Washington "1/2 Dollar" pattern by Getz
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, Lancaster
Gift of the Lasser family
Acc. No. 2003-22,14
Label:Traditionally, a newly formed nation produces its own money as a proclamation of sovereignty. Since there was a lag of ten years between the end of the Revolution and the opening of the first United States Mint, there was an opportunity for private "for profit" coin producers on both sides of the Atlantic. One way to ensure the success and profitability of a coinage for the new republic was to put George Washington on it.
Peter Getz of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, also tried his hand at producing prototype United States coins. He struck a number of cents and half dollars in 1792, based on the Birmingham-made cents of 1791. President Washington strongly objected to the use of his portrait on the coins as being "monarchical," so the design idea was scrapped. Today, Getz's coins are treasured by collectors for their attractiveness and their pivotal role in the creation of our national coinage.