Classic Coins - York County
Maine Tercentenary Half Dollar
In 1936, the US Mint produced the York County Maine Tercentenary Half Dollar Classic Commemorative Coin to
celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of York County, one of the oldest counties in the US.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments, fun
On June 26, 1936, the second session of the 74th Congress approved an act which became Public Law
74-822 that authorized "the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the three-hundredth anniversary of the
founding of York County, Maine."
The law began, "That in commemoration of the three-hundredth anniversary of the founding of York County, Maine,
there shall be coined at a mint of the United States to be designated by the Director of the Mint not to exceed
thirty thousand silver 50-cent pieces of standard size, weight, and composition and of special appropriate single
design to be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, but the United
States shall not be subject to the expense of making the necessary dies and other preparations for this
"SEC. 2. The coins herein authorized shall bear the date 1936, irrespective of the year in which they are minted
or issued, shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value, and shall be issued only upon
the request of the Committee for the Commemoration of the Founding of York County upon payment by it of the par
value of such coins, but not less than twenty-five thousand such coins shall be issued to it at any one time and no
such coins shall be issued after the expiration of one year after the date of enactment of this Act. Such coins may
be disposed of at par or at a premium by such committee, and the net proceeds shall be used by it in defraying the
expenses incidental and appropriate to the commemoration of such event."
The law continues in Section 3 stating that all laws already in place applying to coinage shall also apply to
Characteristics - York County Maine
Tercentenary Half Dollar
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: Philadelphia
Years Minted: 1936
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 $160 (low grade - XF) to $265 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the York County Maine Tercentenary Half Dollar can command a price outside the
estimated value range.
Obverse - York County Maine Tercentenary Half
The obverse or front of the coin shows the stockade on the Saco River with a horseman, footed soldiers walking
the perimeter and the sun rising over the mountains.
The coinage inscriptions say, United States of America, Half Dollar, Liberty, and E Pluribus Unum.
Artist: Walter H. Rich
Reverse - York County Maine Tercentenary Half
The reverse or back of the coin features the Seal of York County with a tree in the upper left quadrant.
The coinage inscriptions read York County First County in Maine, 1636-1936, and In God We Trust.
Artist: Walter H. Rich
Commentary - York County Maine
Tercentenary Half Dollar
The stated mintage was "not to exceed thirty thousand silver 50-cent pieces" and "coined at a mint."
Records show the Philadelphia Mint produced 25,015 of the York County Maine Tercentenary half dollar
coins - just 15 above the designated allotment of one delivery.
The coin pictured above resides in an PCGS holder and is graded as an MS-66. (PCGS is Professional Coin Grading
Versions of the coin also exist across a variety of the grades.
Sir Ferdinando Gorges, considered the "Father of English Colonization in North America," held charter to the
Province of Maine.
He, though, never visited his charter, never even saw the New World. Instead, he sent his nephew, William
Gorges, to govern his charter.
In March 1636, William Gorges began his administration by opening a court at the home of Richard Bonython,
situated not far from the shore on the east side of Saco River.
Richard Bonython, Thomas Cammock, Henry Jocelyn, Thomas Purchase, Edward Godfrey and Thomas Lewis,
Commissioners, attended the meeting.
This was the first organized government established within the present State of Maine.
In 1647, Sir Ferdinando Gorges died destitute in 1647.
Thirty years later, his grandson, Ferdinando, sold the Maine holdings to Massachusetts for £1,250.
In August 1936 during the Tercentenary year, people honored the memory of John Holmes by a day of
He moved to Maine in 1799 and was instrumental in setting up Alfred as the county seat for York County.
He also advocated Maine's separation from Massachusetts.
Though, in 1816, the men of the town of Lebanon voted 29 for and 128 against separation from Massachusetts.
The tercentenary celebratory day, however, was in part for his efforts in 1807 to maintain all of the records at
the courthouse in Alfred.
Today, those records are the oldest in Maine.
The artistry on the reverse of the York County Maine Tercentenary half dollar recreates the York County Seal almost exactly with the addition of the inscriptions
"1636 1936" and "In God We Trust." Their web site includes an image of the reverse of the coin in addition to
their actual seal.
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe York County Maine Tercentenary for a
variety of useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.