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All Posts Tagged With: "Halh Disme"

Stacks to offer 1792 Half Disme at Americana Sale

The first silver coin of the new United States. This denomination is one of the 1792 coins struck before the cornerstone of the new Philadelphia Mint was laid. Researchers Joel Orosz and Carl Herkowitz did considerable research on this issue and their findings were published in the ANS American Journal of Numismatics 15 in 2003.

half_disme_stacks_012610George Washington himself provided silver coins or bullion to provide the silver for this issue, approximately $100 in value of which $75 in face value in half dimes were produced (the mintage of 1,500 is believed true), the balance of the silver was likely scrap and its disposition is unknown.

These were struck in the cellar of saw maker John Harper as the new Philadelphia Mint was still under construction at the time these were coined. Finished coins were reported by Adam Eckfeldt to have been given to President Washington who distributed them as gifts to friends, many ending up going overseas.

The actual planchets were prepared and delivered to the mint by Thomas Jefferson, who made records of these actions in his personal journals.

As some were given out to dignitaries and friends, this accounts for the number of high-grade examples that are known today. However, the vast majority did circulate and like other early half dimes from that period are often found with considerable surface challenges.

The present example is among the finest known. NGC has certified six in this grade, only three finer, the highest MS-68. The obverse has minor adjustment marks on the rim where every precious grain of silver was measured and any planchet deemed too heavy was filed just enough to get to the correct weight. (more…)