The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 12, March 19, 2017, Article 9


Bruce Smith writes:

Liberty Trust Company plaque closeup head Regarding the Liberty Trust Company (Cumberland, MD) plaque which resembles the standing liberty design, I checked some bank directories in my library. This bank is not listed in the 1919 Rand McNally Bank Directory, but is listed in the 1927 edition. Its date of organization is 1920. So the plaque was made after the standing liberty quarters had been in circulation for a few years.

Greg Adams writes:

a) The plaque is dated 1917 on the bottom below Ms liberty’s foot…

b) The design on the Right pillar is very reminiscent of the fasces on the back of the Liberty head (mercury) Dime (1916?)

c) The globe to the left of Ms liberty reminds me of both the Columbia Half (1892-3) and the 1923 Monroe half (though a bit of a stretch)

Pete Smith writes:

Liberty Trust Company of Maryland The last two issues have had a discussion about a bronze plaque removed from the Liberty Trust Company of Maryland Building in Cumberland, Maryland. The most recent discussion was about the date the plaque was placed on the building.

The building is currently known as the Lila Building at 81 Baltimore Street in Cumberland, Maryland. It was built during 1901 and 1902. The Liberty Trust Company of Maryland was organized on February 20, 1920, so it was not an original tenant of the building.

A photograph of the building shows a round plaque to the left of the entry doors. I did not find any record of when the medallion was placed on the building. With the word "Liberty" on the plaque, it may have been added some time after the bank occupied the building.

In my opinion, the plaque was not modeled after the Standing Liberty Quarter. Both represent Art Deco themes arranged to fit in a round format. I believe both represent the era but one cannot be shown to be the model for the other.

Standing_Liberty_Quarter_Type1_1917S_Obverse Liberty Trust Company plaque front 1943D_Mercury_Dime_reverse

Dennis Tucker writes:

Something more to note about the design of the Liberty Trust Company plaque: It features design elements of not only the Standing Liberty quarter, but also of the Winged Liberty (“Mercury”) dime that debuted the same year (1916). The fasces (partially covered, in the plaque’s case, by Miss Liberty’s shield) was new to U.S. coinage when it was introduced on the dime. But with tens of millions of the coins minted before the end of 1917 (more than one for every man, woman, and child in the nation), it wouldn’t have taken long to enter the popular consciousness as representing “money.”

I think the Liberty Trust Company plaque was simply a commercial artist’s amalgam of design elements pulled from America’s workhorse coins, the dime and quarter, which would have spoken to the man on the street. Message: Money! It wouldn’t take an Adolph Weinman (designer of the dime) or a Hermon MacNeil (designer of the quarter) to meld these features together into a serviceable emblem for a bank client.

Pat McBride writes:

It would be great to find some sketches that are attributable to MacNeil or Weinman. Until then, it seems that Dennis' thoughts are the more likely. The plus side is that the commercial artists at that time were very skilled and the bar was set pretty high with the new coin designs from that era. I don't know that we will ever see that run of artistic creativity again.

Those past coin designs remind me of the gingerbread Victorian house popularity at the turn of the last century. Some of today's designs remind me of the post WWII brick ranch houses that were very popular in the 50's and 60's. I am noticing a slight movement away from designs of simplistic functionality back toward the more classic look. The critics are very harsh today.

Thanks, everyone. This has been a great topic. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MARCH 12, 2017 : More on the Liberty Trust Company of Maryland Plaque (


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Wayne Homren, Editor

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