Although not offered as Mint State 68, five 1936 York County, Maine,
Tercentenary half dollars in their original holder of release, all
colorfully toned with apparently undisturbed original surfaces,
reached levels expected of coins in grading service slabs with the
Mint State 68 grade or higher.
However, none of the five commemorative coins that crossed the
auction block July 17 at Centennial Auctions was graded and encapsulated
by a third-party grading service. Centennial’s lead auctioneer, Steve
Schofield, says the auction house often prefers not to have coin lots
graded and encapsulated, instead letting potential buyers evaluate the
coins themselves and bid accordingly.
New information on the 1866-S No Motto coins:
Also in our last weekly issue of the month, John Kraljevich Jr.
goes into what George Washington's ledger revealed, including how
many gold doubloons he had on hand.
The lot of five York County half dollars, consigned by a family who
only recently discovered the coins, realized $17,825. The coins were
housed in the four-sided, slotted cardboard holder with historical
information in which York National Bank issued the coins, priced at
$1.50 per coin, in 1936 from its Saco, Maine, premises.
The toning on the silver commemorative half dollars apparently is
the result of the coins being housed in their original cardboard
packaging, undisturbed for years.
The average price of $3,565 per coin exceeds the value for MS-68
examples in published price guides, including Coin World’s Coin
Values, as well as prices realized for examples of the
commemoratives in MS-68 in major coin auctions.
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July 17 auction bidding began at $8,000 after numerous interested
parties made absentee bids.
“I knew that the coins were exceptional, but never expected this
kind of result,” Schofield said. “It shows the power of an auction.
The family is still amazed at the price.”
The five coins were only recently discovered by the family, for whom
Centennial sold a coin and stamp collection a year ago. Their
existence was unknown until this spring when the family was cleaning
out a dresser and discovered the .900 fine silver coins in the back of
one of the drawers.
The coins apparently had been purchased by a family member upon the
commemorative coin release in 1936.
The family was not sure whether the coins were worth anything, but
decided to contact Schofield anyway. After viewing cell phone photos
of the coins sent by the family, Schofield said he told the family not
to do anything with them and immediately drove over to meet the family
within an hour of being notified of the coins’ existence.
Congressional legislation enacted June 26, 1936, authorized the
release of no more than 30,000 commemorative half dollars struck at a
single Mint, in this case, Philadelphia.
The Committee for the Commemoration of the Founding of York County
selected Portland, Maine, artist Walter Rich to execute the adopted designs.
The obverse depicts the original settlement of Brown’s Garrison, the
site in Saco on which York National Bank was chartered in 1803; a
rising sun in the background and a horse and rider in the foreground.
The design is based on artwork in Frank C. Deering’s 1931 work, The
Proprietors of Saco.
The reverse illustrates the York County seal, depicting a cross
within a shield, with a pine tree at the upper left.
Single coins, at $1.50 each, were packaged in paper coin envelopes,
with two different slotted insert folders capable of holding five
coins each. Coins shipped to out-of-state buyers were $1.65 each postpaid.
The total mintage was 25,015, which included 15 coins for assay purposes.