More than eight years ago, in one of my early posts, I posted a brief story about the Fort Vancouver Centennial half dollar; you can read it here: 1925 Fort Vancouver Centennial
In the post, I presented an MS-64 ( PCGS
) coin that I had in my collection (and still do!) and stated "The coin currently in my collection is an MS-64 that is clean, has terrific luster and is completely untoned. It will be upgraded at some point, but not until the "right" coin is found!" I found a suitable upgrade 3+ years ago while at the Whitman
show in Baltimore but forgot about posting it.
So, I thought it might be a good time to present my "new" Fort Vancouver half dollar and to add a few tidbits about the coin...
Bills calling for half dollar coins to mark the centennial of the founding of Fort Vancouver in Washington were introduced in the House and Senate in 1924. Each of the bills was referred to its respective Committee; the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures in the House and the Committee on Finance in the Senate. Neither bill was reported out of committee, however, so no further action was taken during the 1st Session of the 68th Congress.
Early in the 2nd Session of the 68th Congress, the coin's Congressional sponsor - Representative Albert Johnson (R-WA) - agreed to accept a commemorative medal in lieu of a 50-cent coin. (The Treasury Department had begun to push back on commemorative coin proposals by 1925.) Bills for the medal were soon introduced in the House and Senate; the bills called for up to 50,000 medals to be struck on behalf of the Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation of Vancouver, Washington.
The medal proposal was abandoned by Johnson, however, when he learned of the Senate's passing of a bill to strike coins for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bennington and the independence of Vermont.
After debate in the House and Senate, the Bennington/Vermont bill was amended to include language authorizing coins to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the admission of California into the Union as well as Johnson's desired half dollar for the 100th anniversary of the founding of Fort Vancouver by the Hudson's Bay Company in the State of Washington
In the end, the amended Senate Bill 3895 became Public Law 68-452 with President Calvin Coolidge's signature on February 24, 1925 and the US had three new half dollar coins for its commemorative series.
The section of the legislation regarding the Fort Vancouver coin called for the striking of up to 300,000 coins for the Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation of Vancouver, Washington - the same sponsor as for the original coin proposal and the medal - but did not place a restriction on which Mint facility or facilities could be used. So, while all of the coins were struck at the San Francisco Mint (without a mint mark!), the coins could also have been struck at Philadelphia and/or Denver. A total of 50,000 coins (+28 assay coins) were struck in San Francisco and delivered to the Centennial Corporation, but ~15,000 were later returned to the Mint to be melted along with the assay coins; the final net mintage for the coin is believed to be just under 15,000. The coins were sold for $1.00 each with the proceeds earmarked to support the Vancouver Centennial pageant that was to be held during the celebration. The historical pageant featured over 200 cast members dressed in period wardrobe.From my previous post:
The [design for the] coin was originally sketched by John Urquhart and modeled by Sydney Bell. Laura Gardin Fraser finalized this initial work and is responsible for the coin as struck. Dr. John McLoughlin is depicted on the obverse, while the reverse features a fur trapper in the foreground with Fort Vancouver and Mt. Hood in the background. Dr. McLoughlin was the HBC's Chief Factor (Manager) of the Columbia District, taking on his position in 1824. He oversaw the construction and completion of Fort Vancouver in 1825, and held the fort's lead management position until 1846 when he resigned from the company.
MS-65 upgrade coin that I present here is another brilliant and flashy piece (just like my MS-64!) with wonderful luster and very slightly cleaner fields vs. the MS-64 coin. I was happy to find it and add it to my collection!