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Commems Collection: Official Seals On Classic US Commemoratives - Part III

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 Posted 05/22/2021  6:20 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Continuing my look at classic US commemorative coins that feature a Coat-of-Arms or Seal...

4. 1934 Maryland Tercentenary

The history of Maryland goes back to at least 1632. It was in June of that year that King Charles I of England granted a charter to George Calvert, Baron of Baltimore, granting him the rights to a vast territory north and east of the Potomac River. Unfortunately, George Calvert died on April 15, 1632, so he was not able to act upon it. The charter was inherited by George's son, Calvert, who took on the challenge of settling the territory; King George I renewed the charter in Calvert's name. Interestingly, Calvert never traveled to the New World. His brother Leonard physically founded the Province of Maryland colony, and also served as it's first Governor.

The Maryland Seal / Coat of Arms traces its roots to the family crest created by Sir George Calvert, First Lord Baltimore, early in the 17th century. It was used in the Maryland Colony for many years, beginning during its earliest days. Though different Seals were used between 1794 and 1874, the original was again put in place by Resolution of the Maryland Assembly and continues to be used to the present.

Maryland Coat of Arms

The law defining the Seal was amended in 2017 to update the official translation of the State Motto. Per Chapter 496 of the Acts of 2017, the Maryland Seal is defined as follows:

(b) (1) The reverse of the Great Seal of Maryland depicts:
(i) the family coat of arms for Lord Baltimore, as described in paragraph (2) of this subsection;
(ii) an Earl's coronet placed above the shield indicating George Calvert's status as an earl or a count palatine in Maryland, though only a baron in England;
(iii) above the Earl's coronet, a helmet set full-faced;
(iv) above the helmet, the Calvert crest, which consists of two pennons, or pennants, supported by gules (red) staffs, issuing from the ducal coronet:
1. the dexter (right) pennon, of or (gold); and
2. the other pennon, of sable (black);

(v) a plowman wearing a high-crowned, broad-brimmed beaver hat and holding one side of the shield with his left hand and a spade in his right hand;
(vi) a fisherman wearing a knitted cap somewhat resembling a stocking cap and holding one side of the shield with his right hand and in his left hand a fish that is not specific to any species; and
(vii) at the feet of the plowman and fisherman, a ribbon containing, in Italian, the Calvert family motto, "Fatti maschii parole femine", (loosely translated as "Manly deeds, womanly words") WHICH GENERALLY MEANS "STRONG DEEDS, GENTLE WORDS". (Note: The words in UPPERCASE represent the amendment/new translation.)

Note: a "coronet" is a crown.

The Crest or Coat of Arms created by George Calvert combined the colors of his father's family (black and gold) with the colors of his mother's family (red and white). Patterns incorporating the colors of each were placed on a shield in alternating quadrants.

The Calvert/State of Maryland Coat of Arms served as the primary design device for the reverse of the Maryland Tercentenary half dollar; the coin's designs are the work of Baltimore-based artist Hans Schuler (1874-1951).

1934 Province of Maryland Tercentenary Half Dollar

If you'd like to learn more about the Maryland half dollar, check out:

- 1934 Maryland Tercentenary
- 1934 Maryland Tercentenary - Revisited
- Hans Schuler and the Maryland Tercentenary

5. 1835 Hudson, NY Sesquicentennial

The City of Hudson, NY was just one of 10 US cities/towns to be given the honor of having a commemorative half dollar issued to celebrate its history. As was the case with the others, the Hudson coin commemorated more of a local/regional event vs. something of true national significance. Nonetheless, Congress believed the city was worthy, and, thus, Hudson, NY has a coin it can call its own.

The city of Hudson, New York is located on the eastern shore of the Hudson River in Columbia County approximately 105 miles (as the crow flies) north of New York City; it was chartered as a city in 1785. The city claims to be "the first city in the United States—that is, the first city to be incorporated after the thirteen colonies became the United States." It was the third city in New York to receive its Charter; it followed New York City (1686) and Albany (1686).

European settlement of the area began about 160 years before when the Dutch purchased land from the local Mohican Native Americans in 1622; at the time, the Mohican's territory comprised a large area within the Hudson River Valley. The area was originally known as Claverack and was mostly a farming community. The benefits of the area's twin harbors was recognized in the 1700s, and the area eventually became an important port city and served as home for a growing number of fisherman and ocean whalers after its charter as the city of Hudson.

It is believed that Henry Hudson (from whom the city draws its name), under sponsorship of the Dutch East India Company, was the first Englishman to visit the area, doing so in 1609. Hudson had traveled west from England multiple times in search of a northwest passage to the Far East. During his third voyage, he spent time exploring the river that led north of present-day New York City, traveling as far north as present-day Albany. His ship during this voyage was the merchant ship the Half Moon. Hudson, however, did not settle the area during his voyage and is not directly connected to those who founded the city.

Original Seal of Hudson, NY

(Image Credit: Image courtesy of Pat Fenoff, City Historian, City of Hudson, NY. Used with permission. NOT Public Domain)

The 1935 Hudson, NY sesquicentennial half dollar features one of the more unusual designs of the entire classic-era series via its adaptation of the original Hudson Seal on its reverse. It does not strictly reproduce the original Seal in all details, but it does come close. On the coin, Neptune is depicted riding backwards on the whale - on the original Seal he is riding the normal way but is turned toward the rear. In both, he is presented holding a trident in his right hand; on the coin the staff of the weapon disappears behind the whale, while on the Seal it passes in front of the whale. Also seen on the coin is what is generally described as a mermaid (female) vs. the triton (male) on the Seal. The figure is shown in the background on both, blowing into a conch shell. In myth, the conch shell was used to stir up or calm down the seas, as fit the situation. The wording seen on the ribbon ("ET DECUS ET PRETIUM RECTI"), translates as "both the ornament and the reward of virtue." A contemporary interpretation would be "moral behavior is honorable and its own reward."

Henry Hudson's sailing ship, the Halve Maen (in English, Half Moon), is depicted under full sail on the coin's obverse. It was in the Half Moon that Hudson explored the river he named Manhattes based on the name of the Native American tribe that lived near the mouth of the river. The river had other names, before and after Hudson's exploration, but today, the river bears his name.

The coin's design is the work of Chester Beach.

1935 Hudson, NY Sesquicentennial Half Dollar

You can see my previous posts about the Hudson half dollar here:

- 1935 Hudson, NY 150th Anniversary
- 1935 Hudson, NY 150th Anniversary - Coins with Beards Thread

More of my stories about commemorative coins and medals can be accessed from: Read More: Commems Collection.

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 05/22/2021  6:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good stuff as always. That mythological Hudson obverse is always a grabber.
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 Posted 05/22/2021  7:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great thread as always Commems. Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge.

I'd forgotten how unappealing the Maryland commemorative half is - despite my 20+ year residence in the state.

That said - Chester Beach Hudson half is amongst my personal favorites for it's overall funky design.
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