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Commems Collection: 1934 Maryland Tercentenary Revisited

 
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 Posted 09/27/2016  4:49 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I thought I would update my brief original post about the Maryland Tercentenary half dollar (found here: 1934 Maryland Half Dollar), with a bit more discussion of the development of the coin's design.

Legislation authorizing the Maryland half dollar was signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on May 9, 1934 - more than four months into Maryland's tercentenary year! The late date of approval immediately put the Mint on a compressed production timeline and greatly restricted the time allowed for preparing the coin's design.

Fortunately, the Maryland Tercentenary Commission had engaged Hans Schuler to design the coin in advance of its approval. The Commission's foresight enabled Schuler to be far along in preparation of the coin's models when the half dollar was approved and enabled him to provide the designs to the Mint for review on May 10th.

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Schuler was a talented German-born (1874) sculptor who came to the US in 1880. He was a noted sculptor of medals and monuments, with many of the latter being erected in and around Baltimore. Schuler was also a teacher, and served as the Director of the Maryland Institute from 1925 until his death in 1951.

The artist's original designs featured a portrait of Cecil Calvert, Second Baron of Baltimore on the obverse and the Maryland Seal on the reverse - much as is seen on the issued coin. (See below for images of Schuler's original models.)

Several revisions were suggested, however, by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and US Mint staff. Among these was the removal of an arc of 13 stars above Cecil Calvert's portrait on the obverse. It was noted that while thirteen stars are often used on US coins as a symbolic reference to the original 13 states, they were out of place on the Maryland coin as the piece was commemorating the colonial Province of Maryland rather than the State.

Also suggested was the moving of "In God We Trust" from the coin's reverse to the obverse. In the original models, the position of the motto atop the Seal made it appear as if it was part of the Seal (which it is not). The Commission suggested keeping the coin's reverse focused on Maryland and using the obverse to meet all US-related coinage requirements. The repositioning of the motto forced the move of "Cecil Calvert" from its original location to the right of Calvert's portrait to a position directly below it.

Schuler was fine with these suggested changes and went so far as to note that he felt they made for a better overall design. I agree! I think the changes made for a cleaner overall design with a less cluttered feel.

Schuler did not, however, feel the same about one of the other requested changes. The CFA considered the large, plain collar Schuler used for Calvert to be more "Puritan" in design vs. the fancier "Cavalier" style collar seen in multiple contemporary portraits of Cecil and his brother Leonard. They suggested the collar be revised. Schuler countered these criticisms by citing as the basis for his design the circa 1670 portrait of Cecil by Gerard Soest. Schuler was steadfast on the portrait's original design and, as a result, the coin we are all familiar with today retains the simple collar design.

All in all, I believe Schuler's "collaboration" with the CFA and Mint was a success. The suggested revisions regarding the coin's stars and motto made sense and improved the coin's overall appearance, while Schuler's decision to maintain the simple style of Calvert's collar in no way detracted from the design seen on the final coin


Portrait of Cecil Calvert by Gerard Soest




1934 Maryland Commemorative Half Dollar - Obverse




1934 Maryland Commemorative Half Dollar - Reverse




Original Model for Obverse




Original Model for Reverse




Note: The images of the original models for the Maryland Half Dollar are taken from An Illustrated History of US Commemorative Coinage by Don Taxay; the images in the book are taken from material in the US National Archives.

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 09/27/2016  5:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the background and pics - very interesting!
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 Posted 09/27/2016  6:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Finally! A long awaited addition to the Commems Collection Series. This is a wonderful read with great information, as always.

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 Posted 09/27/2016  6:25 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add moxking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've saved that wonderful information. I've placed hardcopy information on all my classical silver commemoratives right in my type set pages. It's always fun to read through the details as I'm enjoying my set.

Thanks, as always, for your wonderful selections on this topic.
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 Posted 09/27/2016  9:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CelticKnot to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great article, commems! This is a nice commemorative and it's always enriching to hear the history behind such a coin.
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 Posted 09/27/2016  9:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add One50 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The picture of the original model looks like a struck coin.
Did they actually make some before the final revision or is that just a picture of the engraves model?
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 Posted 09/27/2016  9:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Zurie to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fascinating read! Thanks for the informative post.
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 Posted 09/27/2016  11:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ArrowsAndRays to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, commems! I feel smarter every time I read your contributions!
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 Posted 09/28/2016  08:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Thank you very much for the kind feedback. As always, much appreciated!



Quote:
The picture of the original model looks like a struck coin.
Did they actually make some before the final revision or is that just a picture of the engraves model?

The images are of the artist's models; no coins of the original design were struck.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 09/28/2016  10:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Adding my appreciative voice for commems tremendous ability to write an informative and highly readable post on these great coins.

I learn something every time I read commems posts ... and am still waiting on the book.

I'll add just a little bit to commems outstanding post ... some story on the legend shown on the reverse of the coin.

If you look closely at the reverse of the coin and you will see a ribbon at the bottom of the Maryland State seal with words contained within the ribbon.

The words are Italian in language and as written are "FATTI MASCHII, PAROLE FEMININE"

For reasons not known ... the phrase was incorporated into the Shield of the Calverts ... Maryland's founding family ... which became a part of the subsequent State seal.

The State of Maryland has long considered (codified by law in 1959) this expression to be their official motto ... and at that time the 'official' translation was "Deeds are manly, words are womanly"

In 1979 the Maryland legislature passed a law which changed the translation to "Manly deeds, womanly words"

That translation remains to this date the official motto of the State of Maryland.

An un-official translation from the Vatican is "Men do things, women talk about things"

There are efforts ongoing in the Maryland legislature to soften the translation to "Strong deeds, Gentle Words" ... but the 1979 adoption currently stands.

There is an amazing history behind each and every one of our treasured classic commemorative coins ... one just needs to pursue the story.

David
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 09/29/2016  11:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
David, that is an interesting addendum to the thread. I do enjoy going deeper into these commemorative subjects.
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 Posted 02/07/2021  08:12 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add psuman08 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I know I am late to the game on this one, but I found this very interesting. Being born and raised in MD I have always wanted to get this one. There are a lot of high grade versions out there - I just haven't found the one with the right eye appeal for me at the right price. Maybe 2021 will be the year.

Thanks commems!
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 Posted 02/21/2021  12:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Beefer518 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great read, an I'm glad it was revived.

The Maryland was my arch-nemesis when I was trying to find one that appealed to me, but the way Calvert's eye's are struck, I really found them to be unattractive with the way the eyes appeared in photos. As an example:



I finally gave up and just grabbed a 63 out of desperation (I was so tired of looking at them, and just bought one with a decent price tag at the time).

I finally found one I liked;


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