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John F. Kennedy:  35th President (1961 – 1963)

2015 Presidential $1 Coin: John F. Kennedy
Obverse
2015 John F. Kennedy
Presidential $1 Uncirculated Coin

Presidential $1 Uncirculated Coin Reverse
Reverse
Presidential $1 Uncirculated Coin




John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917.  He enrolled in Harvard in 1940 and during his senior year, wrote his thesis on Great Britain's lack of readiness for war with Germany, which was later published as Why England Slept. 

Despite numerous health problems, Kennedy joined the U.S. Navy after graduation, and was sent to the South Pacific where he was injured when the patrol torpedo boat he commanded was rammed by an enemy warship.  Despite his injuries, Kennedy guided the surviving crew members to safety and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart for his heroism. 

Following his military service, Kennedy worked as a reporter for a brief period before successfully running for the U.S. Congress, first serving six years in the House of Representatives (1947 – 1953) and then seven years in the U.S. Senate (1953 – 1960).  During his tenure in the senate, while recuperating from back surgery, Kennedy penned his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage

The Democratic Party nominated Kennedy as its candidate for President in 1960.  He won the election by a small margin, becoming the youngest man elected president and the first Roman Catholic to hold the office.  Kennedy was in office less than three years when he was struck down by an assassin's bullet on November 22, 1963. 

Highlights of President Kennedy's administration include the:

  • Launch of the first American manned spaceflight, Freedom 7.
  • Bay of Pigs, an attempt to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis, the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over nuclear missiles in Cuba.
  • Signing of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, an agreement between the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union to ban nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, in space, and underwater.
  • Establishment of the Peace Corps.

Coinage legislation enacted during presidency:

  • Act of September 5, 1962 – An Act to amend Section 3515 of the Revised Statutes to eliminate tin from the alloy of the one-cent piece. The bronze one-cent piece was first legislated during the Civil War by the Act of April 22, 1864, which set the one-cent piece at 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. In 1942 the Mint was mandated to conserve tin and as it researched several materials, developed a one-cent coin of only copper and zinc which alloy proved entirely satisfactory to the life, quality, and appearance of the coin. The use of tin was resumed after the emergency, but the experience became part of the argument for removing tin 20 years later. Finally, in 1962, Congress responded to U.S. Mint concerns that use of tin added nothing to the quality of the coin produced, and that stabilizing the one-cent coin at 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc was superior for design purposes and had manufacturing advantages.

United States Mint Directors Appointed:

  • Eva Adams of Nevada – 1961–1969
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