Classic Coins - Fort Vancouver
The Fort Vancouver Half Dollar commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Fort Vancouver in
the state of Washington by Dr. John McLoughlin of the Hudson Bay Company.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments, fun
On February 24, 1925, the 68th Congress approved an act which became Public Law 68-452 to recognize three
historical anniversaries with three different coins. One of those coins was the Fort Vancouver half dollar.
Section 2 of the law included, "That in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Fort
Vancouver by the Hudson Bay Company, State of Washington, there shall be coined at the mints of the United States
silver 50-cent pieces to the number of not more than three hundred thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the
standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with
the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to
the amount of their face value."
In addition, the law defined the delivery, "...shall be issued only upon the request of the executive committee
of the Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation, of Vancouver, Washington, and upon payment by such executive
committee for and on behalf of the Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation of the par value of such coins, and it
shall be permissible for the said Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation to obtain said coins upon said payment, all
at one time or at separate times, and in separate amounts, as it may determine."
The law concluded with the Proviso: "That the United States shall not be subject to the expense of making the
necessary dies and other preparations for this coinage."
Characteristics - Fort Vancouver Half
Metal Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Diameter - millimeters: 30.6
Diameter - inches: 1.2
Weight - grams: 12.5
Weight - troy ounce: 0.401884332
Silver content weight - troy ounce: 0.3617
Mint Locations: San Francisco
Years Minted: 1925
The coin's silver content alone makes it more valuable than its face value of $0.50.
But, the coin's age, its condition and its desirability make it even more valuable as a collectible.
The coin's estimated value ranges from $242 (low grade - XF) to $1000 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the Fort Vancouver Half Dollar can command a price outside the estimated
Obverse - Fort Vancouver Half
The obverse or front of the coin shows a profile portrait of Dr. John McLoughlin, builder of the fort.
The coinage inscriptions include United States of America, Half Dollar, 1825-1925, In God We Trust, and Dr.
Artist: Laura Gardin Fraser
Reverse - Fort Vancouver Half
The reverse or back of the coin shows the full-length figure of a frontiersman in buckskin and a 'coon-skin
cap holding a gun. The fort and northwest mountain range can be seen in the background.
The coinage inscriptions say, Fort Vancouver Centennial, and Vancouver Washington Founded 1825 by Hudson's
Artist: Laura Gardin Fraser
Commentary - Fort Vancouver Half
Though the stated mintage limit was 300,000, records show less than 15,000 of the coins were distributed.
The coin pictured above resides in a PCGS holder and is graded as an MS-63. (PCGS is Professional Coin Grading
Versions of the coin also exist in higher grades such as an MS-66 grade.
Look closely on the reverse to find the artist's initials, "LGF" just below the fort's wall near the inner
When the Hudson's Bay Company decided to open a presence on the Columbia river in 1824, George
Simpson, head of the Hudson's Bay Company's Northern Department traveled to Fort George with Dr. John
Dr. McLoughlin journeyed up the Columbia River searching for a suitable location for their new fort.
Dr. McLoughlin chose and location, and even with the northwest's difficult weather, he and his
resources built a stockade 13 feet high including two warehouses for merchandise.
In 1825, Simpson with McLoughlin beside him christened the fort, "In behalf of the Honorable Hudson's Bay
Company, I hereby name this establishment Fort Vancouver."
Fort Vancouver initially served as a fur trading outpost for the northwest.
Large for its time, the fort was 750 long by 450 feet wide.
The fort housed 40 buildings, including housing, warehouses, a school, a library, a pharmacy, a chapel, a
blacksmith, and a large manufacturing facility.
The residential village just outside fort held employees of Hudson's Bay Company and contained additional
housing, fields, gardens, fruit orchards, a shipyard, a distillery, a tannery, a sawmill, and a dairy.
The residential area was called Kanaka Village because of the many Hawaiian natives employed by the
company who lived in the village.
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Fort Vancouver for a variety of
useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.