These coins were authorized on February 24 1925 in the same bill that authorized the “Vermont Battle of Bennington” and "1925 California Diamond Jubilee” Halves. The original bill allowed for a mintage of not more than 300,000 pieces. The initial press run was 50,000 with an additional 28 minted and held for assay, but the mint eventually melted 35,034 unsold pieces leaving a net mintage of 14,994. The coin celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of Fort Vancouver Washington in 1825. Sidney Bell, an artist from Portland Oregon was selected to create the design, which he did. He then turned the design over to Laura Gardin Fraser to create the models. The halves were coined in San Francisco, but the “S” mint Mark was inadvertently left off the dies, so they appear to have been made in Philadelphia!
The obverse shows a bust of Dr. John McLoughlin who founded Fort Vancouver while working for the Hudson Bay Company. His name can be found under the bust. The bust divides the Motto with “In God” and the 1825 date on the left and “We Trust” and the 1925 date on the Right. “United States of America" arcs across the top, and “Half Dollar” is along the rim under the bust.
The reverse design is dominated by a Frontiersman in buckskins and a coon skin cap holding a rifle at the ready in front of a depiction of the Ft. Vancouver stockade with a mountain in the background. The sculptors’ initials “LGF” are in the foreground just below the stockade. The inscriptions are in a ring outside the design and include “Fort Vancouver Centennial” across the top and two arcs of text along the bottom. On the inside in small font is:”Vancouver Washington Founded 1825 by”. These words are separated by dots. Outside is a second line in larger font “Hudson’s Bay Company” with large gaps (and no dots) between the words!
General Market Notes
Many of these coins were severely handled or harshly cleaned. It is very difficult to find a truly uncirculated example of this coin.