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ECONOMIC ROLE

Half Disme

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Half Disme front
Half Disme back
  • Around 1,700 to 1,800 of these coins—called the Half Disme (pronounced "deem")—were struck in July 1792. They have a face value of five cents and were mostly made of silver with traces of copper.
  • The U.S. Mint does not consider these to be the first circulating coins under the U.S. Coinage Act of 1792 even though some did make it into circulation. They were minted in the private facilities of a Philadelphia craftsman, John Harper, since the Mint's official building had not been acquired.
  • A congressional resolution, passed March 3, 1791, gave President George Washington the authority to order the minting of this coin.
  • Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson provided most of the silver bullion used to mint the coins.