NGC - The numismatic time capsule was sealed and dated prior to the coins' official release date.
NGC has certified an extraordinary bag of First Day of Issue 1964-D Kennedy half dollars submitted by Rare Collectibles TV (RCTV). The 2,000 Kennedy half dollars arrived at NGC still sealed in their original Federal Reserve Bank bag dated March 19, 1964 — five days before the coins' official release date!
The authenticity of the sealed Federal Reserve Bank bag was confirmed by numerous NGC experts, including Chairman and Grading Finalizer Mark Salzberg, President and Grading Finalizer Rick Montgomery, Vice President and Grading Expert Miles Standish, Grading Finalizer and Minting Expert David Camire and Research Director David W. Lange.
RCTV is a leading creator of numismatic content for television. It was co-founded by Rick Tomaska, author of six numismatic books focusing on Franklin and Kennedy half dollars, and Jack McNamara, the company's senior coin buyer.
"In all my years inspecting and handling tens of thousands of Kennedy half dollars, I have never come across a mint-sealed First Day of Issue bag of Kennedy half dollars," said Tomaska. "This bag is a numismatic time capsule, and it contains some of the most significant coins minted in the last 60 years."
"When my phone rang and someone said he had this original Federal Reserve Bank bag dated March 19, 1964, five days before the coins' official release date, my heart literally stopped beating for a second with simple disbelief," recalled Jack McNamara. "I knew I had to do my research and verify the facts. Once I did that, I knew RCTV had to own this piece of numismatic history and bring it to our loyal television viewers and customers."
NGC received the bag of 1964-D Kennedy half dollars from RCTV still sealed inside a metal bucket. Salzberg, who has previously examined several sealed bags of 1964 coins, opened the bucket to find a light tan canvas bag stamped with "American Trust Company." A tag was stapled to it with the text "Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco" printed in black ink and "Kennedy Halves, Mar 19, 1964" stamped in blue ink.
The bag was tied shut with a string crimped tight with a metal seal. Salzberg cut the string to find the bag still sewn shut with a line of stitching. The presence of both seals indicated that the bag was original and untouched.
"In my 40 years as a professional numismatist, I have had the opportunity to examine several sealed bags of 1964 cents and nickels, but I had never seen a bag of 1964 Kennedy half dollars before this one," Salzberg said. "This bag is truly a miracle of survival."
Mint Director Eva Adams authorized work to develop the Kennedy half dollar within days of the president's assassination on November 23, 1963. Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts adapted the 1961 Kennedy inaugural medal for the design of the obverse and Assistant Engraver Frank Gasparro based the reverse design on the presidential seal.
The first Kennedy half dollars were struck in January 1964, and the first coins were released to the public on March 24, 1964. This bag was sealed and dated prior to the coins' initial release, making them eligible for the prestigious NGC First Day of Issue designation.
The new Kennedy half dollars were immensely popular with collectors and the general public. When they were first released, banks quickly ran out of their supplies, making the existence of a still-sealed bag that much more extraordinary. Kennedy half dollars have endured in popularity since their initial release. Those dated 1964 are particularly prized by collectors for their status as the first year of issue and the last year with the famed 90% silver composition.
The 2,000 NGC-certified First Day of Issue 1964-D Kennedy half dollars will be listed on a separate line in the online NGC Census population report. They are the only 1964 Kennedy half dollars to have earned this important designation.
RCTV has said that these iconic First Day of Issue 1964-D Kennedy half dollars will be featured on "Rick's US coins" show, which airs on DirecTV, Dish, Spectrum, U-verse and Frontier. You can also learn more about these stunning coins at the company's website, RareCollectiblesTV.com.
The Denver mint's ceremonial first strike occurred in mid-February 1964. Even before that ceremony, Denver had been striking large quantities of business strike Kennedy halves and shipping them to the FRB. This bag may well have been released to the public on the first day of issue, but it also could have been released much later. It is possible (maybe probable) that other bags dating back to late January or early February still exist.
I grew up in Denver. I remember my dad taking the daily deposit from our family hardware store to the bank every afternoon. I made a lot of those trips with him, and usually bought a couple rolls of cents to search and returned my junk coins. I sure don't remember the day he mentioned it, and I know I wasn't with him that day because I would have remembered the scene, but he always told the story and laughed about having to wait to make the deposit because people were "waddling like penguins" out of the bank carrying bags of "those new half dollars." (He also used to call the Franklin halves "those coins with that hippie on them.")
I collect historic numismatic specimens with connection with a U.S. President and the U.S. Mint. (Historic describes something momentous or important in history. Historical simply describes something that belongs to an earlier period of history.)