WEST POINT, N.Y. - President John F. Kennedy is getting his old look back on new collectors' coins.
The slain president's profile debuted on the half dollar 50 years ago, and the image was subtly tweaked and sharpened in the 1990s. Now the U.S. Mint is producing collectors' coins that restore the original 1964 design, which incorporated suggestions from a grieving Jacqueline Kennedy.
Gold coins being stamped at the mint's West Point plant this week portray JFK's famously tousled head of hair a bit fluffier, his part is less severe and his cheeks less chiseled than on the half dollar discontinued in 2001. The throwback design being featured on the coins this year is truer to both the president's appearance and his widow's wishes, mint officials say.
"This really does look a lot more like him," said West Point plant manager Ellen McCullom.
Kennedy replaced Benjamin Franklin on the half dollar in early 1964, months after the president was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.
Jacqueline Kennedy liked what she saw on the coin by chief sculptor Gilroy Roberts, but suggested making the hair part less pronounced and adding more accents.
In the 1990s, improved technology allowed for tweaks in the design to show more detail, sort of the engraver's version of a high-definition broadcast.
The gold proof coins being made at West Point with three-quarter ounces of 24-karat gold will begin going on sale Aug. 5 at the World's Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill. That coin will be dated 1964-2014 and its price will be around $1,300, depending on the market price of gold.
For those with fewer spare dollars to buy coins, the mint will begin offering for $9.95 a set of two uncirculated quality coins from its facilities in Philadelphia and Denver.
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