1792 Half Disme

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The 1792 Half Disme

Specific data concerning the origin of the 1792 half disme are hard to come by. Indeed the issue is shrouded in speculation and romantic stories. Among the latter is the tale that George (or Martha) Washington turned in the family silverware to provide metal for coinage; an unlikely scenario, unless the utensils were damaged and in need of replacement. Another story has it that Martha Washington is depicted on the obverse of the half disme, which is also unlikely. Nor is it known who cut the dies for the issue. The Guide Book suggests Robert Birch and Adam Eckfeldt. Even the first name of engraver Birch has not been verified; it may have been Robert, but on the other hand, it may have been some other name.

The mintage of the 1792 half disme is likewise a mystery. Educated guesses have ranged from 1,500 to 2,500 pieces. The obverse inscription, somewhat Franklinesque, is: LIB. PAR. OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY.

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