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    1792 Half Disme, Judd-7, Fine 15
    First Federal Coinage Issue
    Adams-Woodin Plate Coin

    1792 H10C Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4, Fine 15 PCGS. 21.1 grains, die alignment 360 degrees, obliquely reeded edge. The 1792 half dismes were the first coins struck under the authority of the Mint Act of April 2, 1792. Just over three months after the passage of the Mint Act, Thomas Jefferson deposited $75 in silver to begin the first official U.S. federal coinage. The coins were struck in Philadelphia saw-maker John Harper's basement, where the U.S. Mint's machinery was stored at the time, since the Mint building was not yet ready for coinage operations. Two days later, on July 13, 1792, Jefferson received 1,500 examples of the new coinage. Jefferson spent the new half dismes freely on a trip to Monticello shortly afterward, clearly establishing the coins as circulating issues, rather than patterns.

    President George Washington called attention to the new coinage in his address to Congress on November 6, 1792:

    "In execution of the authority given by the legislature, measures have been taken for engaging some artists from abroad to aid in the establishment of our Mint. Others have been employed at home. Provisions have been made for the requisite buildings, and these are now putting into proper condition for the purposes of the establishment. There has been a small beginning in the coinage of half dismes, the want of small coins in circulation calling the first attention to them."

    When the authors of 1792: Birth of America's Coinage studied the die states of surviving examples, they determined the coins were struck in three different striking periods, with the second striking taking place in October 1792 and the third sometime after that. The later strikings were probably accomplished at the Philadelphia Mint, rather than Harper's sawmill. The total mintage is estimated at 1,500-2,000 examples and the surviving population numbers about 250 examples in all grades.

    The present coin is an attractive Fine 15 example, with deep lavender-gray toning and highlights of golden-brown. Old scratches are evident on both sides and there is a planchet void between the eagle's head and F in OF on the reverse. Moderate wear shows on the design elements, but all lettering and the date remain legible and much interior detail remains intact. The 1792 half disme has traditionally been collected with the pattern series and this example was the plate coin in United States Pattern, Trial, and Experimental Pieces by Edgar Adams and William Woodin.
    Ex: Martin Kortjohn, exhibited 11/28/1944 at the Bronx Coin Club; Kortjohn Collection (Stack's, 10/1979), lot 1190; Pullen & Hanks (1982), lot 1; Auction '84 (Stack's, 7/1984), lot 1037; Gore/Long Collections (Bowers and Merena, 1/1990), lot 99; Auction '90 (Stack's, 8/1990), lot 80; Dennis Mendelson Collection (Superior, 2/1991), lot 1203; offered on eBay (7/26/2007); the present consignor.(Registry values: P9)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 22ZS, PCGS# 11020)

    View Certification Details from PCGS

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