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    Description

    1792 Half Disme, XF45
    First Federal Coinage Issue
    Judd-7, Pollock-7

    1792 H10C Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4, XF45 PCGS. CAC. 20.9 grains, die alignment 350 degrees. The famous 1792 half disme is one of the most coveted issues in all of American numismatics, and rightly so. As the first coin struck under the provisions of the Mint Act of 1792 it occupies a position of monumental historic importance. The coins were approved in early July and the first group was struck in the cellar of Philadelphia sawmaker John Harper, because the Mint building was not ready for coinage operations. Thomas Jefferson notes in his account book for July 13, "Recd. from the mint 1,500 half dismes of the new coinage." Jefferson spent several of the new half dismes on a trip to his home at Monticello shortly after the striking. The coins were clearly intended to act as a circulating medium of exchange but, historically, they have been collected with the pattern series. Pete Smith, Joel Orosz, and Len Augsburger have uncovered evidence that a second batch of 1792 half dismes was struck in October of 1792, after the First United States Mint was fully operational.

    The issue was avidly collected by early numismatists, and auction appearances are frequently encountered as early as the 1860s. One particularly nice specimen was offered as lot 2864 of the Sixth Semi-Annual Sale (Woodward, 3/1865): "Martha Washington Half Disme, 1792; a splendid proof; a finer coin is not known; in this condition of the highest rarity." The lot realized $40, a large sum at the time, to a collector named Hoffman. Recent sales include the prior appearance of the present coin in lot 2463 of our FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2010), which realized $109,250.

    The coin offered here is an attractive example of this popular issue, with gray-blue toning and light tinges of golden-rose in the fields. It is largely free of the distracting production issues that plague these early coins, with only one shallow planchet flaw located to the left of the eagle. It also exhibits a few parallel adjustment marks by Liberty's ear and a straight scratch on the reverse from H in HALF to the eagle's claw. The wear is even and the strike is uniform, with much interior detail in the hair still intact, and a strong profile to admire. A lively example that will certainly attract well-deserved attention when it crosses the auction block. Housed in a green label holder, certified on 8/20/1991. Population: 2 in 45, 41 finer. CAC: 1 in 45, 4 finer (11/19).
    Ex: T. James Clark, purchased privately at the Detroit ANA Convention in August of 1940; Jesse M. Taylor; Taylor Estate; 61st Auction (New Netherlands, 6/1970), lot 1; ANA Centennial Auction (Bowers and Merena, 8/1991), lot 266; Fun Signature (Heritage, 1/2010), lot 2463, realized $109,250.
    From The Watermark Collection. (NGC ID# D93T, PCGS# 11020)


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

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    December
    20th Friday
    Auction Dates
    January
    8th-13th Wednesday-Monday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    9 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 153
    Auction Type
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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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