The 1792 Half Disme


Halfdisme SM

An estimated 1,500 half disme (an early version of "dime") silver coins were struck in the basement of a saw-maker's shop in Philadelphia in 1792 because the U.S. Mint was not yet operational. The coins - slightly smaller than a modern dime and weighing half as much - were first authorized by President Washington under the Mint Act of 1792. According to legend, the silver used to mint the 1792 half dismes came from Martha Washington's personal silverware. Thomas Jefferson, then serving as secretary of state, personally received the coins on Washington's behalf. Modern researchers estimate that about 275 of the 1,500 originally struck survive today. The coin was donated to the Money Museum by Steven L. Contursi.




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