Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 15,251
Catalog: KM-191
Obverse Designer: Gertrude K. Lathrop
Reverse Designer: Gertrude K. Lathrop
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $5.74 (10/9/2015)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1938 NEW ROCHELLE 50C MS obverse 1938 NEW ROCHELLE 50C MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The 1938 New Rochelle half dollar is another example of a commemorative coin issue honoring a strictly local anniversary. In this case, the 250th anniversary of the settlement of New Rochelle, New York was being honored. The city was a wealthy suburb of New York City, and that wealth likely helped the sponsor of the bill, the Westchester County Coin Club, get the legislation passed. A bill signed into law on May 5th, 1936 authorized the minting of up to 25,000 coins of a single date and mintmark.

Originally chosen to design the new coin was sculptor Lorrilard Wise. Unfortunately, his designs were lackluster in the eyes of the Commission of Fine Arts, and he was soon replaced by Gertrude K. Lathrop, who had experience in producing designs for coins and medals. Her obverse depicts John Pell, who sold the land that would become New Rochelle to the colonists. One of the terms of that deal included a “fatt calfe” to be delivered to Lord Pell on the 4th and 20th day of June every year.

In honor of that odd request in the sale, a calf was included in the obverse design and is shown being led by Pell. Arranged in arcs around the periphery are the legends NEW • ROCHELLE • NEW • YORK and SETTLED • 1688 • INCORPORATED • 1899. The reverse design is dominated by the fleur de lis, an element from the city’s coat of arms. Arranged in arcs around the periphery are the statutory inscriptions UNITED • STATES • OF • AMERICA, E • PLURIBUS • UNUM, LIBERTY and IN • GOD • WE • TRUST. The date 1938 and value HALF • DOLLAR appear at the bottom in two lines.

The entire authorized mintage of 25,000 coins was struck in April of 1937 (but with the date 1938.) The coins were sold locally for $2 each, but most went to mail orders. Although the speculative market for commemorative coins all but collapsed in 1937, the New Rochelle coin sold relatively well. In the end, 9,749 coins were melted, leaving a net mintage of 15,251 coins.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/24/2015

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The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 2473
Low Grade: 58
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/1/2015 MS 66  Prooflike Heritage Auctions 2015 October 29 - November 1 US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(4), 1225/Lot# 8074

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
8/21/2006 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2006 August Denver, CO Online Session #415, 415/Lot# 10170 $373.75
9/4/2006 NGC MS 65   Prooflike David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 103, 108/Lot# 1350 $580.75
2/11/2007 PCGS MS 65   Goldberg February 11-14, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 39/Lot# 1970 $460.00
10/3/2011 NGC MS 65   Teletrade Auction 3148, 3148/Lot# 1603 $360.00
8/30/2013 PCGS MS 65   Stack's Bowers The September 2013 Philadelphia Auction, 195/Lot# 5066 $356.03
11/3/2013 NGC MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 11/03/2013, 99/Lot# 149734 $313.60
6/4/2014 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2014 June 4 - 8 US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(7), 1206/Lot# 10128 $352.50
6/3/2014 PCGS MS 65   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 4727 $329.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1938 NEW ROCHELLE 50C MS
1938 NEW ROCHELLE 50C MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 68
Points: 6734
Owner: Gregg Bingham
Grade: MS 68
Points: 6734
Owner: J & L
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