It may be long forgotten by the general public, but the United States coinage system commenced with a silver 5-cent coin rather than that of nickel composition in use today. The half dime was one of the original denominations introduced almost as soon as the United States coinage system began. The half disme of 1792 was a pattern designed by Thomas Birch. Birch is also remembered for his experimental Birch Cent, a coin perhaps better identified with Birch because it bears his name.
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