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1793 S-3 Chain Cent, XF45
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."
Late Die State
Heavy Obverse Clash Marks
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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A hard bound limited library edition of the Wes Rasmussen Collection Catalog, signed by Wes Rasmussen, Mark Borckardt, Greg Rohan, and Denis Loring, is available while supplies last. Only 100 produced. Reserve your copy of this remarkable limited edition signed volume for just $150 today.
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