The story of the 1792 half disme takes one back to the very beginnings of the United States and, particularly, to the establishment of the nation’s monetary system and mint. Following passage of the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, the Treasury Department decided to establish a mint. On October 15th of that same year, George Washington received written notification from Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson that the minting of half dismes was underway in Philadelphia, although not in the actual Mint premises which were not yet ready. President Washington enthusiastically included this milestone in his Annual Address to Congress in November.
The 1,500 dismes were struck from $75 worth of silver bullion deposited by Jefferson himself, and PCGS estimates only 275 survive. We are honored to present a fresh and exciting example of this legendary early U.S. Mint rarity in lot 3029 of our Spring 2022 auction. The surfaces are richly and originally toned in a blend of deep steel and olive-gray with hints of cobalt blue. A bit softly defined overall, yet to no great detriment, as a lack of significant wear has left plenty of bold detail to most design elements. The strike is trivially off center to the right obverse and lower right reverse, affecting only the denticulation. Even close inspection under magnification reveals very few small, wispy handling marks, none of which are distracting. Overall, this is a pleasing and wholesome example of one of the first coins produced by the United States.
Since the very beginnings of American numismatics, the 1792 half dismes, with their direct connection to our nation’s Founding Fathers, have been among the most coveted of all federally issued coins. Steeped in history, this superior About Uncirculated example would make an impressive addition to any advanced collection. This lot includes the original, October 8, 1965 invoice from when it was purchased from Empire Coin Company, Inc. (Q. David Bowers and James F. Ruddy). The purchaser was a Mr. Volk, who paid, at that time, $1,275. A typed note signed by Q. David Bowers and addressed to Mr. Volk is included as part of the invoice. The iconic history of the 1792 half disme, along with the outstanding pedigree, will most certainly garner lively bidding when this coin comes up for auction.
This lovely half disme, along with our entire Spring 2022 Auction, is available at StacksBowers.com for viewing and bidding. For more information on our upcoming auctions call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].?