The 1967 Kennedy half dollar is the last of the three years with no mintmarks on Denver coins. We are learning that, like the 1965 and 1966, the 1967 should be taken more seriously.
The 1967 might well be the least saved of a group that saw very little saving. The year was a troubled time for the nation. Discontent about the situation in Vietnam was growing. Discontent was also growing with the government in terms of numismatics.
In 1965 a number of very dramatic steps were taken. There was a growing national coin shortage, and officials wanted to blame collectors. The coin shortage was actually a result of the elimination of silver from the dime and quarter, while it was reduced to 40 percent in the half dollar. That meant average Americans were hoarding. Also, the Mint had spent much time producing 1964 Kennedy halves that were hoarded. They were 90 percent silver and a memorial to the President.
There were tons of relatively ordinary 90 percent silver coins being pulled from circulation that no collector or dealer would have wanted. No one in 1965 thought silver would ever reach $50 an ounce, and average dates were thought of as junk silver.
Proof and mint sets were not issued. The really devastating step was the decision not to have mintmarks. After all, the mintmark was vital to collecting. Without them, mintage totals would be combined from all mints producing a specific coin. The totals would be very large. Many collectors were immediately discouraged, which was just what the government wanted to happen.
Besides the first 1964 Kennedy half dollar, there had not been a lot of half dollar saving anyway. It was a higher denomination than what many collected.
The 1966 half dollar?s mintage topped 100 million. The 1967 was the highest at over 295 million pieces.
The 1967 was heavily saved after 1970 when the 40 percent silver composition was eliminated. Of course the coins saved were all circulated. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the saved coins were melted for the silver value.
No one really thought anything about it. In 1998 the 1967 was still sitting at $2.25 or so in MS-65. If you wanted to buy one, you could probably find a dealer who would be happy to give you a break on the price simply to get it out of inventory.
Now, however, the 1967 is $22 in MS-65 and there are not a lot of them around at that price. Nothing happened except that people suddenly realized there were no supplies of the 1967, and if there is any demand that makes its price rise. That rise may not be finished, so watch the 1967. It could be a surprise.