Skip to content

NNP Blog

May 02 2024

Robert Rodriguez and Tony Lopez Release “History Recovered: Saga of the 1792 Silver Disme”

Late in 2015, Rob Rodriguez examined a 1792 Judd-9 silver disme, to be offered by Heritage Auctions in their January 2016 FUN sale. The piece was long dismissed as an impaired example, as early as 1864, when the dealer Edward Cogan noted “It is but right to state, that when I purchased it there were several scratches upon it, which have been very carefully removed...” Rodriguez, at the time a relative newcomer to the world of numismatics, looked at the coin with fresh eyes and somehow sensed there was more to be learned. Nearly a decade later, the circle is complete, and the whole story can now be told.

In the paper “History Recovered: Saga of the 1792 Silver Disme,” Rodriguez and Tony Lopez put forth a convincing case that this ostensibly damaged example served not only as ten-cent pattern but also as a design template for the 1793 half cent. Their most powerful evidence derives from the coin itself, which gave up its secrets when subjected to X-ray micro diffraction via the Advanced Photon Source at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL. Imperfections in the underlying crystalline lattice, imparted long ago by surface tooling, are visually translated, and startlingly so. Even readers who disagree with the conclusion reached by the paper will ignore the groundbreaking methodology at their own academic peril.

Rodriguez presented this research at the September 22, 2023 Coinage of Americas Conference (COAC) at the American Numismatic Society, and this paper will additionally appear in the COAC proceedings when they are published.

Link to “History Recovered: Saga of the 1792 Silver Disme” on Newman Portal:
NNP is 100% non-profit and independent // Your feedback is essential and welcome. // Your feedback is essential and welcome.