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1792 FUSION ALLOY CENT

Variety equivalents:
Judd 2, Pollock 2, Breen 1370

Mintage: Unique?

Rarity: Exceedingly Rare

Designer: unknown, sometimes attributed to Henry Voigt
Engraver: unknown

Diameter: 23 mm

Metal Content: silver and copper

Weight range: observed weights from 62.2-72.9 grains (may include some pure copper pieces)

Edge: Diagonal reeding

Known examples:
Only one Fusion Alloy Cent is known.  Breen claimed that the Pine Tree-ANA example had been chemically(?) tested and found to contain silver, but no silver was found in this coin when it was tested later on behalf of the cataloguer of the Norweb collection.  Few of the so-called "Copper" 1792 Cents have been tested, so more "Fusible Alloy" Cents may exist.

1. Harmer Rooke 11/1969 - New Jersey private collection.  According to the Norweb cataloguer, this piece was tested using x-ray flourescence and found to contain silver.

Notes:
1792 saw a flurry of activity aimed at establishing a Mint in America.  Congress passed a Mint Act, a Director was chosen, a lot was purchased, a building was erected, and employees were hired.  While the Mint Act gave directions as to which denominations

For the One Cent piece, which was to be one of the main coins produced in 1793, four types were tested: a large copper piece (the "Birch" Cent), a smaller copper piece with a silver center (the Silver-Center Cent"), another of the same size (the Fusion Alloy Cent, in which the silver and copper were melted together), and another of the same size in pure copper.  Although no written evidence remains to record the testing, clearly the large, pure copper piece was favored, as this was the chosen format when production of Large Cents began in 1793.

Judd considered all the plain edge pieces to be counterfeits.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"United States Pattern, Experimental and Trial Pieces" by J. Hewitt Judd, M.D.

"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"United States Patterns And Related Issues" by Andrew W. Pollock III

 
 

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