Coins - 1966 Special Mint
For the 1966 Special Mint Set, the US Mint changed the package. A hard plastic lens held the five coins in
individual circles and was inserted into a blue box. The 1966 half dollar was the only coin to contain silver at
40% of its metal content. In 1966, the mints continued to make coins without identifying mint marks.
The 1966 Special Mint Set arrived in a long narrow blue box with "United States Special Mint Set" on the
1966 Special Mint Set Package
The back of the box did not include any additional identifying marks.
Opening one end of the box allows the 1966 Special Mint set to slide out.
1966 Special Mint Set Uncirculated Coins
In the 1966 Special Mint Set each coin was held separately in its own circle of plastic within the clear lens.
Blue plastic with individual circles for the coins provided a background. The coins were arranged from the largest
to smallest denomination.
On the reverse, the clear lens allows easy viewing of the various designs on the coins.
At the top of the obverse side of the lens, a silver colored heraldic eagle resides between "United States" and
"Special Mint Set."
1966 Special Mint Set Coins and Metals
The 1966 Special Mint Set's coins contained the following metals:
Penny: 95% copper; 5% zinc
Nickel: 75% copper; 25% nickel
Dime: 91.67% copper; 8.33% nickel
Quarter: 91.67% copper; 8.33% nickel
Half Dollar: 60% copper; 40% silver (.1479 troy ounce of pure silver)
Click on Mint Set Population to view the contents of the sets
through the years. Take a look at the overall Mint Set page to see how the values
compare among the sets.
1966 Special Mint Set Year - News about Coins and the US Mint
(note: the below links to newspapers open in a new window)
New Half Dollar Is 'Clad' Coin
Reading Eagle - Feb 6, 1966
The Denver Mint worked around the clock to produce the half dollar and relieve the shortage. Bankers and mint
officials blamed 'hoarding' of silver for the coin shortage. The Denver Mint used equipment from the Carson City
Mint and the San Francisco Mint dating from the 1870s. The Carson City Mint equipment broke down making pennies,
but the old San Francisco Mint equipment was still striking the new quarters. The mint had struck 11 million new
'clad' half dollars and would mint roughly 80 to 100 million by the end of June.
Coin Collector's Corner
Schenectady Gazette - Feb 24, 1966
Since the US Mint was no longer minting silver dollars, the gaming tables of Nevada needed new 'cartwheels' for
their gamblers. The Franklin Mint started operations to address the medallic needs not being met by the US Mint.
Their first efforts included making coin-like rounds for the Nevada casinos. Gilroy Roberts, the former chief
engineer at the US Mint, headed the new Franklin Mint.
Eugene Register-Guard - Feb 26, 1966
The article blamed speculators who bought coins by the "tons" and the Treasury Department who chose not to produce
sufficient coins for the increased need for the coin shortage.
Shortage of Coins Eases, US Fills Panama Order
The Milwaukee Journal - Mar 1, 1966
From 1876 to 1966, the US Mint had produced more than seven billion coins for 37 countries. The peak was in 1945
with more than 1.8 billion coins in 27 denominations for nine countries. In 1963, the mint stopped taking outside
orders, fulfilled the existing orders by early 1964 and focused their efforts domestically on the US coin
Shortage of Coins Seen Easing As US Gives Assist to Panama
Reading Eagle - Mar 2, 1966
After working diligently to reduce the coin shortage, the Mint Director allocated resources at the recently
re-opened San Francisco mint to satisfy a 1904 Treaty with Panama. This Treaty included a provision whereby the US
would make coins for Panama. The San Francisco mint began the seven million coin order. Supposedly, other countries
wanted the US to mint coins for them, but, per the Mint Director, they would need to wait until the new
Philadelphia mint facility opened.
Coins Possibly Sighted Here
Lewiston Morning Tribune - Mar 17, 1966
Area bankers started to receive a few of the new Kennedy half dollars. Some claimed the new 40% silver coins have a
different ring when dropped on a hard surface. Regardless, the bankers and merchants were glad to receive any half
dollar coins - 40% or 90% silver.
Half-Dollars Becoming More and More Scarce
Gadsden Times - Jul 24, 1966
They claim the continued half-dollar shortage is due to the remaining 40% silver content, but that hoarders would
be better off putting the money in the bank in an interest bearing account. With silver trading at $1.293 per troy
ounce, it would have to go to $3.38 for the new halves to contain 50 cents of silver. As for the 90% silver coins,
the silver rate per ounce would need to be roughly $1.38 to equal the 50 cents.
Half-Dollars Still Scarce, Little Need for Hoarding
The Morning Record - Jul 29, 1966
With the Mint's efforts, the coin shortage was over - except for the half dollar. Even with the increased
distribution, the half dollar coins were not circulating. The article compelled people not to hoard as the coin's
image would be around for 25 years. But, if the shortage continued, the new Joint Commission on Coinage, meeting
the year, would discuss the next steps.
Mint Worker Arrested For Coin Sales
Reading Eagle - Aug 16, 1966
A 26 year old Philadelphia Mint employee, an assistant foreman, was arrested and charged with embezzlement from the
mint when Secret Service agents determined he was selling mint errors to the public. The man had been an employee
for four years. Errors are normally destroyed by the mint making any errors that do go into circulation valuable to
collectors. But, this employee had been selling them for 18 months for "practically nothing."
Half Dollar Seen On the Way Out
Reading Eagle - Nov 17, 1966
The Vice President of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank predicted the half dollar would be phased out soon. People
collected the new half dollar coins with the late President Kennedy's portrait as soon as the mint produced them.
The Mint's increased production of the half dollars just meant more of the coins were put aside in people's
collections. He speculated that the mint would at least reduce production levels and might even phase out the half
The 1966 Special Mint Set Year saw news of the clad half dollar and continued coin shortages for the US