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President Johnson Asks Congress for 50-Cent Piece with JFK’s Likeness

Dec. 10, 1963 - President Johnson asked Congress today to authorize a 50-cent coin bearing the likeness of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The 50-cent piece now being minted pictures Benjamin Franklin. It is the only U.S. coin now being minted that does not carry the likeness of a President. Abraham Lincoln is on the penny, Thomas Jefferson on the nickel, Franklin D. Roosevelt on the dime, and George Washington on the quarter. The silver dollar was last minted in 1935, when the Peace dollar was issued. It has a stylized representation of Liberty on one side and an eagle on the other. The Roosevelt dime was authorized by Congress within a month after the President’s death on April 12, 1945. Today, President Johnson called for prompt action by Congress “in order that the likeness of President Kennedy will appear on the 50-cent coin issued at the beginning of the calendar year 1964.” The proposed coin would carry the likeness of Mr. Kennedy and the inscription “Liberty, in God We Trust” on one side. On the other side would be an adaptation of the seal of the President and the words “United States of America, Half Dollar, E Pluribus Unum.” The Kennedy likeness would be the same as the one on the Presidential series of medals. It was sculpted by Gilroy Roberts, chief engraver of the United States Mint, and personally approved by Mr. Kennedy some months ago.


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