Regardless of grade, the ownership of a 1792 half disme clearly
indicates that the numismatist is a serious student of American
coinage. Despite opinions to the contrary, this issue is the first
circulating American coin struck under authority of the Mint Act of
Heritage Auctions is pleased to be able to again offer the Starr
specimen of the 1792
Half Disme in their upcoming 2013
January 9-13 US Coin FUN Signature Auction; this is the same
coin that sold in the 2006 Central States auction for $1,322,500. This
is only Specimen certified by PCGS. It is tied numerically with a PCGS
MS67, and only exceeded by an NGC MS68. A roster of more than two
dozen high quality pieces shows the position of the Starr coin as the
only Specimen strike, and the probable finest known.
The consignor who sold this coin in 2006 stated that, "This
specimen striking of the 1792 silver half disme is truly a coin that
transcends numismatics. It occupies a place in our Nation's history
unequaled by any other coin. For centuries, the coinage of silver was
a royal prerogative. For a young nation, the coining of these half
dismes was of enormous political significance and an expression of
national sovereignty understood around the world. Numismatic scholar
Walter Breen wrote, 'Their historic context has for over 120 years
made these half dismes among the most prized American silver coins.'
Today, as a unique specimen striking, this coin must be considered
America's most important numismatic coin and a priceless historical treasure."
The cataloger for the Starr Collection noted that this was an
early strike: "Some reverse letters soft, particularly A and M in
HALF DISME and M in AMERICA, as seen on most specimens from the
earliest run struck with medal turn reverse orientation."
Heritage believes that the
coin, while certainly very special and deserving of a Specimen
designation, is not, nor could it be, the first 1792 half disme
struck. The reverse has faint but clearly visible die cracks. Earlier
die state examples are known without the die cracks, proving that this
example is a later die state and was among the final examples produced
in July 1792. However, given its obvious specimen status, it might
well have been the very first United States coin actually released by
the State Department, perhaps a special gift to a friend of the U.S.
or even to George Washington himself.