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1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent NGC AU55BN

2023-11-01 18:23:00
1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent NGC AU55BN

1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent NGC AU55BN

Jack McNamara's Live Auction Featured Coin

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

 

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  • Mintage: 35,334
  • NGC Population: 7/23
  • PCGS Population: 27/47
  • Collectors Universe Price Guide = $50,000
  • The first coin mass produced by the fledgling United States Mint were not made of silver or gold but copper.
  • While the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, established the U.S. Mint and the silver dollar as the basic standard for the nation’s new monetary, with all other denominations expressed as fractions of the dollar, the striking of the first silver dollar would not occur until 1794.
  • Gold coins on the other hand would have to wait another year to see the light of day, with half eagles, then shortly after, gold eagles being struck beginning in 1795.
  • Hurdles were more common than not during the infancy of the U.S. Mint. One of the many challenges that Mint Director David Rittenhouse had to overcome was a demanding provision in Section 5 of the Mint Act of 1792.
  • Before Assayer Albion Cox and Chief Coiner Henry Voight could lay a hand on silver or gold metal, they were required to provide sureties amounting to ten-thousand dollars.
  • At the urging of Mint Director Rittenhouse, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and President George Washington, the onerous requirement was reduced by Congress to a manageable $5,000 for the Chief Coiner and $1,000 for the Assayer.
  • Prior to the passing of this amendment the only coins circulating in America during 1793 and early part of 1794, were the 110,000 Copper Large Cents (Chain Cent – 36,000, Wreath – 63,000, & Liberty Cap – 11,000) & the 35,000 Copper Half Cents.
  • The total mintage of 35,334 Half Cents is separated into three deliveries: 7,000 coins on July 20, 1793; 24,934 coins on July 26, 1793; and the final 3,400 coins on September 18, 1793.
  • Although the exact engraver or engravers of the 1793 Liberty Cap Half Cents are unknown, many expert numismatists, such as Walter Breen, have suggested that the engraving was accomplished by Adam Eckfeldt and Robert Birch, with possibly Henry Voight and Joseph Wright having a hand in their final production.
  • Breen also speculated that sketches were prepared by David Rittenhouse, drawing inspiration from Augustin Dupre’s Libertas Medal, struck in Paris in 1782 at the request of Benjamin Franklin to commemorate America’s victory in the Revolutionary War.
  • Following the 1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cents, Robert Scot was hired as Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint. His dies for the next Liberty Cap Half Cent minted in 1794 featured a portrait of Liberty facing right.
  • Not only is the 1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent a one-year type for its respective series but since the Liberty Cap design used on the Large Cents produced in 1793, also faces right, the 1793 Half Cents are considered unique in United States coinage as the only issue to feature the Liberty Cap, Head Left design.
  • An estimated 800 to 2,200 examples are believed to have survived to date in all grades, while the number of Mint State survivors is expected to represent one percent of that total. Even locating a high-grade About Uncirculated specimen is no simple task as less than 15% of all surviving examples exist in AU55 or finer condition!