One of this writer’s favorite coins offered at the recently concluded
Central States Numismatic Society auctions was this 1792 silver half
disme pattern, Judd 7, graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. as Very
Fine details, plugged, scratches.
Heritage Auctions described the piece as “well-traveled” and the
years haven’t been particularly kind to Liberty’s features.
Liberty already looks stern on problem-free examples of this type.
But here, perhaps accountable to the fact that the coin was holed and
then repaired, Liberty’s taken on a mean, almost aggressive
expression. The result is rather charming, considering the problems,
transforming the pattern into something closer to folk art.
Research by Len Augsburger, Joel J. Orosz and Pete Smith has
confirmed that all of the known pieces were struck from the same
obverse die. Estimates suggest that perhaps 300 or so survivors remain
from an original mintage of between 1,500 and 2,000 pieces.
The authors discussed their research in a 2013 Coin World Guest Commentary and
issued a call for Coin World readers to assist in their study.
Smith shared with me at the CSNS show that this resulted in the
addition of several new coins to their database.
The offered example brought $18,212.50, on April 24, 2014, with 13
separate bidders who looked past the crude repairs and perhaps also
found the coin to be charming.