Skip to content
Lot 3083

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3083
Date 1793
Side reverse
Grade 55
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 35438
Denomination 1C
Description 1793 1C Chain, AMERICA, S-3, B-4, Low R.3, AU55 NGC. Our EAC Grade XF40. Ex: "Col." E.H.R. Green. Breen Die State I. Although some rare pattern issues were struck in 1792, the 1793 Chain cents were the first regular-issue coins struck by the authority of the United States government inside the walls of the newly-established Philadelphia Mint. A respectable mintage of 36,103 pieces was accomplished in early March, before the reverse design was changed to the Wreath motif. According to a 1795-dated report from Mint Director Elias Boudinot, Chief Coiner Henry Voigt engraved the dies in February of 1793, after a search for a capable engraver failed to produce a suitable candidate. Voigt's simple design conformed to the specifications of the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, and the coins were widely accepted by merchants and bankers. Unfortunately, the design (especially the chain on the reverse) was the subject of much criticism from the general public, resulting in its quick replacement by the Wreath reverse. Five varieties of 1793 Chain cents are known to collectors today and this coin is the S-3 variety, easily distinguished by the large leaning R in LIBERTY and the fully spelled out AMERICA in the reverse legend. The S-3 probably accounted for about half of the reported mintage, making it the variety most often seen today. The coins were struck on planchets produced from locally obtained scrap copper that varied extensively in purity, hardness, and malleability. The ingots cast from this motley mixture tended to have many gas bubbles and other flaws that were transferred to the copper strips from which the planchets were punched. As a result, many Chain cents show extensive surface imperfections. Although a few Mint State examples were saved, possibly as mementos of this first-year coinage, most Chain cents circulated extensively and the typical example seen is well-worn and heavily abraded. The present coin is an appealing Choice AU example, with pleasing brown surfaces that retain traces of original red color and luster. The surfaces are relatively smooth to the naked eye. The lightly worn design elements were strongly impressed and only a few well-scattered minor abrasions are evident. This coin is tied with three other pieces for the 11th through 14th place in the Condition Census for U.S. Large Cents by Bill Noyes. Ex: "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman @ $225.00; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $76375.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Related Content

Image Collection Eric P. Newman Collection, Part V
NNP is 100% non-profit and independent // Your feedback is essential and welcome. // Your feedback is essential and welcome.