Money Museum receives coin worth $220,000

The Edward C. Rochette Money Museum collection in Colorado Springs now contains a 1792 half disme, a donation from a California coin dealer.

The early American coin is valued at $220,000 and was donated by Steven Contusi, president of Rare Coin Wholeslers in Irvine, Calif.

“The coin will be a fantastic, historically significant addition to the museum’s collection,” said American Numismatic Associaiton President Tom Hallenbeck.

About 1,500 half disme silver coins were struck in the basement of a Philadelphia sawmaker’s shop in July 1792 because the U.S. Mint was not yet operational. The coins were the first authorized by President George Washington under the Mint Act of 1792. Thomas Jefferson, who was Secretary of State at the time, received the coins on Washington’s behalf.

A half disme is slightly smaller than a modern dime and weighs half as much. Disme – pronounced “deem” – is an early spelling of the word, dime. Modern researchers estimate that about 275 still exist.

Contursi made hadelines in December when he sold the unique 1787 EB on Breast Basher Doubloon, which was acquired for nearly $7.44 million by a Wall Street hedge fund. He also sold the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, believed by some to be the first U.S. silver dollar ever minted for $7.8 million in a private sale in may 2010. The silver dollar was on display at the Money Museum for several years.

The public will get a chance to see the Money Museum’s latest acquistion at the spring ANA National Money Show May 10-12 in Denver.