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1793 Chain 1C AMERICA AU53 PCGS. S-3, R.3. The Chain cents were the first coins struck by the United States in the new Mint...

2006 September Long Beach, CA Signature Auction #416

 
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Auction Ended On: Sep 13, 2006
Item Activity: 12 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Description:
Pleasing Quality 1793 S-3 Chain Cent
1793 Chain 1C AMERICA AU53 PCGS. S-3, R.3. The Chain cents were the first coins struck by the United States in the new Mint building in Philadelphia. The first coins in the series were the Chain AMERI pieces, followed by those with AMERICA spelled in full. Five die varieties are known, cataloged as Sheldon-1 through 4 plus Sheldon's NC-1. All of these coins, amounting to a total production of 36,103 pieces, were coined in late February and early March. In March 1795, Mint Director Elias Boudinot reported to Congress: "It was also a considerable time before an engraver could be engaged, during which, the chief coiner was obliged to make the dies himself, and yet the dies are subject to frequent failure by breaking." As Henry Voigt was the chief coiner early in 1793, it is he who made the dies for these coins. The reverse, consisting of a 15 link chain to represent the 15 states, was meant to signify the strength of the nation, yet it was interpreted by many or most to represent slavery.
Among the five known varieties of Chain cents, the Sheldon-3 die variety is easily the commonest variety. Walter Breen suggested that the mintage of this single variety may have been half of the entire Chain cent production, although the actual quantity was probably a bit less. This example is a late die state with clash marks visible before Liberty's face and neck and roughening in the fields below UNITED STATES.
Both sides of this piece have lovely medium brown color with hints of olive and tan. The surfaces are smooth and attractive with few defects, although a light hairline scratch is noted in the right obverse field. EAC 35.
From The Troy Wiseman Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 223F, PCGS# 1341)

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