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    Description

    1792 Washington Getz Half Dollar, AU58+
    Plain Edge, Silver, Musante GW-22 (A)
    The Finest in Private Hands

    1792 50C Washington Getz Pattern Half Dollar, Small Eagle, Silver, AU58+ NGC. Baker-24, Breen-1347, W-10780, Musante GW-22 (A), R.7. Plain edge, Narrow flan, 32 mm., 235.2 grains. This is coin number two in George Fuld's Condition Census of the silver Getz half dollars. No die rust is evident on the reverse of this example. With one finer example held in the Museum of Connecticut History, this piece is the finest Musante GW-22 (A) that is available to collectors. Reflective fields impart a slight cameo appearance to the central devices of this light gray example that displays delicate rose and gold toning at the peripheries. The strike is generally sharp, although the central reverse shows the usual softness. While traces of undertype are evident on this piece, identification of the host coin is not known. It is believed that all of the silver Getz pieces, called half dollars, are struck over foreign host coins.

    The Getz coins in silver and copper were likely struck to comply with the pending Mint legislation. As such, they should be considered the first true pattern coins leading to formation of the Mint. In 1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage, Pete Smith, Joel Orosz, and Leonard Augsburger observe that the earliest reference to these pieces appeared in Montroville Dickeson's American Numismatical Manual:

    "Mr. Getz was personally complimented by Washington for his artistic skill in producing the die for what is called the 'Washington Cent,' and it was also officially recognized by the Government. This letter was often exhibited by Major John Getz, a son of the artist, during his lifetime. Memory must, however, supply the place of this documentary proof, as it cannot now be found."




    Different observers have arrived at varying numbers of varieties for the Getz patterns in copper and silver. An accounting of those varieties is invaluable to the study of these important and rare coins. The longest list of varieties appears in Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, followed closely by Neil Musante's Medallic Washington where the author accounted for 11 different variations. Musante varieties are recorded here. The number known of each variant is open to some debate. Fuld recorded 22 examples in silver, and we know of at least one additional piece.


    Musante GW-22 (A), Silver, narrow flan, plain edge; seven known.

    Musante GW-22 (B), Silver, wide flan, plain edge; seven known.

    Musante GW-22 (C), Silver, lettered edge; unique, struck over a 1679 British half crown.

    Musante GW-22 (D), Silver, circles and squares edge; five known.

    Musante GW-22 (E), Silver, twin leaf edge; three known.

    Musante GW-22 (F), Copper, narrow flan, plain edge; 40 known.

    Musante GW-22 (G), Copper, wide flan, plain edge; four known.

    Musante GW-22 (H), Copper, small diameter, plain edge; unique, struck over a plain edge cent.

    Musante GW-22 (I), Copper, lettered edge; unique, struck over a 1794 cent.

    Musante GW-22 (J), Copper, circles and squares edge; 12 known.

    Musante GW-22 (K), Copper, piedfort, plain edge; three known.


    There is conflicting information regarding the life dates of Peter Getz. Sylvester S. Crosby reported that Getz was born about the year 1768 and that he died in the 36th year of his age. However, a one-sentence death notice in Pennsylvania's Lancaster Intelligencer of January 6, 1810, suggests he died late in 1809: "Died, suddenly, in this borough, on the 29th ult. Mr. Peter Getz, a very ingenious Mechanic." Two days later, the Lancaster Journal reported: "Died, in this borough, on Friday evening the 29th ult. after an illness of two days, in the 47th year of his age, Mr. Peter Getz, the original improver of the new printing press constructed with rollers in lieu of a screw. He was famous for his ingenuity." His memorial at Findagrave.com records the dates on his headstone at the First Reformed Church Memorial Garden in Lancaster as September 28, 1769 and December 28, 1809. Smith, Orosz, and Augsburger discuss three Getz brothers, John (1757-1841), Peter (1764-1809), and Jacob (1770-1825). Since all were Lancaster silversmiths, they are often confused in genealogical research. Most likely he was born on September 28, 1762 and died on December 28, 1809.

    The provenance of this piece as recorded in the Ford catalog is "Waldo C. Newcomer; Col. E.H.R. Green; B.G. Johnson; F.C.C. Boyd Estate." George Fuld considers that to be a faulty pedigree as there is no silver Getz pattern recorded in B. Max Mehl's 1931 inventory of the Newcomer Collection.
    Ex: Seaby's (London); Hans Holzer (circa 1950-51); John J. Ford, Jr.; F.C.C. Boyd; Boyd Estate; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 5/2004), lot 28; Jon Hanson; Donald G. Partrick.


    View all of [The Donald G. Partrick Collection ]

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