1793 Chain 1C AMERICA, BN MS (PCGS# 1341)

The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money

  • Auctioneer:
    Stack's Bowers
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Lot Description
1793 Chain Cent. S-3. Rarity-3-. AMERICA, No Periods. Good-4 (PCGS). Of all American coin types, the 1793 Chain cent stands out as having particular significance. These pieces, made in several die combinations, were the first coins struck at the new Philadelphia Mint and intended for general circulation. The release took place in March of the year. Complaints arose, including a newspaper comment that the depiction of a chain on the reverse (with 15 links, one for each state in the Union) was "but an ill omen for Liberty." The motif was soon changed to an entirely different style of Liberty head, in high relief, and with an ornate wreath on the reverse. Still later in 1793 it was changed to the Liberty Cap motif.<br /> <br /> The present coin has pleasing light brown surfaces and epitomizes what a cent graded as Good-4 by PCGS should be. The eye appeal is good, with the result that our consignor, who is a professional numismatist, spent some time in acquiring an affordable example of this variety that also was outstanding within its category.<br /> <br /> The cents of 1793 routinely passed into circulation where they became worn. When a passion for large copper cents arose in numismatic circles, particularly after 1857 when these pieces were replaced by Flying Eagle cents, a scramble took place to acquire as many dates as possible. Believe it or not there was not much information in print at the time, although<em> Historical Magazine</em>, launched in 1857, answered many coin queries, and the <em>Evening Transcript</em>, published in Boston and presumably not read outside that district, had valuable information about cents written by Jeremiah Colburn. The <em>New York Dispatch</em> also had a column on coins, this by Augustus B. Sage. In the meantime, Dr. Montroville W. Dickeson, Philadelphia numismatist and archaeologist, was compiling what would be his masterwork, published in 1859, the <em>American Numismatical Manual</em>. Dickeson discussed 1793 cents and noted
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