1792 H10C MS (PCGS# 11020)

The June 2013 Baltimore Auction

  • Auctioneer:
    Stack's Bowers
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Lot Description
1792 Half Disme. LM-1, Judd-7, Pollock-7, the only known dies. Rarity-4. Fine-15 (PCGS). The historical significance of this issue was defined by none other than George Washington who, in his address to Congress on November&nbsp;6, 1792, identified these coins as a regular coinage of the United States Mint, as follows:<br /> <br /> 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. Provisions have been made for the requisite buildings, and these are now putting into proper condition for the purposes of the establishment. There has been a small beginning in the coinage of half dismes, the want of small coins in circulation calling the first attention to them.<br /> <br /> By use of the phrase "now putting into proper condition for the purposes of the establishment" in relation to the "requisite buildings" for the Mint, the president noted that the actual Mint buildings were not yet ready for operations. Accordingly, the 1792 half dismes were struck outside of the future Mint building, but probably using Mint equipment and definitely under the authority and supervision of Mint personnel. The actual&nbsp;location where these coins were struck is thought to have been the cellar of John Harper's shop at the corner of Sixth and Cherry streets in Philadelphia.<br /> <br /> Although closely related to the 1792 "proposed coinage" of the United States Mint, and listed among them on pages 88-90 in the 2014 edition of the <em>Guide Book</em>, President Washington's address clearly establishes the 1792 half disme as a regular issue of the United States Mint. It is the first regular issue U.S. Mint coin, as such, evidence for which also comes from the fact that some 1,500 silver impressions were made -- far too high a mintage for a proposed (i.e., pattern) coin. Additionally, the 1792 half disme as an issue clearly circulated, and not onl
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