1793 1C Wreath, Vine and Bars, AU58 PCGS. CAC. S-9, B-12, R.2. Our EAC Grade AU50. ...
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Among the Dozen Finest Specimens
1793 Cent Coinage -- Planchets
With a supply of copper available for coinage, the material had to be converted into planchets of proper diameter and weight for coinage. The process presented possibly unforeseen problems. The supply of copper included scrap, sheets, and ingots. The scrap copper had to be refined and cast into ingots. Sheet copper had to be verified for purity and refined if necessary. Rolling the ingots into planchet strip was a major hurdle, since the original horse-powered rolling mills were poorly constructed. A major concern was preserving the poor-quality rollers for later use preparing gold and silver strip.
The first set of rollers was purchased from John Bringhurst in November 1792, while another set was purchased from John Harper in 1794. Sholley writes: "Apparently, neither set of rollers was well made, and coinage had to be suspended at least twice, once in 1793 and again in 1796, while they were repaired." Rolling the copper to the approximate thickness was followed by the critical process of "drawing," which essentially fine-tuned the copper strip to the exact planchet thickness.
The rolling process caused the copper strip to be "work-hardened," making the material too hard for planchet production. Annealing was a process of heating the metal until red-hot, then rapidly cooling it, the process softening the material so that it could be manipulated. That process caused heavy tarnishing, so the strip had to be cleaned using aqua fortis, essentially a dilute nitric acid.
Finally, the strip was ready for planchet cutting. While the Mint literally employed horse power to operate the rolling press, planchet cutting was handled manually. The planchet press looked nearly identical to the screw press used for coinage, and in fact, an actual coinage press was probably employed. According to Sholley, "Prior to the late spring of 1794, the cutting press may have been one of the presses used for striking coinage." Once the planchets were punched from the strip, they were again annealed to soften the material for coinage.
The Loring 1793 S-9 Cent
Breen Die State I, with no die cracks or clash marks evident on either side. This early die state is seldom seen. When Superior offered this coin in 1998, the firm assigned a sharpness grade of AU50 and a net grade of XF45:
"Extremely Fine 45. Sharpness About Uncirculated 50. Light brown with lustrous surfaces and much remaining mint frost. A few minute marks in hair above Liberty's ear. A minor toning spot in field to right of hair strand K10. A few other spots of darker toning on the reverse as well as a couple minor lamination lines at O in OF and below M of AMERICA. Perfectly centered with a bold strike. Removed from a PCGS holder graded About Uncirculated 58."
In a word, the Loring specimen is extraordinary. A few minuscule handling marks appear on the devices. However, the reflective chestnut and steel-brown surfaces offer smooth fields that are nearly flawless. A few small fissures remain from the original planchet stock, and a small mark on the T of CENT will serve as a provenance characteristic. In this cataloger's opinion, this piece is in the top dozen known examples.
Ex: Douglas F. Bird; Superior (2/1998), lot 782; Denis W. Loring.
From The Denis W. Loring Collection of 1793 Large Cents.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 223H, PCGS# 1347)
Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)
Rasmussen Special Edition Catalog
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