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    Rare and Important 1792 Half Disme, XF Details

    1792 H10C Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4--Environmental Damage--NCS. XF Details. A major question surrounding the 1792 half disme is whether or not President George Washington supplied the silver for its production. Research conducted by Joel Orosz and Carl Herkowitz, entitled "George Washington and America's 'Small Beginning' in Coinage: the Fabled 1792 Half Dismes," published in the 2003 American Journal of Numismatics, cited a memorandum by a Mr. John A. McAllister, Jr. who related his interview with Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt:

    "In conversation with Mr. Adam Eckfeldt (Apr. 9, 1844) at the Mint, he informed me that the Half Dismes...were struck, expressly for Gen. Washington, to the extent of One Hundred Dollars, which sum he deposited in Bullion or Coin, for the purpose. Mr. E. thinks that Gen. W. distributed them as presents. Some were sent to Europe, but the greater number, he believes, were given to friends of Gen. W. in Virginia. No more of them were ever coined."

    Eric von Klinger, in a June 13, 2005 Coin World review of Orosz's and Herkowitz's article, entitled "Document Details Half Disme: Confirms that G. Washington was Source of Silver," wrote: "General Washington did indeed deposit silver for the 1792 half dismes." Orosz responded in a July 4, 2005 letter to the editor that:

    "We never claim in our article that we have proved that President Washington provided the silver used to strike the half dismes, as both the headline and the first sentence of von Klinger's article flatly state. In our article, we conclude that while the great preponderance of the evidence points toward Washington as the silver provider, the pieces of evidence that could prove he was - Washington's diary for 1792 and Acting Chief Coiner Henry Voigt's July 1792 account book - are unavailable. Washington was a long-time diarist, but the press of his presidential duties prevented him from keeping a diary in 1792. Voigt did keep an account book, but it was lost about a century ago, and no one knows where it is, or if it even still exists. Therefore, while the authors believe that all of the available evidence points to Washington, we cannot prove he was the donor beyond the shadow of a doubt."

    The 1792 half disme offered in this lot displays medium intensity cobalt-blue, lavender, and golden-tan toning in the fields that highlights silver-colored design elements. The coin is well centered on the planchet, and most of the dentilation is complete and bold. Excellent definition is visible on the design features; the date and all of the lettering are sharp. Portions of Liberty's hair and the eagle's breast are smooth, otherwise these elements are well detailed. A few pinscratches are noted on the cheek, and in the upper reverse field, and there is a small abrasion in the upper left obverse field. A mark on Liberty's forehead, and three more in the upper reverse field, appear to be planchet flaws. The left obverse fields are slightly granular, and there is evidence of some faint graffiti in the same area. Adjustment marks are completely absent. All in all, this is a pleasing example of America's first silver coin. Interested bidders should not be dissuaded by the NCS disclaimer.(Registry values: P9) (NGC ID# D93T, PCGS# 11020)


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    9th-10th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,274

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Numismatic Background and Census of 1802 Half Dimes: A Classic American Rarity
    This 64-page book cites mintage and rarity estimates by prominent numismatists and documents the currently known 1802 half dime appearances. Each of the 32 documented examples includes an enlarged obverse/reverse photograph, the author's assigned grade, the provenance of each coin, auction prices realized or dealer fixed asking price, and a unique serial number for each specimen that will facilitate retrieval for research, cataloging, or price-information purposes. Reserve your copy of this remarkable volume for just $29.95 today.
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