New Rochelle Centennial Half-Dollar

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New Rochelle Sestercentennial Half-Dollar
United States
Value .50 U.S. dollars
Mass 12.5 g
Diameter 30.6 mm
Thickness ? mm
Edge Reeded
Composition 90.0% Ag
10.0% Cu
Years of minting 1938
Catalog number -
New rochelle half dollar commemorative obverse.jpg
Design John Pell and "Fatte Calfe"
Designer Gertrude K. Lathrop
New rochelle half dollar commemorative reverse.jpg
Design Fleur de lis
Designer Gertrude K. Lathrop

The New Rochelle Sestercentennial Half-Dollar (1938) was minted to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the settlement of New Rochelle in Westchester County, New York. Artist and sculptor Gertrude K. Lathrop was chosen to design the coin. It was the last new commemorative coin issued by the U.S. Mint prior to World War II and was the last brand-new “commem” to appear for nearly a decade. New Rochelle is one of only ten cities to have been commemorated with a spendable coin minted by the federal government.[1]



The obverse shows a fatted calf being roped and held by a man in elegant dress who is presumed to be John Pell. Arranged in arcs around the periphery and separated by asterisks are the legends "NEW•ROCHELLE•NEW•YORK" and "SETTLED• 1688•INCORPORATED•1899". The artist’s initials "GKL" appear to the right of the calf’s forelegs. The design is historically significant for it was Pell, the Lord of Pelham Manor, who sold 6,000 acres of land to French Huguenot settlers for New Rochelle in 1688. One of the conditions was that Jacob Leisler, the man commissioned to handle the transaction for the settlers, would give to Pell and his heirs "one fatte calfe" on the 20th day of June every year thereafter, if they demanded. [2]


The coin’s reverse depicts a Fleur de lis, an element found within the city’s coat of arms and borrowed from the arms of La Rochelle, France. 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. [3]


The New Rochelle centennial half dollar was minted exclusively at the Philadelphia Mint. A total of 15,266 coins were produced.[4]

See also[edit]