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    Description

    1792 Copper Disme, Judd-10, AU50
    The Eighth Finest of 19 Known Examples

    1792 P10C Disme, Judd-10, Pollock-11, High R.6 AU50 PCGS. Reeded edge. Ex: Liberty Collection. The obverse peripheral legend LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY encircles an attractive central portrait of Liberty facing left, her locks flowing downward and to the right behind her head. The date 1792 is below, the flag of the 1 touching the lower bust truncation. On the reverse, a rather ungainly fledgling eagle dominates the center, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around and DISME below. The eagle's wingtips touch the T in UNITED and the E in AMERICA. The Judd-10 was struck in copper, with most examples showing normal vertical edge reeding. The design was also struck in silver with reeded edge (Judd-9), of which three pieces are known today, one of them a thick planchet specimen with the date removed. Three survivors also are known of the plain-edge copper version (Judd-11).

    The fledgling U.S. Mint began operations in 1792 with a limited production of pattern coins in anticipation of regular production that began early the next year. Silver half dismes, although not actually coined within the physical Philadelphia Mint building, were the first regular issue coins produced by the government following Congressional approval with the Mint Act of April 2, 1792. Today we are unable to determine which, if any, 1792 pattern coins were actually produced within the Mint's walls late in 1792.

    David Rittenhouse was appointed to the post of Mint Director, and he set about assembling a staff to operate the facility. He recruited Tristram Dalton to serve as the Mint treasurer early the following month. Other officers came along in due time. The actual designers of the various 1792 pattern issues remains undetermined in most cases. Robert Scot was appointed as Mint engraver in November 1793. Prior to that time, Joseph Wright provided designs for the 1793 Liberty Cap cent, and perhaps other coins, prior to his death in September 1793. It is likely he would have occupied the engraver's position at the Mint if he had survived the 1793 yellow fever epidemic. Other names of possible designers include Birch who prepared the 1792 pattern cent that bears his name, and Adam Eckfeldt who served at the Philadelphia Mint for nearly 50 years. Circumstantial evidence points to Eckfeldt as the designer of the 1792 dismes. The precise identities of some of the early designers and engravers in Mint history are "shrouded in archival mist," as Joel Orosz and Leonard Augsburger write in The Secret History of the U.S. Mint.

    This splendid example displays faint bluish olive-brown toning with hints of tan. The surfaces are pleasing and the strike is bold. Minor planchet lamination appears vertically at the left side of the reverse. In our catalog of the Partrick Collection that we sold in the January FUN sale, we presented a roster of 19 known examples, including this piece that was ranked in eighth place on that roster. Surviving examples range from Specimen 65 to Poor 1. The successful bidder will treasure this remarkable piece for many years to come. (NGC ID# 294H, PCGS# 11026)


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    September, 2017
    7th-10th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 27
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