By Dwight Davis
On Nc^reinber 23, 1963 a gra^,s tragedy befell the United States. Details
Srlde' ttat^wnff *"5' assessment of the man concerned
historians. But with the passing of
an ^ ® spectacle which is not entirely borne out by the
at a man of high rank be eulogized
t hio death, but after the death of the President, America seemed to
?urned"our™rthrth“ souvenirs of veneration were
turned out ..,y the thousands, and it was not long before one could not
help^but encounter a Kennedy memento at every turn. After awhile, the
prai.-.o Bcemed materxalistic and excessive? (was Brutus an honorable man?)
S^State-■ . excessive homage was the Uni-
- o g vernment, an oryanization which, strangely enough is com
posed Of people like you and me. At any rate there was purSiough this
of'^TohrKn ^ authorizing the coinage of a half dollar in honor
P and with the coinage of the new half dollar, the Ben-
3amin Franklin image was laid to rest in an early grave.
The Franklin fifty-cent piece is a strongly attractive coin dedicated
to a jreat man, one of the founding fathers of our country. By law
c anges m the designs of United States coins can not be made more often
than once every twenty-five years. The Franklin half dollar was first
minted in 1948, which would have made 1973 the date for its legal re-
irement. I do not know all the rules of the game of politics, but
somehow the existing law was avoided and as a result the Kennedy half
dollar came into existence.
^f a coin oj. commemoration was absolutely necessary, why was not a Ken-
nedy quarter minted? The present V7ashington quarter, first struck in
1932, is legally liable to change. A Kennedy twenty-five cent piece
equally as powerful and handsome as the Kennedy half dollar could have
replaced the VJashington quarter.
Obviously, no such arrangement was made, and the Kennedy halves poured
from the mint. There have been over 450 million Kennedy halves minted
since 196.-. This is over 93% of the total sixteen year output of the
Fran.tlin halves. There should be, therefore, over 931 million half dol
lars in circulation.
But where is all this money? Even though the coins have no numismatic
value, tney have been snatched from circulation by a rather ignorant
public and therefore are quite scarce. The half dollars seem^to be
some sort of status sym.bols or good-luck charms. Just think...if most
or those coins were put back into circulation where they belong, why.
It might produce some kind of great society or something!