Classic Coins - New Rochelle
NY 250th Anniversary Half Dollar
The US Mint produced the New Rochelle NY 250th Anniversary Half Dollar Classic Commemorative
Coin to recognize the founding and first settlement of the colony at New Rochelle, New York.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments, fun
On May 5, 1936, the second session of the 74th Congress approved an act which became Public Law
74-556 that authorized "the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary
of the founding and settlement of the city of New Rochelle, New York."
The law began, "That in commemoration of the two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the founding and settlement
of the city of New Rochelle, New York, there shall be coined at a mint of the United States to be designated by the
Director of the Mint not to exceed twenty-five thousand silver 50-cent pieces of standard size, weight, and
composition and of a special appropriate single design to be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval
of the Secretary of the Treasury, but the United States shall not be subject to the expense of making the necessary
dies and other preparations for this coinage.
"SEC. 2. The coins herein authorized shall bear the date 1938, irrespective of the year in which they are minted
or issued, shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value, and shall be issued only upon
the request of a committee of not less than three persons duly authorized by the mayor of the city of New Rochelle,
New York, upon payment by it of the par value of such coins, but not less than twenty-five thousand such coins
shall be issued to it at any one time and no such coins shall be issued after the expiration of one year after the
date of enactment of this Act. Such coins may be disposed of at par or at a premium by such committee, and the net
proceeds shall be used by it in defraying the expenses incidental and appropriate to the commemoration of such
The law continues in Section 3 stating that all laws already in place applying to coinage shall also apply to
Characteristics - New Rochelle NY 250th Anniversary Half Dollar
Metal Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Diameter - millimeters: 30.6
Diameter - inches: 1.2
Weight - grams: 12.5
Weight - troy ounce: 0.401884332
Silver content weight - troy ounce: 0.3617
Mint Locations: Philadelphia
Years Minted: 1938
The coin's silver content alone makes it more valuable than its face value of $0.50.
But, the coin's age, its condition, and its desirability make it even more valuable as a collectible.
The coin's estimated value ranges from $270 (low grade - XF) to $430 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the New Rochelle NY 250th Anniversary Half Dollar can command a price outside
the estimated value range.
Obverse - New Rochelle NY 250th Anniversary Half Dollar
The obverse or front of the coin shows John Pell with full beard and wearing a plumed hat, holding a calf with a
rope tied to its halter.
The coinage inscriptions say, Settled 1688, Incorporated 1899, and New Rochelle, New York.
Artist: Gertrude K. Lathrop
Reverse - New Rochelle NY 250th Anniversary Half Dollar
The reverse or back of the coin features a classical fleur-de-lis with a modern interpretation.
The coinage inscriptions read United States of America, Half Dollar, E Pluribus Unum, Liberty, In God We Trust,
Artist: Gertrude K. Lathrop
Commentary - New Rochelle NY 250th Anniversary Half Dollar
The stated mintage was "not to exceed twenty-five thousand silver 50-cent pieces" and "coined at a mint."
Records show the Philadelphia Mint produced 15,266 of the New Rochelle NY 250th Anniversary half dollar coins,
which is not the 25,000 delivery number specified in SEC 2 of the law.
With many commemorative coins in the mid-1930s and a poor economy, the committee was not able to sell
all of the coins.
The coin pictured above resides in an NGC holder and is graded as an MS-65. (NGC, Numismatic Guaranty
Corporation, provides coin grading and certification services.)
Versions of the coin also exist across a variety of the grades.
Legend states that Thomas Pell signed a treaty with the local Siwanoy Native Americans beneath the limbs of the
The treaty included 9,166 acres, which today includes Pelham, New Rochelle, portions of Bronx County and much of
the land east of the Hutchinson River northward to Mamaroneck.
In 1689, his nephew, John Pell, sells 6100 acres to the Huguenots for 1675 pounds. Today, this is New
In April 1906, Thomas Pell's Treaty Oak, a huge white oak, died.
The next day, the New York Times published the Treaty Oak's obituary on their front page.
Prior to its death, the giant white oak was part of the grounds of the Bartow-Pell Mansion on Shore Road in
Pelham Bay Park.
In the sale price of the 6000 acres, the Huguenots promised John Pell "one fatte calfe on every fouer and
twentieth day of June yearly and every year forever, if demanded."
In 1999, descendents of John Pell arrived in New Rochelle to receive their "fatte calfe."
After the ceremony, the 60 relatives of John Pell attended a luncheon held at the Bartow-Pell Mansion.
This calf, a six-month old Holstein named Jessie, appeared to be more of a PR ploy for New Rochelle and an
excuse for a Pell family reunion.
The family assured their children that Jessie was borrowed from a local farm and would return to her home
without becoming a roast beef dinner.
In 2013, members of the Pell family, the Huguenot descendents and delegates from La Rochelle, France met in New
Rochelle for a 325th anniversary ceremony to receive the "fat calf."
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe New Rochelle NY 250th Anniversary
for a variety of useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.