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    Description

    1793 S-4 Chain, Periods Cent, MS66 Brown PCGS
    Second Finest PCGS-Certified Chain Cent, Finest With CAC Approval
    The Legendary Parmelee-Brand-Naftzger Specimen
    First Public Auction Appearance Since 1890

    1793 1C Chain, AMERICA, Periods, S-4, B-5, R.3, MS66 Brown PCGS Secure. CAC. Ex: Parmelee-Brand-Naftzger. Just a handful of United States coins are important and desirable enough to capture the attention and bidding activity of people who do not even consider themselves coin collectors. This Chain cent is just such a coin -- the second finest PCGS-certified example of the very first coinage design struck in the United States Mint. As such, it is arguably the most historically important regular issue United States coin.

    Unsurpassed Historical Importance
    After Congress authorized the Mint in April 1792, plans for the establishment soon began, and all was ready late that year. Although 1792 half dismes were minted before the Mint opened, and a few patterns were struck in the new facility late in 1792, the Chain cents were the first actual United States coins minted at the Philadelphia Mint in March 1793. These coins are the very first federal type coins, minted before the 1793 half cents, or the other large cent designs. Mint records identify a total mintage of 36,103 Chain cents were delivered March 1 through March 12, 1793.

    Extraordinary Quality
    A magnificent Gem in all respects. An extremely bold strike exhibits intricate hair details, and there is a complete, raised rim around the obverse, while the chain on the reverse appears in bold relief. The obverse exhibits faint bluish-steel toning and satiny cartwheel luster. The reverse features frosty luster over remarkably pristine olive-brown surfaces.

    Certification Data
    The combined population figures for PCGS and NGC show 28 Mint State Chain cents of all varieties. This is the second finest PCGS-graded Chain cent and the only example graded MS66. PCGS has graded the Mickley-Crosby example SP67 (Known as "The Coin!"). NGC has graded one example MS66 Brown and one example MS66 Red and Brown. This is the finest graded Chain cent authenticated and graded by PCGS and NGC to receive CAC approval.

    A Distinctive Variety
    The obverse of the S-4 Chain Periods cent is unlike earlier Chain cent varieties. The hair shows a different treatment, and the periods that follow the date and LIBERTY are unprecedented among all 1793 cents. Walter Breen made the reasonable suggestion that a different engraver prepared this obverse. The periods are similar to Joseph Wright's 1792 pattern quarters, and led Breen to suggest that Wright engraved this die. Harry Salyards suggested that the engraver of this die continued to prepare the Wreath cent obverse dies. The identification of engravers of the 1793 cents and half cents remains a perplexing numismatic mystery.

    Ranked First in the Noyes Census
    There are three exceptional 1793 S-4 Chain Periods cents that rank at the top of the Bland and Noyes Condition Censuses, although their exact rank is subject to differing opinions. Noyes rates this piece as the finest known, even ahead of the Mickley-Crosby coin that some have dubbed "The Coin!" He ranks both of these examples ahead of the third-place Eliasberg coin. Noyes has personally examined this piece and the Mickley-Crosby coin, and illustrates both in his 2006 photo book, United States Large Cents 1793-1794.

    Del Bland also ranks the present offering and the Mickley-Crosby coin ahead of the Eliasberg coin, although he places the Mickley-Crosby coin first, and this example second in his Condition Census. However, Bland had not seen either coin at the time his list was published in Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of Early United States Cents 1793-1814, in 2000. His grades and rankings were apparently based on second-hand information.

    Relative Prices Realized
    The relative prices realized for the present offering, The Mickley-Crosby example, and the Eliasberg coin make for an interesting comparison of their relative qualities. The present coin first appeared at public auction in January 1879 where the coin realized $76. This was 50% more than the Mickley-Crosby example brought just 3 years earlier.

    In 1944, the present coin was sold to T. James Clarke for $850. The Mickley-Crosby coin was sold privately in 1945 for $600, according to William Sheldon's Early American Cents. And in 1946, B.Max Mehl sold the Eliasberg coin at public auction for $330.

    When the Mickley-Crosby coin was last offered for sale by private treaty in 1993, its price tag was $1.5 million. Some people today believe it may be the most valuable regular issue United States coin. The Eliasberg example was last sold by Heritage Auctions in January 2012 for $1.38 million, a record price for any United States cent at public auction.

    Legendary Provenance
    The provenance of the present offering is among the finest of any United States large cent. In January 1879, this coin was purchased at public auction by Lorin Parmelee, the Boston bean baker who assembled what is generally considered the finest U.S. coin collection of all time - finer than Garrett, Eliasberg, Norweb or any other due to the collection's vast breadth of rarities and overall spectacular condition. When the Parmelee Collection was sold in 1890, it would be the last appearance of this coin at public auction. It graced the personal collection of Philadelphia coin dealer Harlan P Smith, then spent more than three decades in the legendary collection of the enormously wealthy Chicago brewer, Virgil Brand. When Brand's estate was parceled out before World War II, it passed through the hands of two coin dealers before being sold to New York City numismatist Oscar J. Pearl, whose collection of 1793 large cents was called "undoubtedly one of the finest in existence." T.James Clarke purchased this coin from the fixed price list of Pearl's collection in 1944 and owned it for a decade before selling it to R.E. "Ted" Naftzger, the most famous large cent collector of all time. Naftzger held this coin for nearly 40 years, until he sold his collection in 1992. This coin was sold to the present owner soon thereafter and has remained off the market ever since.

    A Truly Special Opportunity
    The staff at Heritage Auctions has been privileged to view and catalog this legendary coin - the second finest PCGS graded example of the very first coinage design issued by The United States Mint. This is also the finest graded Chain Cent from either PCGS or NGC to receive CAC approval. This coin possesses an unbeatable combination of high technical grade, conditional rarity, exemplary eye appeal, legendary provenance and most importantly, unsurpassed historical importance. For all of these reasons, this is one of the most desirable and sought after regular issue United States coins. This is the first opportunity to acquire this coin at public auction since 1890. The winning bidder will add a legendary rarity to their collection and will also add their name to numismatic history.
    Ex: George W. Merritt; Édouard Frossard (1/1879), lot 79; Édouard Frossard; Lorin G. Parmelee (New York Coin & Stamp Co., 6/1890), lot 668; Harlan P. Smith; Virgil M. Brand; Brand Estate (2/7/1941); B.G. Johnson (St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co., 2/18/1943); Abe Kosoff; Oscar J. Pearl; Numismatic Gallery (1944 FPL), lot 3; T. James Clarke (10/1954); R.E. Naftzger, Jr. (2/23/1992); Eric Streiner; Jay Parrino (The Mint). (NGC ID# 223F, Variety PCGS# 35444, Base PCGS# 91341)


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    7th-12th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 35
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 17,551

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    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.
    Rasmussen Signed Limited Edition Catalog
    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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