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$1.5 million 1792 half disme responses

From the July 12 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

A 1792 half disme has been sold for a record $1.5 million. Do you think the coin is worth the money?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.


Yes, if it sold at auction or publicly, the value is set by a free market. It is worth whatever a willing buyer will pay. However, there does seem to be some bravado about bidding in auctions. I have been told that auction items frequently bring double-digit percentage premiums over normal retail.

David Smith
Somerville, Tenn.

Yes, I think the coin is worth $1.5 million because someone paid that amount for it. I always believe if the purchaser is willing to pay a certain price for any item, then the item is worth the amount paid.  At least  if the buyer is satisfied, then all should be.
 
Wayne Logan
Acworth, Ga.

If a knowledgeable seller and a knowledgeable buyer agree on a price that is what a coin is worth. That is the only reason any coin is worth more than face value or metallic content.

Tom Galway
Madison, Wis.

Not only do I think that the half disme is terribly underrated but I think that one should be worth more than the $7 million record. The half disme is the first coin minted by the federal Mint of the United States. Whether it was minted in temporary quarters is debated, but the evidence from G. Washington himself alluding to a ?small beginning in coinage? should solidify its pedigree. The half disme should be included in every listing of United States coins, not under the category of patterns or trial pieces. They are known in every stage of circulated wear. They were used in circulation for commerce as were the many other varied types of silver coin. It?s time that the numismatic fraternity wakes up to the fact that this is the most historically important United States coin ever minted. (Do I own one? Sure do!)

Bob Harris
Daytona Beach Fla.

YES.  If I had the money I would collect the elite coins too.

Lee Rogers
Jeannette, Pa.

The 1792 half disme is a rare coin and a piece of history.  Documents and paintings sell for millions, why not this wonderful coin?

Ginger Rapsus
Chicago

 It?s fantastic what some peaple have money to spend on coins, or other collectable items. I know on my own feeling how temting it is to spend some more money then you actually should. That’s why I hope these peaple do not overspend themself on a coin or anything else collectable.The other thing I often had my doubt about were these unbelievable prices, and I don?t think they are realy worth it? Nevermind considering inflation over the period. I remember about 1973 it must have been that in Australia someone paid the first time over 8000 $A for a 1930 penny and when you look at the prices now, and look at the wages, etc. now, I think he didn?t make much over that period, but it?s tempting and itchy to hope to make a buck or just to have that special coin.

Wolfgang Schian
Muehldorf, Germany

With inflation running at a lot closer to 5 percent than the official U.S. government figures with their phony core inflation numbers, I think the person that bought the half disme will be better off in the long run owning it rather than the dollars he/she gave up to purchase the coin.
 
Ludy E. Langer
Sacramento, Calif.

I believe it?s worth it. This is my all time favorite coin. It can?t be beat as to history and romance. I just wish it wouldn?t make all these new desirability lists!

Bob Conrad
Geneseo, Ill.

First let me say I enjoy your e-mails as well as Numismatic News that I?ve been receiving for years now. It?s very informative, educational and a plain joy to read. Keep it up!

Having said that, I agree with the $1.5 million paid for the 1792 half disme that was sold by Steve Conturis of Rare Coin Wholesalers. Hats off to him, the buyer and the seller. Now that?s what America is all about.

With a mintage of 1,500 it truly is a rarity worth having in any collection.Needless to say, there is a world of history behind this and many other coins that our children can gain a lot of knowledge from. I talk to mine about them all the time and let him hold a true piece of history in his hands. Great educational value!

I have been collecting for around four years now and have been able to obtain one rarity. I have considered submitting it to be auctioned off but was told the value had to be more then $5 million.
I know it is! But the coin is a 1910 S/S $10 ANACS AU-55 Indian Head, the only one certified by them. I can?t see where any other grading company has ever certified one. I got it through a Teletrade auction years ago.

Where can I search to find what the current value of my coin may be? I see a lot of auction houses in the papers I read.  How do I determine which is going to get me the best price they can? So I, too, can join the Millionaires? Club.

Stephen H.
Los Angeles, CA

Any coin has a collector value, only if there is more than one person who want to own it.

It doesn?t matter what the coin is. The value is in the eye of the beholder; the ability to actually own the piece, hold it, look at it and know in your heart and mind that it is truly yours.

In the circumstance of a high priced coin, it is no different. I can say that one of my Lincoln cents is worth a million dollars, and it may be, to me. What that means then is that it would take a million dollars or more for me to part with it.  But it isn?t worth anything until someone offers to purchase it. Then, when the price is set for the sale, auction or trade, there is the value.

On the other side, if I have a coin that I paid $5 million for, is it worth $5 million now? Not unless I can find someone else to plunk down that much, or more.  It is only worth what the marketplace offers next.

My beautiful new car was worth the price on the showroom floor, proven by my willingness to give that much for it. And someday, it may be a collector?s item automobile; but, until that time, it is worth only what I can accomplish with it, and/or the amount for which I can sell it.

A car has a value in its utility. A coin has a value in its utility only up to its face value, then it becomes a judgement of beauty, quality, rarity and availability.

I am always amazed at people who, upon learning that I am a collector, see one of my coins and their first question seems to always be, ?What?s it worth?? 

Well, I say, ?What would you be willing to pay for it??

?Nothing!?

?Then it is worth nothing …to you.?

To another coin collector, that same coin may hold an attraction for them that is enough to have them part with an unbelievable sum of money in order to own it.

Go ahead, ask me what I would pay for a Hummel figurine.

Tom Jillson
Hudsonville, Mich

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