The 1935 Maryland Tercentenary Half dollar was authorized by act of congress on May 9, 1934. Proceeds from the sale of the coins; which commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Colony of Maryland as a land Grant of 10,000,000 Acres to the Second Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert, were provided to the Maryland Tercentenary Commission to fund the Tercentenary Celebration. The authorizing legislation called for 25,000 coins to be struck. These and an additional 15 coins reserved for Assay were struck at the Philadelphia mint in the Month of July 1934, and the entire mintage was sold by the commission by late in 1935.
The very pedestrian coin designed was executed by Hans Schuler (whose initials “SH” can be seen on the reverse to the left of the “Farmer”). Typical for that era, the original models were reduced to hubs by the Medallic Arts Co. of New York and the dies forwarded to the mint. The Obverse of the coins shows a ¾ portrait of Lord Baltimore, (identified by name as “Cecil Calvert” arcing under the portrait) in period dress including a Puritan Collar. Inscriptions Include; “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” arcing along the top rim, “HALF DOLLAR” along the bottom Rim, “E PLUIBUS UNUM” to the left of the bust, and “IN GOD WE TRUST” to the right.
The reverse is a little more interesting, showing the Coat of arms of Lord Baltimore (later adopted as the seal for the state of Maryland). The dominant figure is a shield divided into 4 quadrants including the well know checkerboard pattern in the Upper Left and Lower Right and the Crosses in the Upper Right and lower Left. The symbols are a combination of the arms of Calvert family (Checkerboards) in the first and fourth quarter, and the Crossland family in the second and third quarter. The shield is topped by a crown, which itself is topped by a helmet, which is again topped by a crown! Behind the Crowns are a couple of pennants blowing in the wind and the whole is surrounded by a drape. To the left of the shield is a Farmer (leaning on a shovel), and to the right a fisherman (holding a large fish!), representing the wealth of the colony. Under the entire device is a ribbon with the Motto in Italian "Fatti maschii, parole femine", which roughly translates to “Deeds are manly, words are womanly ". Finally the inscription: “MARYLAND*TERCENTENARY* 1634 – 1934*”. With the words and date separated by stars.
General Market Notes
The issue was not handled very carefully when delivered to the Commission, so most examples show scattered contact marks. Friction on Lord Calverts nose is also very common.