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    Description

    1792 Pattern Disme in Copper, SP55
    Reeded Edge, Judd-10, Pollock-11
    Fewer Than 20 Examples Traced

    1792 P10C Disme, Judd-10, Pollock-11, High R.6, SP55 PCGS Secure. CAC. The Judd-10 1792 disme in copper is a rare early pattern with close links to the founding fathers of this country. A handsome harbinger of the familiar dimes we use today, the copper dismes, and the other 1792 patterns, were important stepping stones in the formation of the U.S. monetary system. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at no more than 18-20 examples in all grades. That figure coincides well with the estimate of "about 20" known specimens put forward by USPatterns.com, including the three examples in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, the Durham Western Heritage Museum, and the Independence Hall Collection. Heritage Auctions is pleased to offer this pleasing SP55 example in just its second auction appearance.

    Design
    Obverse: Liberty with flowing hair facing left. LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE & INDUST. around, 1792 below the bust. Reverse: Eagle in flight, with outstretched wings and head to right, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around, DISME below. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. The diameter is 22 mm, the same as the 1792 Small Pattern cents. The same planchet cutter may have been used on both issues.

    1792 Pattern Dismes
    The landscape of 1792 pattern dismes is complex, as the same design was struck in silver (Judd-9, three examples known, one struck on a thick planchet, Judd-9A), copper, with a reeded edge (Judd-10, 19 examples traced), and copper, with a plain edge (Judd-11, three examples known). Two 19th century auction catalogs by prominent coin dealer W. Elliot Woodward featured a coin of this design in tin (the same coin both times), but that piece has not been seen in recent years, and most experts doubt its authenticity. There are also some old references to a silver-plated copper example.

    No documentation on the striking of these patterns has ever come to light. Stylistic similarities with the reverse of the 1792 half dismes, and the fact that Liberty faces left on both these issues, suggests they may have been struck about the same time. However, research published by Pete Smith, Joel Orosz, and Leonard Augsburger, in their landmark reference 1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage, suggests the 1792 half dismes were struck in two different striking periods. The first period was in July of 1792, in the cellar of John Harper's sawmill, before the Mint building was ready for coinage operations. The second striking period occurred in October of 1792, inside the new Mint facility, using a stronger coin press that brought up the design in greater detail. The 1792 dismes are usually seen with a sharp strike, and some examples have been graded Specimen by PCGS and Proof by NGC in the past, suggesting they were struck on the stronger press in the new Mint building. In fact, PCGS currently considers all Judd-10s special strikings (two especially prooflike examples were certified as SP64 Brown and SP55 in earlier times, with a different PCGS number, 911026, and they remain listed separately in the population data today). While this reasoning is convincing, we acknowledge it remains unproven.

    The engraver of these pieces remains a mystery and there is little agreement between experts on this subject. The Flowing Hair style on the obverse of these coins is believed to derive from the beautiful Libertas Americana medal by Augustin Dupré, but no one believes he engraved these dies. The obverse also bears a strong resemblance to the 1793 half cent, which many analysts have attributed to Adam Eckfeldt. The 10th edition of the popular Judd reference attributes the dies to Chief Coiner Henry Voigt, while the authors of 1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage list the engraver of the 1792 dismes as undocumented.

    The mintage figures for the Judd-10 copper disme are unknown, but our roster in the January 2015 FUN catalog lists 19 survivors, making it the second most available 1792 pattern issue.

    Alan Weinberg's Commentary:
    "My opinion is that my disme surpasses the technically higher graded "AU-58+" Archangel disme which had a noticeable large corrosion spot on obverse edge at 11 o'clock. I acquired this remarkable specimen from the partnership of Julian Leidman and Mike Brownlee, who purchased it out of the 1973 ANA Auction, by Jess Peters, which I also attended. Later, I was the immediate underbidder for the finest-known Garrett specimen at the Garrett IV auction, which was bought by Marvin Browder, sitting right beside me at that sale." Alan purchased this coin on February 12, 1982 for $35,000.

    Physical Description
    This is an impressive SP55 example that exhibits just a trace of friction on the high points of Liberty's hair and the eagle's breast. The design elements were strongly impressed and fine detail is evident on Liberty's curls and the eagle's feathers. Both sides are well-centered, with complete dentilation all around. The smooth olive-brown surfaces display a few highlights of amber. Both sides show only minor signs of contact and a thin scratch above T in PARENT is the only mark of note. A small depression is seen in the field under the BE in LIBERTY. Two small strike-throughs appear in the reverse field, one above and to the left of the eagle's head, and another next to the C in AMERICA. The overall presentation is most attractive. This coin occupies the number three spot in the roster of known specimens listed in 1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage. It has not been publicly offered since 1973 and we expect years to pass before a comparable specimen becomes available. This lot represents an important opportunity for the advanced pattern collector.
    Ex: Boston ANA Convention Auction (Jess Peters, 8/1973), lot 1088, realized $9,000; Julian Leidman and Mike Brownlee; private purchase by Alan V. Weinberg on 2/12/1982 for $35,000.
    From The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part I.

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 11026)


    View all of [The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part I ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
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