When the 40 percent silver halves were released in 1965, hoarding continued. Every time the Kennedy Half was released, it was hoarded out of circulation, causing a need to produce more coins due to the shortage of half dollars. More coins had to be produced to equal the need for coinage. A total of 295,046,978 of 40 percent junk silver coins were produced between Philadelphia and Denver Mint Departments and even though the copper-nickel metal values did equate in value at the time, silver was simply more popular. The 40 percent silver coins disappeared from circulation almost as quickly. The ratio of 40 percent silver was minted until 1970 when the metals changed to only copper-nickel combinations.
At the same time the silver in the Kennedy Halves was being reduced to 40 percent, the silver content from the dime and the nickel was being eliminated altogether. This only caused more problems. It made the 40 percent silver half the only coin with silver available, and this only worked to increase its perceived higher value. For the collector, however, this served to lower the value of the 40 percent half. Since there was no mint-mark, collectors had no way to tell which city or center actually minted them, and this caused the collectors of that time to almost ignore them.
The first minting of this commemoration coin held 90 percent silver. This practice was ended in 1964. This caused a hoarding of this famous half dollar. The silver content then went down to 40 percent and gradually the silver content was eliminated over time. Today no silver is found in our half dollars in circulation.
Historic records indicate this hoarding was instigated by people who deeply loved Kennedy, and felt this coin ownership represented a piece of American history. This belief included the sentiment that this coin held an inherent increased value. This became a popular thought; to pass a piece of history down through our American family system. Also, the value of gold and silver were once again on the rise, and hoarding to secure the metal value seemed wise and important at that time.
Today these coins are minted from copper and nickel. They are no longer circulated widely, and the most common place to find them is on a gaming table or in a slot machine win or raking at a local casino. Currently the casino systems are switching over to vouchers and notes so this, too, will become an unavailable source. There were also releases of proofs of Kennedy Half Dollars for collectors and heritage protectors. The proof sets are highly sought after for collectible coins.