5 Cents "Half Disme"


Issuer United States
Period Federal republic (1776-date)
Type Standard circulation coin
Year 1792
Value ½ Disme = 5 Cents (0.05 USD)
Currency Dollar (1785-date)
Composition Silver (.892)
Weight 1.35 g
Diameter 16.5 mm
Shape Round
Orientation Medal alignment ↑↑
Number N# 25428
Numista type number (https://en.numista.com/help/what-is-the-n-number-visible-in-the-catalogue-33.html)
References KM# 5,
Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Coins / 2001-Date (14th edition). Krause Publications, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States.
And 5 more volumes.
Judd# 7,
J. Hewitt Judd, Q. David Bowers, Saul Teichman; 2008. United States Pattern Coins, Experimental and Trial Pieces : Complete Source for History, Rarity, and Values (10th Edition). Whitman Publishing, Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
Pollock# 7,
Andrew W. Pollock; 1994. United States Patterns and Related Issues. Bowers and Merena Galleries, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, United States.
Adams# 4
Edgar Holmes Adams, William Hartman Woodlin; 1913. United States Pattern, Trial, and Experimental Pieces. American Numismatic Society, New York, United States.


Female bust left with flowing hair.

Script: Latin



Flying eagle above value.

Script: Latin



Diagonally reeded


United States Mint, Philadelphia, United States (1792-date)


The half disme of 1792, the first official coinage issue struck after the passage of the Mint Act of 1792, was long thought to be a pattern rather than a circulating medium of exchange. After all, neither it nor the other denominations produced in that year were ever adopted. However, Edgar. H. Adams, who classified the 1792 half disme as a pattern, acknowledged in 1913 that it "could very well have been a coin of regular issue ... ." Most researchers today agree that the coins were, indeed, intended for circulation. Thomas Jefferson's personal account book relates him travelling to his Monticello estate the day after receiving 1,500 half dismes on July 13, 1792, paying for meals and barbers with them, giving them to charity, and handing them out to children along the way. While some undoubtedly kept the half dismes as souvenirs of the new coinage, others clearly spent them.

There has been a lot of discussion over the pronunciation of the word "disme," but this poem printed in the New-York Herald, January 1, 1803, appears to provide the answer (it's the same as "dime"):

The Tax direct which you Denounce,
By Northern States paid every ounce,
When lords of proud Virginia’s clime,
Refus’d to pay a single disme,
Stands a rich item to our credit,
While Democrats assume the merit.

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Date Mintage VG F VF XF AU UNC
1792  1 500

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Numista Rarity index: 85 Search tips
This index is based on the data of Numista members collections. It ranges from 0 to 100, 0 meaning a very common coin or banknote and 100 meaning a rare coin or banknote among Numista members.

Bullion value: USD 0.90 Search tips
This value is given for information purpose only. It is based on a price of silver at 747 USD/kg. Numista does not buy or sell coins or metal.

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