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Did You Know?: The Story of the First U.S. Coin


Hello friends. For the last several months I have been writing a column called Tips and Perspectives. I am now starting a new column called “Did You Know?” in which I will talk about all sorts of interesting and unusual stories and facts about numismatic items.

So, I thought it appropriate in this first column to talk about the first U.S. coin struck in the United States.

In 1792 president George Washington addressed the House of Representatives and informed them that he had established the first U.S. Mint and that a coin called a ½ disme (pronounced ½ dime), was being produced. Since the mint wasn’t yet fully functional, Washington commissioned local craftsman John Harper to produce this coin.

George Washington donated some of his own silverware to be melted down to produce some of the coins. In return, Washington was given a few of the ½ dismes’.

Although an exact mintage of these coins is not known, it is believed that between 2500 and 3500 were minted of which about 10% exist today.

The history of this coin coupled with its’ scarcity call for very high selling prices. Some of the highest graded pieces sell at auction for well in excess of $1,000,000.

Stay tuned next week for more “Did You Know?” stories.

Kind regards,
Chris Seuntjens
Owner/President
Christopher’s Fine Jewelry and Rare Coins
chris@christophersjewelry.com