Description1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage (softcover)
Written by Pete Smith, Joel J. Orosz, and Len Augsburger
Winner of the 2017 Numismatic Literary Guild Book of the Year, recognizing the work with the greatest potential impact to numismatics, 1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage is the long-awaited research-based study of the 1792 coins, which were produced during the first six months of the U.S. Mint's existence. These cents, half dismes, dismes, and mysterious eagle-on-globe pieces, have been little studied and long misunderstood. In the 225 years since they were struck, mysteries have accumulated around them. Legends have explained their origins, arguments have raged over their status, and wild guesses have been taken about their rarity.
1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage begins with the "prehistory" of the Mint, covering the legislative debates leading to the passage of the Mint Act in April of 1792, and the concurrent experiments in coinage by private individuals seeking government coinage contracts. The book does not solve every mystery about the coinage of 1792, but it does debunk some myths (George and Martha Washington's silver service was not melted to strike half dismes); settle some arguments (half dismes are regular issues, not patterns); and defines the rarity of each issue of 1792 (a detailed census of every locatable specimen is provided, along with each coin's pedigree). Along the way, many new facts and insights are revealed; for instance, while Washington did not provide the silver to strike half dismes, another future President did! Whether you are a collector, a dealer, a cataloger, or just fascinated by the enigmatic coins that serve as a bridge between the colonial, state, and Confederation issues that went before, and the myriad federal issues that have followed, 1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage is a must-read book.
Addendum: As with any book of this nature, some material is not included in the published version for space reasons, and ever-continuing market activity impacts pedigree studies. The authors have thus issued an addendum to the work, updated as of August 16, 2017.