Wayne Pearson submitted these thoughts on a new design for the Kennedy half dollar.
Once upon a time the half dollar coin circulated as everyday commerce.
Not so much anymore.
I remember going to a Pizza King in 1968, when I was eight. My parents gave me the money and sent me inside to pick up our pizza.
I was second in line behind a man who was already receiving his change-which included a half dollar coin. He became enraged, saying,
I don't want this damn thing, as he threw it down on the counter. The half dollar began titter-tottering from side to side, making a ringing sound.
The man then looked to me, and then back to the woman working the counter, explaining that it didn't fit in vending machines.
Sodas were a dime at that time.
Now, fifty-four years later, sodas are at least fifty cents, yet vending machines still don't take half dollar coins.
If it is the size, we could reduce the 30.6 mm size to 27.3 mm like the 50 pence coin in Great Britain.
The equilateral curved heptagon shape allows the 50 pence coin to roll.
And with a new shape we would not encounter the confusion we had with the smaller Susan B. Anthony dollar coin.
Our current John F. Kennedy half dollar, beginning in 1964, is now 58 years old. That is longer than Kennedy lived-dying at 46.
With our semiquincentennial afoot, in 2026, it is finally time for a new Kennedy design.
Combining the heptagon idea and a new Kennedy design, here are two examples of half dollar coin using the Kennedy design from the 1961 Paul Manship inaugural medal.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Inaugural Medal
Wayne Homren, Editor
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