1792 H10C Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4, VF25 PCGS.Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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1792 Half Disme, Judd-7, VF25
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:
First U.S. Circulating Coinage Issue
Laminated Planchet Error
"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. (NGC ID# D93T, PCGS# 11020)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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