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Description

AU58 C-4, B-4 1793 Half Cent
Lightly Circulated Memento of the Early Mint

1793 1/2 C AU58 PCGS Secure. C-4, B-4, Low R.3. Manley Die State 2.0. The 1793 half cents and large cents were the first coinage issues made at the newly opened U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. All high-grade, problem-free examples struck on nice planchets of the 1793 half cent, such as the present coin, see high demand from both series specialists and type collectors, the latter due to the issue's status as a one-year-only type coin. This piece was clearly plucked from circulation quite early in its life, possibly within a few days of its creation as a long-ago reminder of the primitive early U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
The authors Joel Orosz and Leonard Augsburger do an excellent job of word-painting the heady, rough, workaday world of "Ye Olde Mint" in their new reference, The Secret History of the First U.S. Mint, published in 2011. President George Washington lived only a block and a half away from the Mint in Philadelphia. The U.S. Capitol building in Washington and the White House were not completed until 1800 -- the first planning having begun in earnest only in 1792-93. John Adams was the first American president to occupy the White House. The First and Second Continental Congresses met in Philadelphia in 1774 and 1776, respectively, and for much of the time between then and the completion of the Capitol building and the White House, Congress met in Philadelphia and several other locations in Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, so several cities can lay claim to being at one time the "capital city" of the United States. For most of that time, however, the capital city was Philadelphia, including from 1790 to 1800. Although President Washington lived quite close to the Mint, Orosz and Augsburger write that "no incontrovertible evidence of a Washington visit has ever been found." (But there is some circumstantial evidence presented that he might have been there at least once.)
This AU58 example is well-struck on a planchet that is fairly well-centered, and as demanded of the grade, much pleasing detail remains. A tiny tick shows within the lower part of the loop of the 9 in the date, and a small rim ding occurs at 3 o'clock on the obverse. Contact is minor on the obverse, which is chocolate-brown, while the reverse shows some scattered areas of darker color. Our EAC grade XF40.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 2222, PCGS# 1000)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
August, 2012
2nd-5th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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Page Views: 1,422

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