Few moments in the 20th Century have been examined and probed in greater detail than the events that occurred in Dallas, Texas, on the morning of November 22, 1963. When three shots were fired in rapid succession from an open sixth floor window above Dealey Plaza, the course of our Nation’s history was irrevocably changed. The youthful and eloquent President of the United States, the standard bearer of a new and passionate generation, was dead. In the terrible sadness of the days and weeks that followed the sudden, tragic death of President John F. Kennedy officials at the United States Mint received numerous letters and telegrams suggesting a "coin of the United States be struck in honor of our late President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy."1 At the time, changing the designs on our circulating coinage was not nearly as common as it is today. A new reverse design featuring the Lincoln Memorial was released for the one-cent coin in 1959, but to this day the obverse portrait of President Abraham Lincoln looks much the same as it did in 1909, when the coin was first released. George Washington was placed on the quarter-dollar in 1932 and Thomas Jefferson has claimed the nickel as his home since 1938. For a quarter century, between 1938 and 1963, these three notable American Presidents formed the foundation of our nation's circulating coinage. The pace of coin redesign for the first half of the 20th Century followed this pattern of one or two changes every 10-15 years, slowly replacing allegorical renditions of Liberty with portraits in tribute to actual Americans, leaders whose service to the emerging Nation had earned them such high honor. In 1948, one of the most beloved founding fathers joined the ranks of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln with the introduction of the 50-cent coin bearing the likeness of Benjamin Franklin on the obverse and the Liberty Bell on the reverse.
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