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    (1659) Maryland Lord Baltimore Groat, AU55
    Large Bust, Hodder 1-A, Ex: Eliasberg

    (1659) Maryland Lord Baltimore Groat (Fourpence), Large Bust, Hodder 1-A, W-1010, R.6, AU55 NGC. 29.2 grains. A lustrous and sharply struck example of a classic colonial American rarity. The portrait of Cecil Calvert, Second Baron Baltimore, is vividly lifelike, distinctly rendered with a determined expression on his face. The legend boldly proclaims him to be the "Lord of Maryland, Etc." ("Dominus Terrae-Mariae &c"). The reverse bears his crowned familial arms, artfully rendered with alternating shading, flanked by an IV representing the denomination. The legend, CRESCITE ET MULTIPLICAMINI, translates as "Increase and Multiply," a Biblical injunction taken from the Book of Genesis.

    This example of the Lord Baltimore groat, or fourpence, is exceptionally well preserved and is among the finest known extant of the scarcest denomination of Calvert's silver coinage. The obverse portrait is clearly detailed and the fields are almost entirely free of marks. The obverse strike is a bit weak, with Calvert's hair and neck being somewhat soft; this can also been seen in the legend between 7 and 8 o'clock. The reverse is more boldly impressed, with all devices and legends being fully struck. Both sides are struck slightly off-center, showing unstruck areas of the planchet, though the obverse and reverse legends are complete. Some minor die flaws can be seen in the unstruck areas of the reverse. Attractive golden toning can be seen in the obverse peripheries and more generally across the reverse.

    If the iconography and legends of the coin's design indicate a certain boldness of character, it is no coincidence. Cecil Calvert (1609-1675) was a Roman Catholic attempting to maintain his hold on the plantation at Maryland, the charter to which had been awarded to his father George by King Charles I. After the overthrow and execution of Charles, many prominent Catholics sought to lie low and hope for better times. Calvert, on the other hand, wrested control of his plantation away from Puritan Parliamentarians who had seized it and then had the temerity to use the Tower Mint to strike coins for Maryland, which he then planned to export. His right to strike coinage was uncertain, and his plan to export silver coins appeared to be in direct contravention of English law. Arrested on October 4, 1659, he was called upon to explain his actions to the Privy Council. On the strength of the original charter, however, the Committee for the Plantations found in his favor. By October 12, Calvert was able to send to his brother Philip in Maryland "a sample of the Maryland money."

    Today, perhaps 20 or so examples of the Lord Baltimore groat are known, including a Small Bust variety struck from different dies that is thought to be unique. We were privileged to sell the finest known example (MS64 NGC) of this issue in our January 2015 FUN Signature Sale of coins from the Partrick Collection. The present piece ranks high in the Condition Census and bears an impressive provenance to the illustrious Eliasberg Collection. Listed on page 42 of the 2021 Guide Book.
    Ex: Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. (Bowers & Merena, 5/1996), lot 18; Jon Hanson; Donald G. Partrick.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2U3J, PCGS# 32)


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 26
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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