One of the four different commemorative coins issued during the year was the 1925 Fort Vancouver Centennial Half Dollar. This coin featured designs by Portland, Oregon artist Sidney Bell, which were modeled by Laura Gardin Fraser.
The occasion commemorated was the 100th anniversary of the founding Fort Vancouver, Washington. This outpost had served as a trading center for settlers and Native Americans within the territory. The coins were issued as part of a week long local celebration and sold for $1 each.
Dr. John McLoughlin is depicted on the obverse of the coin. He had established Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River in 1825 and later went on to found Oregon City. Inscriptions include “United States of America”, the dual dates “1825-1925”, “In God We Trust”, “D. John McLoughlin”, and “Half Dollar”.
The reverse of the Fort Vancouver Half Dollar portrays a pioneer holding a musket with the Fort and a mountain peak in the background. Inscriptions read “Fort Vancouver Centennial”, “Vancouver Washington Founded 1825 by Hudson’s Bay Company”.
Authorized production was set at 300,000, which proved far too optimistic. A quantity of 50,000 coins was struck at the San Francisco Mint (although the coins did not carry the “S” mint mark) and after unsold coins were returned for melting, net distribution was a paltry 14,994 coins. The commemorative program had been authorized under the same Act which had provided for the California Diamond Jubilee Half Dollar and Bennington Vermont Half Dollar.
Fort Vancouver Half Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: Laura Gardin Fraser
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 12.50 grams
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Authorization: Public Law 68-452
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 300,000
Fort Vancouver Half Dollar Mintages