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Certified Mint State 1793 S-8 Wreath Cent1793 1C Wreath, Vine and Bars Edge. MS62 Brown PCGS. S-8, B-13, R.3. Bland AU50; tied for CC-10. Our EAC Grade AU55.
Equivalents. Crosby-Levick 7E; Frossard 6, 7.1; Proskey 11; Doughty 10; Crosby 9-G; McGirk 2-F; EAC 13; Encyclopedia 1641; PCGS #1347.
Variety. Horizontal stem parallel to the date. The bow is high and triangular. The obverse appears on S-8, S-9, and NC-4. The reverse appears on S-8. Vine and Bars Edge. The distinctive shape of the leaf cluster over the date, with a horizontal stem that follows the top of the date, immediately identifies the obverse. All other Wreath cent dies have a vertical stem.
Surfaces. Splendid steel and chocolate-brown surfaces blend with olive and traces of red in the protected areas. A minuscule rim bump left of L on the obverse and a tiny horizontal mark between the tops of EN in CENT are the only marks, and they are barely worth describing. An exceptional piece with impressive eye appeal.
Die State II. Minor obverse clash marks, and the reverse has a diagonal bisecting crack along the bulge through the center of the wreath.
Census. Del Bland lists just two Mint State examples of Sheldon-8 in his Census, while Bill Noyes records only one. This example ranks eighth best according to Noyes. It dropped out of sight for 30 years until its reappearance in the February 2007 Goldberg sale.
Commentary. Sheldon-8 and S-6 are about equal in variety, although the Sprung Die (S-6) variety is slightly more popular with collectors. Sheldon remarked that the lower interest in this variety is possibly due to its association with S-9, the most plentiful 1793 large cent variety of any design.
Although presented in an earlier position by both Crosby and Sheldon (who listed 1793 varieties in the same sequence as Crosby), the S-8 die marriage was coined after both NC-4 and S-9, each from the same obverse die. Fine die cracks present on the neck, cheek, and temple of this variety actually developed during its marriage with the reverse of S-9.
Crosby was aware of the incorrect variety order presented in his 1897 reference. Discussing an obverse crack from the bust point to the border, he wrote: "Had I pursued my studies of this increasing crack with reference to the two reverses found with this obverse, before the pieces were arranged for engraving [of the plates], I should have transposed reverses G and H, as I find the obverses showing this fault the least are coupled with reverse H [Sheldon-9], conclusively proving that to have been the one earliest in use." Sheldon also commented about the incorrect sequence.
The Mint continued its production of copper coins throughout 1793 and well into 1794. On December 30, 1793, Thomas Jefferson reported to Congress that "an impediment has arisen to the coinage of the precious metals." Section 5 of the original Mint Act required that the assayer, chief coiner, and treasurer each post a bond to the Secretary of the Treasury in the amount of $10,000. By the end of 1793, it was determined that Assayer Albion Cox and Chief Coiner Henry Voigt were unable to fulfill the requirement.
On March 3, 1794, Congress passed an amendment that lowered the bond required of Cox to just $1,000 and that of Voigt to $5,000, more realistic amounts. Coinage of precious metals began once the bonds were posted.
Provenance. Frank H. Masters, Jr. (RARCOA, 5/1971), lot 38, $4,400; Jerry A. Bobbe; Del Bland; Don Quiggins; Mike Brownlee; Dennis Weaver Rare Coins (FPL #22, 3/1975); Bowers and Ruddy (11/1976), lot 405, $6,500; Fred Sweeney Rare Coins (Coin World, 12/8/1976), $8,900; Kenneth M. Goldman; later, Goldberg Coins (2/2007), lot 254, $66,125.
Personality. One of the best known numismatic authorities of the 19th century, Sylvester S. Crosby was born in Charlestown, New Hampshire, on September 2, 1831, and died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 18, 1914. Crosby was the youngest of 11 children of the Reverend Avazaniah Crosby, pastor of the Charlestown Congregational Church. A watchmaker by trade, Crosby had an interest in numismatics, mushrooms, archaeology, and astronomy. He collaborated with J.N.T. Levick in an article on 1793 cent varieties (which included the famous Levick Plate), authored a later reference on 1793 cent varieties in 1897 that became the standard for many years, and is best known for his Colonial reference Early Coins of America. (NGC ID# 223H, Variety PCGS# 35456, Base PCGS# 1347)
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