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A Pair of Lorillard (Lorrilard) Wise Plaster Models Submitted for the New Rochelle Commemorative Half Dollar

A Pair of Lorillard (Lorrilard) Wise Plaster Models Submitted for the New Rochelle Commemorative Half Dollar

Lorillard (or Lorrilard, as per Don Taxay) Wise was the first artist contacted about producing models for the proposed New Rochelle commemorative half dollar design. Interestingly, the designs and plasters were originally approved only to be highly modified and later rejected entirely with the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) moving to another artist (Gertrude Lathrop; designer of the previously issued Albany commemorative).

A July 20, 1936 letter from Charles Moore to acting Mint Director Mary O’Reilly requested that certain aspects of the submitted design be reworked and, after this was done, a follow up letter of August 17, 1936 to acting Mint Director O’Reilly stated that the models should be approved with some additional modifications. At that time the conditionally approved design featured a Native American crouched along the shore with ship in background on obverse paired with the New Rochelle coat of arms on reverse, which would match the pair of plasters offered presently. Photographs of these plasters are also included in Taxay’s “An Illustrated History of US Commemorative Coinage” on page 197. Instead of smoothly transitioning to coinage production, additional critiques of the designs were ongoing and a complete reworking of the Native American obverse was later submitted as a sketch including merely the shoreline of New Rochelle. At this point the CFA was split as to approving the designs and plans were put into place to remove Lorillard Wise from involvement and to instead go with Gertrude Lathrop for coinage design and production.

The initially approved designs by Wise, included here, offer a very different view of what might have been for the New Rochelle commemorative half dollar. The positioning of the Native American, in an apparent crouch, seems somewhat odd today and this was also the case in the critiques of 1936 as well as in 1967 when Taxay wrote “The obverse featured an Indian who anatomy can only be described as unfortunate.” There are two positions that the word LIBERTY appears on these first-draft models; one obverse has the inscription on the sun and another has it in the vegetation directly behind the Native American. The plaster included here has the inscription on the sun.

The two plasters included are quite clean with a crisp white appearance and essentially smooth, unmarked reverses. They are approximately nine inches across and one inch deep and neither is a perfect circle, but instead each shows irregular borders immediately surrounding the raised borders that encircle the proposed design.


Priced at: $7,500.00

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Lincoln Cent Plaster

Lincoln Cent Plaster

LAURA GARDIN FRASER (1889-1966) Incused plaster of proposed replacement for the reverse of the Lincoln cent.

10 1/2″ Diameter. Faded white plaster painted with copper color (as a Lincoln cent would appear).

Ex. Joseph Lepczyk auction of October 23-24, 1980, lot 489, price realized: $2,300.00

Mr. Lepczyk cataloged this piece as: Commemorative One Cent. Incused reverse model. With Oak Tree. Embedded notes on back. “July-27-1951/from July 951 Cast/FINAL.” Pencilled note “Circle enlarged for top of tree.” 10 1/2 inches.

Mrs. Fraser was a very accomplished artist. In addition to the many medallic works she did, Mrs. Fraser also designed several coins. They are as follows: 1921 Alabama Centennial half, 1922 Grant Memorial half and gold dollar, 1925 Fort Vancouver half, as well as the beautiful Oregon Trail half (1926-1939).

With 2009 being the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln cent design, and new reverse designs now showing up, this is a rare opportunity to acquire a true piece of Numismatic Americana.

Offered at: $10,500.00

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Contact Information

Numismatic Americana Incorporated
P.O. Box 608
Chester, NJ 07930

William Shamhart, Jr.
Phone: 1-908-962-1500
email: Bill@numismaticamericana.com

Notes on Our Next Show

Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo
Table 511
October 30-November 2, 2014
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD

If you have items to SELL please stop by our table and we will be happy to discuss purchasing them

We will also have many items with us for you to view. If you are looking for anything in particular, or have an interest in anything on our website, please email or give us a call, prior to the show and we will make sure we bring this item for you to view.

Thank you and we look forward to meeting you.

Show Schedule

Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo
Table 511
October 30-November 2, 2014
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD

Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum Coin Expo
November 8, 2014
Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum
Allentown, PA

58th Money Show of the Southwest
December 4-6, 2014
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX

FUN 60th Annual Convention
January 8-11, 2015
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL

National Money Show
March 5-7, 2015
Oregon Convention Center
Portland, OR

Central States Numismatic Society
April 22-25, 2015
Schaumburg Convention Center
Schaumburg, IL

Colorado Springs Coin Show
June 25-28, 2015
Freedom Financial Services Expo Center
Colorado Springs, CO