The three hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Maryland Colony by Cecil Calvert was the occasion for this special coin.
The 3/4 facing bust labeled CECIL CALVERT is that of the second Lord Baltimore (after whom the city is named); the reverse features his arms, quartered with his wife's (a cross botony), as those were adapted for the arms of the State of Maryland. We have no been able to ascertain why the mantling or the triple crest were used, though the coronet and flags (above the helmet) appear on the Lord Baltimore Denarium or "Penny" of 1658. The reason Baltimore (1609-1675) is portrayed is that he received the immense land grant (some 10,000,000 acres of what is now called Maryland) from King Charles I, ruling it was a benevolent despot, but according his subjects religious freedom at a time when it was not to be found anywhere else in the English speaking world except Rhode Island.
The two supporters apparently represent Labor (with the spade) and Fisheries (with the fish). Next to Labor's foot are initials HS for Hans Schuler, the designer. As for the motto, FATTI MASCHII PAROLE FEMINE ("Deeds are manly, words are womanly"), that belongs to the State of Maryland, which to date has not shown any disposition to repudiate this sexist rubbish. The date 1634 is that of arrival of the 200 odd colonists at St. Mary's, the first group to settle in Maryland after Lord Baltimore obtained his grant.
The Maryland Tercentenary Commission in Baltimore induced its friends in Congress, notably Senator Phillips Lee Goldsborough (a former Republican Governor and a friend of President Roosevelt, who later appointed him to the board of directors of the FDIC), and Senator Millard Tydins (D._Maryland), to speak for the bill which sought to authorize coinage of commemorative half dollars for the Tercentenary celebrations to be held statewide that summer and fall.
This bill became the Act of May 9, 1934; it was the first commemorative coinage act to mention the Director of the Mint as responsible for the mintage, or to mention that the coins were to be sold above face value.
Gerard Soes, whose early painting of Lord Baltimore was Schuler's source. However, even that does not excuse the Puritan collar worn by Lord Baltimore, the Cavalier of Cavaliers. Schuler would have done better to go to Lord Baltimore's own coins, which show a very different portrait.
As usual, excessive haste prevailed in making the models. Schuler's preliminary models were completed as of May 9, 1934, and arrived at the Philadelphia Mint on May 10. A few minor revisions became necessary notably, removal of thirteen stars from obverse field and the revised models were approved during the last week of May, being sent at once to the Medallic Art Company of New York for reduction to half dollar size.
The Philadelphia Mint made 25,000 coins during July 1934. The Maryland Tercentenary Commission managed to sell almost 15,000 of the coins at $1 apiece by mid-November 1934, mostly to locals; during the following month they moved about 5,000 more at the same price.
During 1935 the remaining 250 rolls (5,000 coins) were offered at 75c apiece; about 2,000 pieces went at this figure, the remainder being dumped at 65c each.
One of us (A.S.) has been in touch with representatives of several Maryland families who purchased 20 rolls at 65c per coin; these specimens remain off the market, being held for sentimental reasons. Matte proofs of this issue exist; the number is unknown but has been estimated at four. To date three different ones have been examined.
On comparison with the exceptionally sharp business strike shown at the head of this section, we at once realize the extreme danger posed by normal business strikes which have been pickled or sandblasted.
Actually, the vast majority of survivors are weaker impressions, which would become weaker still if fraudulently treated to simulate proofs; compare the illustration of the proof and the ordinary striking below it. Note especially hair, eyebrows, and cheekbones.
About ten original holders are known, as illustrated above, but they are not in any sense distinctive and could easily be imitated, being in fact standard Dennison coin holders.