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    Description

    1792 Half Disme, Judd-7, VF25
    First U.S. Circulating Coinage Issue
    Laminated Planchet Error

    1792 H10C Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4, VF25 PCGS. The 1792 half disme was the first coin struck under the authority of the Mint Act of 1792. President George Washington gave his approval for the coin's production on July 9, 1792 in a letter to Mint Director David Rittenhouse and Thomas Jefferson deposited the silver bullion for the striking two days later. The coins were actually struck in the cellar facility of Philadelphia sawmaker John Harper because the First United States Mint was not ready for operations in its own building at that time. On the 13th, Jefferson recorded the following statement in his personal account book, "Recd. from the mint 1,500 half dismes of the new coinage." Washington mentioned the half dismes in his November 6, 1792 State of the Union Address:

    "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. Provision has been made of the requisite buildings, and these are now putting into proper condition for the purposes of the establishment. There has also been a small beginning in the coinage of half dimes, the want of small coins in circulation calling the first attention to them."


    From this we see that the 1792 half dismes were clearly intended to be a circulating issue, but they have traditionally been collected with the pattern series, as well. As the first United States coin, the historical importance of this issue cannot be overestimated and the inclusion of a specimen is a mark of distinction for any collection.

    Pete Smith has traced the pedigree of this coin back to lot 300 of the Commodore Eaton Collection (Henry Chapman, 5/1929), "Good but obverse has three blisters, one before head, one on cheek and behind it. Otherwise good." It was struck a trifle off-center and the legends on the lower left have run slightly off the planchet. The design elements show considerable wear, but some interior detail remains intact. The date, denomination, and the lettering on the right side of the obverse remain bold. As Chapman noted, several interesting planchet laminations show on the obverse (as struck), affecting the bust and the adjacent fields. The pleasing rose-gray surfaces are free of large or distracting abrasions. This coin possesses unparalleled historic interest and an overall attractive presentation, despite the noted surface flaws. We expect intense competition when this lot is called.
    Ex: Commodore W.C. Eaton Collection (Henry Chapman, 5/1929), lot 300; unknown intermediaries; 1982 ANA Convention Auction (Steve Ivy Numismatic Auctions, 8/1982), lot 272; Dallas ANA Signature (Heritage, 3/2016), lot 4777.(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
    January, 2020
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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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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