York County, Maine Tercentenary half dollar
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|Value||50 cents (0.50 US dollars)|
|Thickness||2.15 mm (0.08 in)|
|Silver||0.36169 troy oz|
|Years of minting||1936|
|Mintage||25,015 (30,000 coins were authorized)|
|Mint marks||None, all pieces struck at the Philadelphia Mint without mint mark|
|Designer||Walter H. Rich|
|Design||York County Seal|
|Designer||Walter H. Rich|
The York County, Maine Tercentenary half dollar was designed by Walter H. Rich and minted in 1936 to commemorate the tercentenary (300th anniversary) of the founding of York County. The reverse shows Brown’s Garrison, the fort around which York County was formed, while the obverse depicts the arms of York County.
The York County, Maine Tercentenary half dollar was one of several early commemoratives issued for its local significance. The commemorative was approved largely due to the connections that many of the coin's sponsors had, including numismatist Walter P. Nichols, who was at the time the Treasurer of the Committee for Commemoration of the Founding of York County. The bill authorizing minting of the commemorative passed on June 26th, 1936, at the height of the speculative market in commemorative coins.
The sculpting for the coin's design was done by G. S. Pacetti Company of Boston, while the dies were reduced from the original sculpture by New York City’s Medallic Art Company. As Rich's designs were sculpted in bronze rather than the usual plaster, the design has an unusually flat relief more reminiscent of later (late 20th century onward) designs.
Although the bill had called for 30,000 coins to be minted, 25,015 coins were eventually minted. With the exception of the first 100 coins, the commemoratives were originally sold in folding paper holders which depicted on their front cover black line drawings of Brown's Garrison and the York National Bank of Saco. Also included were slots to hold up to five more coins, as well as a tissue paper insert that read "We thank you for your interest in our commemorative half dollar, and extend to you the hospitality of York County, Maine. York County Commemorative Coin Commission." The first 100 coins minted, although identical given no special treatment, were sold in a map that depicted "Olde York County Maine" and was mounted in a glass case for presentation. Each was numbered corresponding to the order which the coin was minted.
Although sales were initially good, the sales slowed later on in the year due to a collapse on the commemorative coin market. The unsold coins, however, were not melted (as was the case with many unsold commemoratives at the time), and were sold in lots of 10 during the 1950s.
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