Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 15,251
Obverse Designer: Gertrude K. Lathrop
Reverse Designer: Gertrude K. Lathrop
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.51 (2/21/2017)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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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: 11/30/2016

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Total Graded: 2505
Low Grade: 58
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/5/1996 PCGS MS 65   Teletrade Auction 0847, 847/Lot# 1584 $305.20
5/28/2006 PCGS MS 67   Goldberg May 28-31, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 36/Lot# 3251 $1,840.00
4/16/2007 NGC MS 65   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 135, 140/Lot# 3105 $368.00
1/7/2009 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2009 January Orlando, FL FUN Auction #1121, 1121/Lot# 11168 $402.50
6/1/2011 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2011 June Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction Session(5), 1156/Lot# 9752 $546.25
5/30/2012 NGC MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2012 May 30- June 3 US Coins Signature Auction- Long Beach Session(2), 1171/Lot# 4541 $977.50
8/30/2013 PCGS MS 65   Stack's Bowers The September 2013 Philadelphia Auction, 195/Lot# 5065 $356.03
9/25/2013 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2013 September 25 - 29 US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(8), 1189/Lot# 9855 $411.25
12/29/2013 PCGS MS 64   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 12/29/2013, 170/Lot# 160569 $286.00

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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