Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 5

Lot 34

A Lovely 1792 Half Disme NGC Graded AU 50. NGC graded AU-50. Always popular with collectors, this storied issue was struck on July 13, 1792 at the direction of Adam Eckfeldt and other workmen hired for the Mint. Almost certainly the letter punches were by Jacob Bay, of Germantown, Pennsylvania who worked for the Mint until his death in one of the yellow fever epidemics a few years later. The striking was done in John Harper's cellar, Sixth and Cherry Streets, a few blocks from the yet to be acquired site of the Philadelphia Mint. The source of the silver has long been attributed to George Washington, and this has been confirmed by researcher Walter Breen some years ago. Surviving presidential tableware at George Washington's estate in Mt. Vernon is Sheffield plate. It is estimated that approximately $75 worth of silver was used to strike these coins, making a total about 1,500 pieces. The issue was distributed by then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and given out to foreign dignitaries and statesmen as examples of the first circulating coins from the United States.
Washington referred to the issue in his Annual Address of November 1792 as "a small beginning" in coinage. This was very important as coinage of silver, for centuries a royal prerogative, was understood everywhere to be an expression of national sovereignty. These half dismes obviously circulated, as many are known in lower grades. Of the 1,500 or so struck, about 200 to 250 remain today for collectors.
This particular coin is a choice light gray in color, with full device detail on the obverse. Liberty's short curls show very little wear except for the highest curls above her ear. The reverse has the usual weakness on certain letters, probably seen on most survivors, with the central parts a touch weak on the A's and M's. Minor adjustment marks are visible on the rims and at the center of both the obverse and reverse. One minor scrape is noted below the RY of INDUSTRY in the field. There is a curious thread-like line on the reverse on the right side, most likely there was a thread on the planchet when this coin was struck, and it can be seen with the aid of a glass. The usual trivial hairline scratches can be seen in the fields, but these are normal on a coin of this era and grade. An exciting example of this enormously popular coin, and the first we've offered since January 1999.

Realized $45,000

Go to lot:  

Home | Current Sale | Calendar of Events | Bidding | Consign | About Us | Contact | Archives | Log In

US Coins & Currency | World & Ancient Coins | Manuscripts & Collectibles | Bonded CA Auctioneers No. 3S9543300
11400 W. Olympic Blvd, Suite 800, Los Angeles CA 90064 | 310. 551.2646 ph | 310.551.2626 fx | 800.978.2646 toll free

© 2011 Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, All Rights Reserved