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A Delaware State Quarter and a Bit of History

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One of my collecting goals is to get my type set up to 99% complete on the NGC registry. The one coin that I will probably never get is the 1796-7 Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar. I have all the others or they are within my reach. To achieve that goal, I have been buying some “modern junk” in slabs. Actually it’s not all that bad. Modern coins in PR-69 Ultra Cameo are not very expensive ($14 to $25), and many of them are actually quite attractive.




Since the type set calls for one State Quarter, I purchased a Delaware because that was the state where I was born and raised. From a numismatic perspective, there are not that many Delaware items to collect. Therefore the state quarter is a welcome addition.


The Delaware State Quarter features Revolutionary War hero, Caesar Rodney, riding his horse to Philadelphia to vote for independence. The image on the coin was patterned after a statue that stands in Wilmington, which is the state’s largest city. As the Continental Congress prepared to vote on independence, the two Delaware delegates in attendance Thomas McKean and George Read were split over the issue. McKean got word to Rodney that Read opposed independence and that Rodney’s vote was needed to break the tie. Rodney was absent from Congress because he was in Sussex County (the southern most of the three counties in the state) checking on some loyalist activity


When Rodney returned from Sussex country to his 800 acre plantation, Byfield, which was located near the modern state capital Dover, he learned that the Delaware delegates were split. Mounting his horse on the evening of July1, Rodney rode through the night stopping only to change horses. Along the way a violet thunder storm made his journey more difficult and dangerous. Rodney completed the 80 mile trip just in time to case his vote of independence there by placing Delaware in the affirmative column for the separation.


Caesar Rodney was not a well man. During the 1760s a cancer began grow on his face. The condition went untreated and by the mid 1770s it was said that his appearance was rather grotesque. He covered the affected area with a green silk cloth. Because of his appearance, there are no know portraits of Caesar Rodney.


Later Rodney recruited troops for the war effort and became a major general in the army. He fought several minor battles. Rodney held numerous state positions and was the speaker of the Delaware state senate when he died from his illness in 1783 at age 55.

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Interesting bit of history. The Delaware coin is actually one of the better looking State coins I have seen, nice addition, especially given it's ties to your birthplace.



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