Stack's Bowers - The November 2011 Baltimore Auction Lot #228

  • PCGS
  • 30
  • CAC
  • N

1793 Chain Cent. S-4. Rarity-3. AMERICA. Periods. VF-30 (PCGS).

Choice VF 1793 Chain AMERICA Cent

Medium to deep olive brown with good all-around appearance. Low magnification reveals uniformly microgranular surfaces though the devices are not impaired and the roughness is minimal. A tiny rim clip at 10 o'clock relative to the obverse is noted, and a few light, well-hidden marks are found in Liberty’s tresses after a diligent search. One of four varieties or die combinations of the 1793 Chain cent, America's first coinage, and the only one with a period after LIBERTY and another after the date; another variety, Sheldon-1, has AMERICA abbreviated AMERI. One of 36,103 Chain cents struck, representing the first of the Philadelphia Mint issues struck in the new premises on its own machinery, the dies by Henry Voigt. Many believed the new cents to be inappropriate in style, the reverse chain design reminding old-timers of the chains of slavery that had just been broken with England, while others decried the head of Liberty itself. Breen's Encyclopedia (1988) quotes Philadelphia's The Mail, or Claypoole's Daily Advertiser edition of March 18, 1793 as reading in part: ""The American cents…do not answer our expectations. The chain on the reverse is but a bad omen for liberty, and Liberty herself appears to be in a fright."" Seemingly everyone had an axe to grind in the early days of the Republic, including against something as simple as the design types from the newly opened U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. One thing is certain--the critics have all passed on but the criticized design type is now among the most famous and desirable of all U.S. designs, holding a cherished place in large cents cabinets and type collections alike. It is with great pleasure we offer this solid collector-grade Chain cent for your bidding enjoyment.

PCGS#: 91341

Pedigree: From the MHS Collection. Purchased from Harry Laibstain, May 2001.