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    Description

    1793 S-1, B-1 Chain AMERI. Cent, MS64+ Brown
    The Second Finest Known
    From the Ted Naftzger Collection

    1793 1C Chain, AMERI., S-1, B-1, R.4, MS64+ Brown PCGS Secure. CAC. Ex: Elder-Naftzger-Weinberg. Although several pattern coins were produced in 1792, the Chain AMERI. cents were the first copper coins actually struck at the U.S. Mint for use in commerce. The 1792 half disme is believed to be the first official issue of the U.S. Mint. This early die state piece was probably struck on one of the first days of coinage operation in 1793, and it was certainly among coins in the first delivery dated March 1, 1793.

    The dies for the 1793 Chain cents were apparently engraved by the Chief Coiner, Henry Voigt, although Joseph Wright may have had a hand. Just under two years after their production, Mint Director Elias Boudinot reported to Congress on February 9, 1795:

    "It was also a considerable time before an engraver could be engaged, during which, the chief coiner was obliged to make the dies himself."



    Voigt's first attempt resulted in one of the most famous and iconic varieties in American numismatics, the Chain AMERI. cents. Some have suggested that he deliberately abbreviated AMERICA, while others suggest that he thought he was going to run out of room to place the last two letters in the die, although there was clearly enough space.

    Along with die engraving, Henry Voigt, as Chief Coiner, was responsible for the production of all the Chain cents, working under Mint Director David Rittenhouse, and alongside Mint Treasurer Tristram Dalton. Several workmen and laborers were involved in Chain cent production. Those may have included Daniel Gerard, Lewis Laurange, Patrick Ryan, John Schreiner, Nicholas Sinderline, Mathias Summers, John Ward, William Ward, Thomas Warwick, and Zolinger, who may have been the 1792 immigrant, Casper Zolinger. Each of those individuals, except for Sinderline and Zolinger, signed a "Mint Rules and Regulations" document about January 1, 1793.

    This is one of only two examples of the Chain AMERI. cent that Bill Noyes describes as having choice surfaces. He grades this piece AU55 behind a Specimen coin that he grades MS62. Del Bland grades this piece MS60 and second finest known behind the same Specimen coin that he calls MS61. It is our opinion that this piece, with its exceptional surfaces and traces of mint red, deserves a higher EAC grade.

    Alan Weinberg's Commentary. Acquired privately from Ted Naftzger at my kitchen table at 4 P.M. on New Year's Eve 1996. We were both going out that evening. Ted had called me as a direct result of my classified ad in Penny Wise for nice Chain cents. We had not known each other beforehand. He drove out from Beverly Hills in an old beatup station wagon. Ted told me he had acquired this coin in 1947 from Tom Elder's son-in-law and vest pocket dealer, Paul Seitz, for $1,000. He never showed it to Dr. Sheldon as he feared the coin would be "gone." He told me he actually favored it over the brown, lustreless but somewhat prooflike Parmelee AMERI. sold to Streiner, which is slabbed SP65. Ted quoted me a price I could not immediately afford and I moved it back across the table to him. He pocketed it. We chatted for an hour and then, out of the blue, he offered "terms." Two years to pay. I'll take it. We shook hands and he departed. Wait a minute Ted, don't you want something on paper. No, I trust you. Ted was like that, having once mailed an Uncirculated 1793 half cent in a first class mail envelope as he wanted to avoid post office lines. Two years later he sold me at my same kitchen table his ex-Garrett AMERI. cud cent in this same auction with "terms." Perhaps the most rewarding classified ad in numismatic history! Two superb Chain AMERI. cents from one tiny ad.

    The Weinberg Specimen. This is the first time that this amazing coin has appeared in a public auction to the best of our knowledge. There is no trace of wear on either side of this rich bluish steel-brown example that almost incredibly retains traces of original mint red in the protected areas, especially within the links of the chain. A line-like planchet lamination bisects the reverse from the first T in STATES across the central device to the border between ME in AMERI. A few other trivial planchet rifts are evident, mostly on the reverse. Those characteristics in no way affect the grade as they were present when the coin was struck. The only notable blemish is a shallow scrape below the M in AMERI. that is fully blended with the surrounding surface. Both sides of this amazing early copper exhibit full cartwheel luster. Our EAC grade is MS62.
    Ex: Thomas L. Elder; Paul S. Seitz (8/4/1947); R.E. "Ted" Naftzger, Jr. (12/31/1996).
    From The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part I. (NGC ID# 223G, Variety PCGS# 35432, Base PCGS# 1340)

    Weight: 13.48 grams

    Metal: 100% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part I ]

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