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Obverse of Maryland ("Lord Baltimore") Sixpence     Reverse of Maryland ("Lord Baltimore") Sixpence


(1659) MARYLAND SIXPENCE

Mintage:
Circulation strikes:
unknown
Proofs: none reported or known

Designer: unknown

Diameter: 21 millimeters

Metal content:
Silver (percentage high, but not quantified)

Weight: 36 grains (varies widely)

Edge: Plain

Mintmark: None (London, England)

Notes:
The Maryland Sixpence is part of a private coinage issued by Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, sometime in 1658-1659 and possibly later.  Calvert became heir in 1632 to a huge expanse of land that later became Maryland.  He believed his Royal Charter permitted him to strike coins, which were needed to help stabilize Maryland's agrarian economy.  However, once the coins were issued, Calvert was ordered arrested and some (perhaps all) of his coins and equipment were confiscated.  No record of the proceedings against Calvert have been uncovered, but the existence of the coins and the fact that Calvert lived until 1675 indicate that he prevailed!

In November 13-14, 2002, a hoard of 19 sixpence was sold by the auction firm Morton & Eden, Ltd. in London, England.  The coins had been discovered in an English country house in a small, cylindrical, silver counter box.  The hoard contained a single example of the extremely rare MVLTILICAMINI (Lot 785, "Small Bust, Dies 2-D) variant that sold for the equivalent of $50,432.00 to Stack's.  Also included in the sale was a late state of Dies 2-B that sold for $17,093.00 and another example of Dies 2-B with heavy clashing above the bust that sold for $15,295.00.

Images courtesy of Early American Numismatics

Significant examples:
PCGS MS-61.  Ex - Eliasberg - offered by Bowers & Merena Galleries for $39,500 in the June 11, 2001 issue of The Coin Collector

Recent appearances:
PCGS AU-58.  Ex - Paul Arthur Norris - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Pre-Long Beach Sale", September 23 & 24, 2002, Lot 16, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "Dies 2-C, R-5. PCGS graded AU-58. One of the finest graded of this rare coin, it stands alone as the sole "58" seen by PCGS and we note a single coin graded higher as MS-61 out of a grand total of 12 graded in all of the sixpence denomination. The surfaces are toned a lovely light antique silver color with darker gold flecks around the obverse periphery, and similar on the reverse with more gold toning over silver gray color located on that side. Weakly struck on the central obverse but all the device outlines are present. One very minor mark is noted on face, from the back of the nose to the hair, but a strong glass is needed to find it. No other surface problems worthy of note and this coin is far above average in surface quality, even for this grade...Die information from the Bowers & Merena Norweb catalog, November 15, 1988, page 233, which should be seen for further information." - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc. "The Benson Collection, Part III", February 24-25, 2003, Lot 7, illustrated, sold for $10,925.00

PCGS EF-45 (illustrated above).  Breen-68.  Ex - Early American History Auctions, Inc.'s Mail Bid Sale, October 14, 2000, Lot 978

VF-25 (illustrated below).  Ex - Superior Stamp & Coin's "Pre-Long Beach" sale, February 7-8, 2000, Lot 1471, sold for $7,187.50, "VF-25, Breen 68"

Varieties:
Breen 68 - Small Bust, hyphen before M on obverse, no period after final I on reverse
Breen 69 - Small Bust, no hyphen before M on obverse, no period after final I on reverse.  Possibly a late state of Breen 68
Breen 70 - Small Bust, period after final I on reverse
Breen 71 - same as Breen 70, but in copper
Breen 72 - MVLTILICAMINI misspelling
Breen 73 - Large Bust

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia Of U.S. And Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"Hoard of 19 Baltimore sixpence tops Morton & Eden's Nov. 13-14 auction" by John Andrew, COIN WORLD, January 13, 2002, page 56.

"Sixpence sell for pretty penny", NUMISMATIC NEWS, December 10, 2002, page 20

Obverse of Maryland ("Lord Baltimore") Sixpence     Reverse of Maryland ("Lord Baltimore") Sixpence

Images courtesy of Superior Stamp & Coin