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1792 H10C Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4, VF30 PCGS....

2008 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #454

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Auction Ended On: Jan 10, 2008
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Orange County Convention Center
North/South Building
9400 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

Lot Viewing, Room 220 D, E, F
Auction, Room 230 B

Timeless Judd-7 1792 Half Disme, VF30
1792 H10C Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4, VF30 PCGS. Barring the emergence of previously unknown documentation or other tangible evidence regarding the 1792 half dismes, the numismatic community will forever remain divided on the issue of whether or not these pieces are technically patterns or regular issues intended for circulation. Plenty of information exists to aid either camp in presenting their respective opinions, but neither position results in a definitive conclusion. In the meantime, we continue to search for any shred of factual information that would make or break the case for either argument.
One such tidbit of information that is rarely discussed is the reality that all of the 13 known varieties of 1792 issues--cent through quarter--are very rare to unique, with the lone exception of the Judd-7 half dismes, which are considered very scarce, but not quite rare. So, why were these pieces produced in greater numbers than the other three denominations? In fairness to the pro-pattern argument, there is a solitary 1792 half disme known in copper, but that could easily have been a die trial piece. Another fact that lends credence to the pro-circulation argument is that the half dismes are the only denomination of 1792 that display file adjustment marks. First of all, and most importantly, why would Mint officials have been concerned with whether or not a pattern was within the weight specification as outlined in the Coinage Act of 1792? On the contrary, it has always been of the utmost importance for any intrinsic coinage intended for circulation to consistently be of the proper weight, hence the presence of adjustment marks of many early Federal issues, the half dimes of 1794 included. Secondly, if these were intended as patterns, the adjustment marks would have been visually unappealing to the intended audience. And so the debate rages on. Of course the mystery surrounding the coinage issues of 1792 is what inspires numismatic researchers to be relentless in their search for the truth and compels collectors to endeavor to someday own an example.
We note that this coin's reverse is slightly off center to the west. Interestingly, many of the extant examples show a similar degree of die misalignment, but in various directions. For such a limited production run that was completed within a matter of days, one would expect more consistency with regard to die centering. This particular incongruity could inspire an entirely new thesis regarding the method of manufacture used to strike the half dismes in John Harper's cellar back in the summer of 1792. Antique-gray patination is evenly distributed on both sides of this conservatively graded specimen and traces of original mint shimmer are observed within the recesses of the obverse legends. The reverse shows less detail, but that should not be entirely relegated as wear since this issue is known to have weakly struck central details. Housed in an older generation PCGS holder.(Registry values: P9) (PCGS# 11020)

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