The founding of the first county of Maine was commemorated by the 1936 York County Tercentenary Half Dollar (Buy on eBay). This issue was released amidst the outpouring of other commemoratives issued during the year, for occasions both significant and relatively obscure.
Designs for the coin were created by Walter H. Rich, a wildlife painter from Portland. The obverse features an image of Brown’s Garrison, the original settlement of York County. The image is based on a woodcut printed in The Proprietors of Saco. Within a large circular border are inscriptions “United States of America” and “Half Dollar”. Within the central image are inscriptions “Liberty” and “E Pluribus Unum”.
The reverse of the coin features the York County Seal, which consists of a shield containing a cross and pine tree. Inscriptions within the border read “York County” and “First County in Maine”. Within the central area are the anniversary dates “1636” and “1936” with the motto “In God We Trust”.
The maximum authorized mintage for the York Half Dollars was 30,000 pieces. An initial quantity of 25,015 was struck at the Philadelphia Mint and offered for sale by the York County Tercentenary Coin Commission for $1.50 to state residents and $1.65 to those out of state. Sales of remaining unsold quantities are said to have continued until the 1950’s.
For present day collectors, the 1936 York County Half Dollar is readily available, even in gem condition. On many examples, contact marks may be visible on the vertical lines which compose the cross on the reverse, but with a little patience a clean example can be found.
York County Half Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: Walter H. Reich
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 12.50 grams
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Authorization: Public Law 74-485
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 30,000
York County Half Dollar Mintage