Boldly Struck 1793 Chain AMERICA
1793 Chain 1C AMERICA XF40 PCGS Secure. S-3, B-4, Low R.3.
Before the establishment of the U.S. Mint, the coins that
circulated in the United States were a mind-boggling array of
metals, designs, denominations, and currencies of various states
Large Cent, S-3, XF40
The circulating coinage was definitely E PLURIBUS rather than UNUM. That would come later.
Among the more frequently seen copper coins were the various pieces from the Colonies--New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Virginia chief among them. Those pieces circulated along with the Fugio or Franklin cents, the first U.S. federal coinage, although made on a contract basis. Alongside the U.S.-based coins were the Spanish colonial coinages, the silver pillar dollar and its fractional equivalents most prominent. Other national coinages included real and counterfeit British copper coinage, French silver, the North American tokens and Bar coppers, Kentucky tokens (Conder tokens made in England), and the Washington pieces.
Seen less often but still regularly were Dutch coins, Irish and Portuguese currency. Will Nipper writes about the coinage circulating in the United States in the 1780s in In Yankee Doodle's Pocket:
"With English, Irish, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, American and other coins all in circulation, the ability to convert readily from one system to another was an absolute necessity. To ease conversions, colonial governments, almanac publishers and others frequently printed equivalence tables. These sheets were indispensable to merchants because they listed commonly encountered denominations with their respective values in pounds, shillings and pence. In addition to sterling money conversions, the tables usually listed local money equivalents. Early tables even listed various commodities and trade goods against more proper currencies."
The establishment of the U.S. Mint, of course, was only a beginning toward solving the problem. The Mint was burdened initially by the requirement for excessive surety bonds for the chief coiner and assayer. It was further hampered by the law specifying that the Mint would bear the expense of converting raw metal into coins (seigniorage), and by the lack of a bullion fund to enable gold and silver coinage in the absence of deposits from private citizens.
The Sheldon-3 is by far the most available of the Chain cents, the first coin type struck within the Philadelphia Mint walls in 1793. This XF example is nicely brought up, with better-than-average definition on the hair detail. The Chain is strong, of course, as always on this type. The surfaces are clean overall, with even, subdued reddish-brown color and little red. The only mentionable surface defects are planchet crumbling between the 1 and 7 of the date and a thin diagonal mark to the right of the last A in AMERICA. MRB VF30.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 223F, PCGS# 1341)
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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.
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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