1792 Washington Getz Pattern. Small Eagle. Musante GW-22, Baker-25, W-10775. Copper. Plain Edge. VF-30 BN (NGC). 282.2 grains. A fabled rarity among Washington portrait pieces, offered here in attractive mid grade preservation. This is a medium brown example with strong detail for the assigned grade. There are a few tiny marks and scattering of old, light scratches on the faintly porous surfaces, although the in hand appearance is quite smooth overall. The most significant provenance markers are a tiny nick in the obverse field above the digit 2 in the date and a shallow edge bruise on the reverse after the final letter A in AMERICA. Late die state with rust at the letter A in STATES and among the stars.In April 1792, the Congress sent off a Mint Act for President Washingtons signature. It was essentially the House version of the bill, insisting that American coins depict "an impression emblematic of Liberty." The Senate version of the bill, which never saw the presidents desk, was much different, and Washingtons opposition to the concepts therein may have helped kill it. By the terms of the Senate version, United States coins would have depicted:<em>"An impression or representation of the head of the President of the United States for the time being, with an inscription which shall express the initial or first letter of his Christian or first name, and his surname at length, the succession of the presidency numerically, and the year of the coinage; and upon the reverse of each of the gold and silver coins, there shall be the figure or representation of an eagle, with this inscription - United States of America."</em>If that design prescription sounds familiar, it is because it is precisely what appears on the Getz patterns, down to the I representing "the succession of the presidency numerically" that follows G. WASHINGTON PRESIDENT.It appears Getzs dream of work with the United States Mint did not cease when the coinage acts language made his patterns obsolete. These dies may have been put back into use early in 1793, producing small planchet pieces whose weight intended to meet the standard for the new cent coinage. One specimen, in the Lasser Collection at Colonial Williamsburg, is overstruck on a 1794 cent. This portrait punch also created new dies: the 1796-dated die used on the unique silver "Drumheller Dollar," which also used this exact reverse die; as well as the 1797 Getz Washington Masonic medal. These dies look to have made their way into the hands of Philadelphia mechanic John Harper, whose August 1797 estate listing cites "2 Dies of General Washington Heads, 1 [ditto] of the face Masons coat of arms." The nature of Getzs relationship to Harper has yet to be uncovered.This present example is listed as specimen 38 in George Fulds <em>The Washington Pattern Coinage of Peter Getz </em>(2009). The author counted a total of 55 specimens of the 1792 Getz pattern in copper, of which 44 were of this plain edge type. Most are well worn, many are damaged (and some repaired), and holes are not uncommon. This is a particularly desirable example that is sure to see significant bidding among specialists. From our (Bowers and Merenas) Rarities Sale of January 1999, lot 1008; Heritages sale of the Eugene H. Gardner Collection, June 2014 New York Signature Auction, lot 30002.