S stands for San Francisco, but it may just as well stand for proof. This was the first year that the US Mint issued Kennedy Half Dollars in a non silver state. Anything after 1970 contains no silver, with the exception of errors listed below. These coins are a copper-nickel composition, being a nickel jacket over a copper core. Errors include obverse die breaks, struck on nickel planchet, struck on quarter planchet, off center strikes up to 70%, double strikes, struck on silver planchet, and clipped planchets.
More About Errors
1971 was apparently a rough year for the United States mint. This was the year the mint switched from 40% silver to a blend of 91.67% Copper 8.33% Nickel. This new blend required new planchets to be created, and because of this there are many instances of Half Dollars from 1971 being struck on the wrong planchet.
1971 Half Dollar Errors
Here are just a few of the main errors that can be found sorting through half dollars. 1971 Half Dollar Struck on Nickel Planchet - one of the many instances of the mint using the wrong plachets. The edge of the coins are not reeded, instead the edge is smooth like a nickel. A large portion of the coin will also appear to be missing, due to the fact that nickel diameters are not as wide.
40% Silver 1971 Half Dollar - Yes 1971 Half Dollars made from 40% silver are a thing. They are however not meant to be. 40% silver 1971 halves are created when left over planchets from 1970 were used to create 1971 50C pieces. These coins are rare and sell for thousands of dollars when certified. The 1971 Half Dollar struck on silver planchet means there are instances of this coin accidentally minted in silver. If you think your 1971 Kennedy Half is silver look at the reeded edges, if there is a copper ring dead center this coin is not silver. Silver coins wont have rings of copper in the center as they are not sandwiched.
Struck on Silver Quarter Error - is yet another planchet error. Silver quarter planchets struck by 1971 Half Dollar dies created this error. Again a large portion of the coin will appear to be missing as the planchet diameter is too small to display the entire half dollar design.
Struck on Non Silver Quarter Planchet -similar to the error above, just struck on a non silver clad quarter instead.
Off Center Strike - When the die strikes an improperly seated plachet off-center this is the error it creates. Strikes can be anywhere from 5% to 95% off center. The more off center the more of the blank planchet will be left behind.
DDO / DDR Double Die - When the die strikes the planchet 2 or more times a double or even triple die error occurs. Double Die Obverse (front) and Double Die Reverse (back) are common this year as well. Double Die errors can be hard to spot when searching for coin errors. Try looking at the fine details of numbers, letters, and mint marks. If you see a tiny portion of the lettering repeated under, above, or next to anything this is likely a Double Die strike error.
Struck on Penny 1C Planchet - Red or brown in color instances of 1971 Halves struck on 1c penny planchets are indeed an error. They are smaller and thinner than the non error counterparts. A major portion of the coins will also be missing due to the fact that pennies don't have the same diameter as half dollars.
1971 Clipped Planchet 50C - When a round die clips the edge of a coin it will create a cookie cutter appearance on the edge of the coin. In other words a portion of the half dollar in the shape of a crescent will be missing.
Lamination Error - Lamination errors are also present this year. When the outer portion of the coin is missing due to an error in the production process this is called a Lamination error.ckel jacket over a copper core.
How much is a 1971 S Half Dollar worth?
This section is more of a layman's guide, for those new to collecting.
In Average Circulated (AC) condition it's worth around $1, one in certified mint state (MS+) condition could bring as much as $40 at auction. This price does not reference any standard coin grading scale. So when we say Average Circulated, we mean in a similar condition to other coins circulated in 1971, and mint state meaning it is certified MS+ by one of the top coin grading companies. *** [?].
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Overall Specs & Design
This coin has a total mass of 11.34 g, a diameter of 30.6 mm, and a thickness of 2.15 mm. It's edge is Reeded, and the coins are composed of 1971 - Present 75% copper, 25% nickel, 1965-1970 40% silver 60% copper, 1964 - 90% Silver 10% copper.
Designer: Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro
Front (Obverse): The front or coin obverse contains the profile of John F. Kennedy gazing to the left. The words In GOD We Trust and Liberty are engraved. Mint marks are located to the bottom center of the bust. The date is present as well.
Back (Reverse): Contains a bald eagle grasping 13 arrow in its right claw, and am olive branch also containing 13 olives. A shield protects the eagles chest. 13 stars radiate along lines stemming from the eagles wings. These represent the original 13 colonies. The words United States of America and Half Dollar are present and engraved on the reverse as well.
P, D, S, W mint marks are present on coins. The initials FG stand for Frank Gasparro the designer of the coins reverse.
***Price subject to standard supply and demand laws, dealer premiums, and other market variations. Prices represent past values fetched at online auctions, estate sales, certified coins being sold by dealers, and user submitted values. While we wholeheartedly try to give honest price estimates there are many factors besides appearance, metal content, and rarity that help make up the coins overall value. Call or visit your local coin dealer for more information.
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