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    1792 Half Disme, Judd-7, Fine 15
    A Coinage of National Pride

    1792 H10C Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4, Fine 15 PCGS. The late Richard M. Doty, curator of the Smithsonian Numismatic Collection, once wrote: "The kind of money circulated by a people discloses much about that people -- about their economic development, their self-image, their culture, what they expect their financial and political future to be." That sentiment was not lost on the Founding Fathers, who insisted on the creation of a United States Mint and the domestic production of circulating coinage. Thomas Jefferson refused a proposition by John H. Mitchell, who offered to supply the young United States with copper coinage. Although Mitchell was able to produce unalloyed copper coins of any size with edge devices for 14 pence per pound, Jefferson believed sacrificing the independence that came with domestic coinage manufacturing was of a greater importance.

    It was with this profound sense of national pride that Thomas Jefferson and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton undertook the momentous task of devising a monetary system and the foundations for an American mint. Their work eventually led to the passage of the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, which stipulated, among other denominations, the half disme, "each to be of the value of one twentieth of a dollar, and to conĀ­tain eighteen grains and nine sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or twenty grains and four fifth parts of a grain of standard silver."

    A little over three months after the passage of the Mint Act, Thomas Jefferson himself deposited $75 worth of silver to Philadelphia saw-maker John Harper, whose basement housed the Mint machinery while new buildings were under construction. Two days later, on July 13, 1792, Jefferson received from Harper 1,500 of the new half dismes. That small production, from which this piece derives, represented the first regular issue of United States coinage, an event of virtually unparalleled numismatic significance.

    This piece was last seen at auction more than 20 years ago, in a 1997 Stack's sale, presumably in the same green label PCGS holder in which it still resides. The smooth steel-gray surfaces show a couple of identifying linear marks on the reverse, under the eagle's left (facing) wing and next the first A in AMERICA. A subtle "dimple" in the field behind Liberty's head is also noticed upon further examination. Wear is light and even, and eye appeal is pleasing for the grade. This is an important opportunity to acquire a collector-grade example of the United States Mint's first circulation coinage.
    Ex: Empire State Collection (Stack's, 1/1997), lot 240.(Registry values: P9) (NGC ID# D93T, PCGS# 11020)


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

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    3rd-8th Wednesday-Monday
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    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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