1964 Kennedy Half Dollar. SMS. Specimen-67+ (PCGS). Predominantly brilliant surfaces are enhanced by occasional blushes of iridescent champagne-gold. A fully struck, satin to semi-reflective specimen with exceptional visual appeal.The shocking assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas sent the entire nation into mourning. Efforts to commemorate the slain president on the nations coinage began just a few days later, and quickly the half dollar was chosen as the preferred denomination. On November 27, Mint Director Eva Adams instructed Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts to design and prepare models for a new half dollar to replace the 16-year-old Franklin half design the following year. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was closely consulted, and she recommended that the new coin should be based on Kennedys official inaugural medal produced by the Medallic Art Company with a left-facing profile bust on the obverse and the Presidential Seal for the reverse. Work on the new design was divided between Roberts who worked on the obverse and Assistant Engraver Frank Gasparro who modeled the reverse. Only three weeks after the presidents death, trial strikes were ready to be presented to Mrs. Kennedy and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy for their feedback. They approved the design with some minor revisions. To bypass the 25 year coin design restriction, Congress quickly debated and passed the Act of December 30, 1963 allowing for the coin to be put into production. This commenced in early January 1964 with the first of the Proof coins. They were soon followed by production of circulation pieces at Denver on January 30, then at Philadelphia the following week. On March 24, 1964 - only four months after Kennedys assassination -- the coins were officially released to the public to great success. An enormous number were struck: 273,304,004 at Philadelphia, 156,205,446 at Denver, and then finally 3,950,762 Proof coins.With such a ubiquitous coin type as the 1964 Kennedy half dollar it is hard to imagine that within it is one of the great modern rarities. But there are a dozen or so mysterious specimen strike examples known that are unlike any other Kennedy half. The strike on these few coins is particularly bold with crisp definition and a squared off wire rim. The surfaces also show clear evidence of extensive and purposeful die preparation work. This preparation is most clearly observed by the discernible die polishing lines on the reverse connecting the bottom tip of the lower crossbar of the F in OF to the A in AMERICA and another prominent polishing line leading from the tip of the lower crossbar of the F in HALF extending all the way to the rim just near the D in DOLLAR. The principal diagnostic marker is on the obverse in the form of the so-called "Dangling 4" - a small but clearly defined protrusion hanging from the tip of the right crossbar in the 4 in the date that is evident on all but one known specimen. These dies appear to have been specifically prepared for just these few coins and have not been observed on any other 1964 half dollar. To date the purpose of these coins has not been determined.The first of these coins appeared to the numismatic community as lot 591 in our (Stacks) June 1991 sale of a five-piece coin set all with the same distinctive specially prepared finish. Two months after the first set appeared for sale, Adams died on August 23, 1991. The generally accepted explanation is that the coins were produced for Director Adams who may have intended them to be distributed them as gifts or to keep for herself. The coins were then sold by her family or possibly another Mint employee through New York coin dealer Lester Merkin toward the end of her life. Merkin himself died in June 1992 and any remaining sets in his estate were also sold through Stacks from 1991 to 1995, for a total of nine such sets. Since then about a dozen of these special 1964 half dollars have so far been traced, making them the rarest non-error issue of the entire Kennedy series and one of the most challenging of all modern US coins. Most are tightly held in advanced cabinets and only once in a great appear at auction. A spectacular example of one of the rarest and most intriguing modern coins. From the D. Brent Pogue Collection. Earlier, from Heritages FUN Signature Coin Auction of January 2010, lot 2793.