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Description

1793 S-3 Chain Cent, XF45
Late Die State
Heavy Obverse Clash Marks

1793 Chain 1C AMERICA XF45 PCGS. CAC. S-3, B-4, Low R.3. Possibly the most historically important U.S. coin, the Chain cents were the first coins ever minted in the first Philadelphia Mint facility, with coinage in February and March 1793. In his Encyclopedia of United States Large Cents, Walter Breen wrote: "They are the first mass production coins in any metal issued by the federal government on its own machinery, and within its own premises. For all practical purposes, these are the first regular issue United States coins."
All of the copper used for the Chain cents came from local sources. Slightly more than 6,000 pounds of copper was purchased for the Mint in the last quarter of 1792, and another half ton was purchased in early March 1793. The single largest supplier were Gustavus and Hugh Colhoun. The latter name, Hugh Colhoun, appears in burial records at Christ Church cemetery in Philadelphia. He died on October 1, 1838, at the age of 71 years.
Five varieties were coined between February 27 and March 12, with a total production of 36,103 coins, and they were delivered from the chief coiner during the first two weeks of March. It has even been suggested that the first Chain cents may have been "ceremonially struck on Washington's birthday, Friday, February 22."
Breen attempted to correlate the eight individual delivery records with the known varieties, although his correlation assumed that all Chain cents were struck on a single press, in the exact order of his variety presentation. For Sheldon-3, he suggests that between 15,000 and 18,000 coins were minted from March 2 through March 8.
The present piece is one of the last of the S-3 cents coined, with heavy clash marks in front of the face and before the neck. The reverse shows field roughness, the result of die resurfaces to remove heavier clash marks. If Breen's analysis of minting dates was correct, then we could project that this coin was struck on March 7 or March 8, 1793.
Both sides of this Choice XF specimen are deeply toned in steel and dark olive, with a slight reddish-orange appearance on the high point of the central obverse. A few tiny rim bumps are evident on each side, and old scratches are noted, the latter entirely blended with the surrounding surface, and virtually undetectable without a loupe. MRB VF25.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 223F, PCGS# 1341)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
October, 2011
13th-16th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 14
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Rasmussen Special Edition Catalog
This hard bound volume contains the magnificent Wes Rasmussen Large Cent Collection, formed by a former President of the Early American Coppers society which was auctioned at the 2005 Florida United Numismatic Auction. Reserve your copy of this remarkable volume for just $75 today.
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