Former President John F. Kennedy is getting his old look back on new collectors’ coins.
JFK’s profile debuted on the half dollar 50 years ago, and the image was subtly tweaked and sharpened in the 1990s.
Now the US 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.
JFK replaced Benjamin Franklin on the half dollar in early 1964, months after the president was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Mint officials had begun discussing a Kennedy coin shortly after his death and were able to show his widow and brother Robert Kennedy trial strikes of the coin within a month after the assassination.
John F. Kennedy is getting his old look back on new collectors’ coins
Jacqueline Kennedy liked what she saw, but suggested making the hair part less pronounced and adding more accents. Her suggestions helped inform the final design by mint chief sculptor Gilroy Roberts.
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. Not only did JFK’s part become pronounced, but the strands of his hair became more defined, a characteristic collectors sometimes refer to as “spaghetti hair”. His cheeks became more angular, too.
The mint stopped making the Kennedy half dollar for general circulation in 2001, but it has continued on as a collectible coin.
The evolution of JFK’s profile in coinage was noticed last year by San Francisco mint employee Michael Levin, who convinced higher-ups that the original design was fuller and more lifelike. That led to the old profile making a comeback on three products from the mint this year. The coin’s “tail” side, a presidential coat of arms, is unchanged.
The gold proof coins being made at West Point with three-quarter ounces of 24-karat gold will begin going on sale August 5 at the World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois. 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 on Thursday will begin offering for $9.95 a set of two uncirculated quality coins from its facilities in Philadelphia and Denver.
A 50th Anniversary Kennedy half dollar silver-coin collection with coins with different finishes from each of the mint’s production facilities will go on sale in the fall.
President Barack Obama paid tribute to the legacy of the past and the politics of the present by awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – to 16 people.
Among those receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom in Wednesday ceremony are former President Bill Clinton, iconic talk show host Oprah Winfrey and late astronaut Sally Ride.
Barack also paid tribute to the memory of President John F. Kennedy.
“This is one of my favorite events every year,” said Barack Obama.
“This year it’s just a little more special, because this marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy establishing this award.”
Former President Bill Clinton was among those receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Barack Obama noted that members of the Kennedy clan were in attendance: Robert Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, and JFK’s grandson and son of Caroline Kennedy, Jack Schlossberg.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” says the White House.
Later in the day, presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton – and first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton – pay another tribute to JFK with a visit to his grave site at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The Obamas and Clintons will lay a wreath near the eternal flame that marks JFK’s final resting place.
The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination is Friday, November 22.
Barack Obama will again speak about JFK’s legacy during a dinner for the Medal of Freedom honorees at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
President Barack Obama will visit JFK’s grave on November 20 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the former president’s assassination, the White House has announced.
Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will be joined by their predecessors former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton at a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony Wednesday afternoon, as first reported by the Associated Press.
The actual anniversary falls on Friday.
Barack Obama will also be honoring one of John F. Kennedy’s last initiatives, presenting this year’s awards for the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday, the highest civilian awarded by the US.
Former prominent recipients of the medal will join the president in a tribute to JFK, who established the modern version of the medal months before his death.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary that President John F. Kennedy signed the Executive Order establishing the medal.
Barack Obama will visit JFK’s grave on November 20 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the former president’s assassination
JFK was assassinated just two weeks before he could honor the award’s first recipients. Since then, more than 500 people have been given the award, according to the White House.
The medal is presented to those who have made “especially meritorious” contributions to the security or national interests of the US, to world peace, or cultural and other public and private endeavors, according to the White House.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world,” Barack Obama said in a White House statement announcing this year’s recipients in August.
“It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”
This year, Barack Obama named 16 recipients for the award from the worlds of politics and science to the worlds of music and sports. Those to be honored include Bill Clinton, women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey, the late American female astronaut Sally Ride, country singer Loretta Lynn and Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.
Barack Obama has planned a speech on JFK’s legacy of service at the Smithsonian American History Museum at a dinner with former medal recipients including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, singer Aretha Franklin and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
He will also meet privately on Friday at the White House with leaders and members of the Peace Corps, another program President John F. Kennedy established.
The Peace Corps dates back to 1960, when JFK, then a senator, called on students at the University of Michigan to serve two years in volunteer service to help people in countries of the developing world, according to the Peace Corps web site.
Within weeks of his inauguration as president, JFK signed an Executive Order to establish the Peace Corps on a temporary pilot basis in March 1961. Since then, more than 210,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in 139 countries working on issues ranging from health and education to environmental preservation.
JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald may have been a loner in life, but it seemed in death he at least had Nick Beef next to him.
Visitors to Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave in Fort Worth, Texas, have wondered who Nick Beef was since a mysterious gravestone appeared next to the legendary killer’s around 1997.
The New York Times solved that mystery Friday, tracking down Nick Beef to New York City where he is alive and well.
Now 56-years-old, Nick Beef is a writer and “non-performing performing artist”.
Nick Beef was born Patric Abedin, the son of a Air Force navigator. When President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline landed at Carswell Air Force base in Fort Worth on November 21, 1963, he was there on the side of the road to welcome them to Texas with the many other well-wishers.
He had lost his father, so a military police officer pulled him up on his shoulders to find his dad.
Just then the president and first lady drove past and he had a prime view.
Visitors to Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave in Fort Worth, Texas, have wondered who Nick Beef was since a mysterious gravestone appeared next to the legendary killer’s around 1997
It was quite a story, and one that she shared with all of his classmates at Waverly Park Elementary School the next day.
At recess Nick Beef had to stay inside since he was an asthmatic, so he was alone when he heard the principal come on the loudspeaker twice to announce that first the president had been shot, and then that he was dead.
When his class returned, he had to break the news to his teacher and friends.
Years later, he relocated to Arlington, Texas with his remarried mother and would make a weekly trip back to the air base to get an asthma shot.
While in Fort Worth they would often stop at Rose Hill cemetery and look at Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave.
“Never forget that you got to see Kennedy the night before he died,” his mother would say.
In 1975, when Nick Beef was 18, he read in a newspaper article that the plot next to Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave had never been purchased and inquired about it at the cemetery.
He put $17.50 down on the plot and made 16 monthly payments of $10 to secure it.
Eventually Nick Beef would leave the state and move to New York, where he performed in a sketch-comedy troupe, and did some freelance humor writing. Nick Beef married, had two children and divorced.
When he went home to bury his mother in 1996, he stopped by the cemetery and asked to get a gravestone put on his plot.
When asked what he wanted, he decided on Nick Beef to protect his family name.
While he is a comic, he insists that buying the plot and placing the gravestone is not some elaborate joke.
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