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May 02 , 2014

COIN OF THE WEEK

1793 HALF CENT NGC AU50 BN
Click on Coin Image to enlarge

J-1248 1872 $10 Pattern

1793 ½C, NGC AU50 BN - $33,750.00

1793 ½C, NGC AU50 BN. In its population report, NGC has certified only eight ( 8 ) 1793 ½ cents at the Almost Uncirculated 50 Brown grade level.

Please contact me by email or telephone 1-800-624-1870 to reserve this great coin.

This glossy, hard, reddish-brown 1793 half cent has tremendous eye-appeal. The coin’s surfaces are wonderful with just a minor tick or two, certainly in keeping with the grade. There is sufficient separation in the strands of Liberty’s hair above her forehead and on the highest point of her shoulder to warrant the grade. The majority of the beads at the borders are strong as are the letters of the denomination. The appealing color of the piece, light and dark reddish-brown with touches of green-gray within the devices clearly shows the coin’s originality.

The half cent was the smallest denomination of United States coinage ever minted. It was first authorized in the Coinage Act of 1792. The denomination was produced in the United States from 1793 to 1857. It was made of 100% copper and had a value of five mills or a two-hundredth of a dollar. The coin was slightly smaller than a modern United States quarter with a diameter of 22 millimeters. The denomination was discontinued with the Coinage Act of 1857.

The first half cent was probably designed by Henry Voigt. It was a one-year-only type. The 1783 Libertas Americana medal was the model that Voigt apparently used. The Libertas Americana medal was engraved in Paris in 1782 at the behest of Benjamin Franklin, who suggested its motifs and mottoes. The French artist Esprit-Antoine Gibelin made the sketches, and Augustin Dupré did the engraving. The obverse shows Liberty facing left with LIBERTAS AMERICANA above and the date 4 JUIL 1776 below a double horizontal line. Behind her is a liberty cap on a pole. The reverse shows the infant Hercules who symbolizes the United States, in his cradle strangling two serpents. His nurse, Minerva who represents France, shields the infant from a lion, Great Britain.

The obverse of the 1793 half-cent is similar to the medal. It shows a left facing Liberty in profile. Above her head is the inscription LIBERTY with the date 1793 below. Behind her head is a liberty cap on a pole. There are no horizontal lines above the date, and the pole is at s sharper angle so that its end is above the truncation rather than below it. Also on the half-cent, the cap lies on the pole in a more natural way. Liberty’s hair is not as wild on the coin compared to the medal, and it curls toward and slightly below the date. The reverse shows the denomination in two lines in a wreath of laurel tied with a bow at the bottom. Within the ribbons of the bow is the fraction one-two hundredths. The whole is circumscribed by the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The edge is lettered TWO HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR.

Henry Voigt was the first Chief Coiner for the Mint. His permanent commission was signed by President Washington on January 29, 1793, and he remained in his position until his death in 1814. Voigt was born in Pennsylvania in 1738. During the Seven Years War of 1756 to 1763, his family moved to Saxony Germany, their homeland. When the war was over, he took a position at the Royal Mint of Saxony where he learned how to use all of the machinery and how to make every part himself. He even made improvements to the minting machinery during his time there. He was an ideal candidate to work at the first United States Mint. When he returned to America, he worked as a clockmaker in Philadelphia and became an assistant to David Rittenhouse, a well known watch and clock maker, who became the first Mint Director. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Voigt helped manufacturer gears, guns, and gunlocks for the Continental Army.

In 1780 he manufactured wire in Reading, Pennsylvania, and, with his brother Sebastian, once again became a clockmaker. In 1787 he developed a steam engine to power a boat, and he and his brother manufactured steam engines. Both applied for work at the new Mint. Voigt gained the position probably because of his previous association with David Rittenhouse. He became Chief Coiner and Superintendent, the second person in charge. He oversaw the construction of the buildings and the installation of the equipment.

Adam Eckfeldt was the second Chief Coiner at the Mint. He worked occasionally for the Mint until mid 1795 when he became a permanent employee. He was a blacksmith and machinist and so he worked on various projects including adjusting the presses and making die stock. The claims that Eckfeldt engraved several dies in 1793 are unsubstantiated by Mint or other records. His duties included forging, heading, and annealing the dies that others engraved.

In 1796 he was hired as the assistant to Chief Coiner Henry Voigt. He worked as Voigt’s assistant until Voigt’s death in 1814, when he was appointed Chief Coiner by President James Madison. When Engraver Robert Scot died in 1823, Eckfeldt recommended William Kneass to replace him. Eckfeldt is also noted for keeping first strike or “master” coins that became the basis of the Mint Collection, which is now part of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian.

Very Truly Yours,

Tom Pilitowski
www.usrarecoininvestments.com
Toll Free:
1-800-624-1870
Email: TomPilitowski@yahoo.com

 


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