Despite the low mintage, primitive circumstances in which it was struck, and apparent circulation of this issue, a relatively high number of uncirculated specimens are known to exist. “High” is certainly relative in the case of the 1792 Half Disme, as high grade examples only compose the distinct minority of an already low number of survivors. A recent auction description for the finest known example estimated that between 250 and 400 of the original mintage are known to exist in all grades. Judging by the number of auction appearances of this historic issue, the latter seems a bit high, and the true number probably lies closer to 250 than to 400.
The finest known 1792 Half Disme graded by PCGS is a Specimen strike graded SP-67. While PCGS classifies this issue as a regular issue meant for circulation, versus a pattern as some other specialists do, it is without doubt that the SP-67 coin is something special. Its status as a specimen striking is disputed, and it does not appear to be the first coin struck from the dies, as some sources claim. This is attested by the fact that some faint die cracks are visible on the reverse of this coin, which are not present on some other examples, preserved in lower grades. However, the coin is very special, with a needle-sharp strike and prooflike surfaces.
The finest known graded by NGC is an MS-68, and the second finest known is a MS-66 specimen. This latter coin is interesting in the fact that during the last couple of decades it has been graded as Choice AU and MS-63 before being encapsulated in a NGC holder. It is believed that this coin is the 3rd or 4th finest known. Other high grade examples are not known to have been certified, although it is possible that they are included in either the PCGS or NGC population reports, or perhaps even in both. PCGS has also graded a coin as MS-67, which perhaps could be the same coin as the SP-67 specimen striking, or included in the lower grade populations. Two coins have been graded by PCGS as MS-66, and only a single gem (meaning MS-65). Six MS-64’s and three MS-63’s finish the roster of uncirculated examples graded by PCGS. It is believed that one of the MS-64’s is a duplicate of the MS-65 and that only a single PCGS MS-63 is known to exist, although this is unconfirmed. In addition to the two coins listed above NGC has graded five MS-64’s and two in MS-63. Without doubt these numbers include a relative high number of resubmissions.
The NGC MS-68 coin listed above is known to have sold in a private transaction for $1,500,000, but the price record for any 1792 Half Disme at public auction was for the PCGS SP-67 specimen, which sold for $ 1,322,500 in April of 2006. Uncirculated and About Uncirculated 1792 Half Dismes easily sell for six figure sums, while circulated and damaged pieces often trade for sums near that level. Only barely recognizable and heavily impaired examples can be found for less than $ 10,000, but thanks to the historic status of this issue are even much in demand in those grades.