Description and Analysis

Lord Baltimore

Description & Analysis

Two varieties of Lord Baltimore Maryland Fourpence, or Groats are known: the unique Small Bust variant and the Large Bust variety. Examples are known in a wide range of grades, which indicates that these coins saw circulation in Maryland.

The Lord Baltimore Maryland coinage was ordered by Cecil Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore, who in 1632 received a charter from King Charles I of England to establish the new colony of Maryland. This charter gave Calvert nearly equal authority to the monarch in the territory, including the right to strike coins.

On October 16, 1659, Cecil Calvert sent a letter to his brother Philip Calvert in Maryland along with samples of a new “Maryland money” that he intended to circulate in the colony. The Maryland Assembly initially resisted, but on April 17, 1661, an act was passed that authorized the establishment of a mint to strike coins. The following year, an act was passed that required every taxable person in Maryland to exchange 60 pounds of tobacco for 10 shillings of the new coins.

Although the Maryland Assembly’s act of 1661 authorized a mint in the colony, it is believed that all of the Lord Baltimore Maryland coinage was struck in England, most likely at the Royal Mint.