper in the coin, you'll likely see a reddish-brown stripe. If, instead, you see a clear silver stripe, you may be in luck.