Was able to make a deal to purchase this. Thoughts? Thanks!
From the research staff at Heritage: In the American Numismatic Society's American Journal of Numismatics #15 for 2003, Joel Orosz and Carl Herkowitz, explore all aspects of the production of these first official United States coins. The article, "The Fabled 1792 half dimes," is well worth the effort for anyone interested in early U.S. coinage.
The authors discovered an obscure reference to a tipped-in note that was discovered in a European coin book in 1943 and the contents of the note were subsequently published in The Numismatist. Orosz and Herkowitz identified the actual author of the note as John McAllister, Jr., a fascinating individual who was a close friend of Adam Eckfeldt, who was present at the striking of the 1792 half dismes. The actual content of the tipped-in note reads:
"In conversation with Mr. Adam Eckfeldt (Apr 9, 1844) at the Mint, he informed me that the half dismes above described, were struck, expressly for Gen. Washington, to the extent of One Hundred Dollars, which sum he deposited in Bullion or Coin, for the purpose. Mr. E. thinks that Gen. W. distributed them as presents. Some were sent to Europe, but the greater number, he believes, were given to friends of Gen. W. in Virginia. No more of them were ever coined. They were never designed as Currency. The Mint was not, at the time, fully ready for being put into operation. The Coining Machinery was in the cellar of Mr. Harper, saw maker, at the corner of Cherry and 6th Sts, at which place these pieces were struck."
While the facts in the note above may have been well-known to a small group in the mid-1840s, later retellings of the story stretched and greatly enhanced the basic facts until the present day, when it is still believed by many that Martha Washington was the model for the figure of Liberty, the coins were struck from Washington's Sheffield silver plate, only $75 worth of coins were struck, and that George and Martha were in attendance when the coins were presented. Skipping to the end of this masterful article, Orosz and Herkowitz's conclusions are:
The half dismes were not struck from sterling silver or silver-plated tableware but rather, as Eckfeldt states, from bullion or coin.
The half dismes survive today at an unusually high rate, consistent with early presentation to at least some degree.
The amount struck (1500 pieces or $75) is consistent with an initial deposit of $100, with the loss due to preparation.
After the planchets were prepared, they were deposited with the cabinet officer in charge of the Mint. Jefferson personally delivered the blanks to the Mint to be struck, and the struck coins were returned to his care.
Jefferson recorded all transactions regarding the 1792 half dismes as private records, not public records.
It's interesting that Eckfeldt refers to GW as Gen. Washington in the middle of the 19th century. Washington was President in 1792 when these coins were struck. I guess his accomplishments during the Revolutionary War and his victory over the British overshadowed his Presidential accomplishments, which were in no way run-of-the-mill.
I will say she is a beauty. A bucket lister for me and one that should have been in my list of "what to buy for a million bucks". Closest I'll probably get was seeing the finest known at the ANA museum.
With the Heritage videos it's pretty easy to look up, so I know the grade too. My thought, other than it's a spectacular coin, is that it sold for $53,500 more in Jan 2015 than it did in Jun 2021. Hope your deal was OK.
Quote: It's interesting that Eckfeldt refers to GW as Gen. Washington in the middle of the 19th century. Washington was President in 1792 when these coins were struck. I guess his accomplishments during the Revolutionary War and his victory over the British overshadowed his Presidential accomplishments, which were in no way run-of-the-mill.
Gotta remember too, that Eckfeldt's would have spent the first part of his life hearing about "General George Washington", and for others who were born around 1770 and before, that's probably how they were "introduced" to George Washington, so spending, say, 10 years refering to him as general (not to mention those would have been his childhood years) and then president afterwards, it would have likely been a tough habit to break. Kinda like if you become friends with a childhood teacher after you become an adult and have to get out of the habit of calling them 'Mr' or 'Mrs'.
Absolutely remarkable! I'm glad this coin found its way to a collector who appreciates its history, as well as its rarity. In some ways, that's the heart of numismatics, and what is missing from collectibles investing. Bravo!
Anyone that loves the early American history and numismatics really needs to get the book Heritage Press put out "1792: Birth of a Nation's Coinage." It's not expensive yet it remains (IMHO) one of the very best researched books on a single coin ever done. The book is only $40 on their website, and sometimes much cheaper if you look around on eBay. It's in full color has information on every single 1792 coin the authors could track down, which is not all of them (in fact a few have turned up after the book was completed) but I dare say they tracked down over 90% of the remaining mintage known today.
Ty you got that right, I've read every page, and it took me longer than some books twice it's length or more. It's not exactly super exciting to read through each and every example found in the back, but I did learn a lot from them. I find it's more fun when reading items like that section to be at the computer or have my auction references at hand to look up many of the coins mentioned so I can see and read about them from the catalog. Takes a lot longer, but I get way more out of it. These coins are the basis of United States coinage, plus the new stuff David McCarthy (Kagin's) has just uncovered on the Nova Constellatio Patterns is amazing. He gave a neat talk on them today in the EPNS Symposium, it will be re posted in around two weeks, I made another post about it in the main coin forum.
David and my friend Kevin Vinton also wrote a wonderful article for the Numismatist on them called "The First Fugio" in the June, 2019 issue. That was right after David acquired the coins for his collection. A short but great read on some historically cool and beautiful coins.
"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin" - Aaron R. Feldman - "And read it" - Me 2013! ANA Life Member #3288 in good standing since 1982, EAC Member #6202, NBS Member, 2¢ variety collector.
I have a question, I know everyone has a particular field as far as the coins they want to collect or flip. Not sure how to word this..... Do you do it because you can, or are these what you have always wanted, and now you can. I hope this comes accross in the manner in which it is intended.