Important AU53 1793 Chain Cent, Periods, S-41793 Chain 1C Periods AU53 NGC. S-4, B-5, R.3. Sheldon-4 is the sole die marriage with periods after LIBERTY and the date. The reason for this may have been a different engraver than the initial Chain cent varieties. Liberty has a smaller nose and a youthful appearance. In his posthumous early cent Encyclopedia published in 2000, Walter Breen hypothesizes that "perhaps this was a sample die by Joseph Wright leading to the engravership." Breen notes that the Judd-12 1792 quarter engraved by Wright has a period after LIBERTY. He then backtracks, adding "if Wright did this, why is there no record of his part-time employment before appointment as engraver?"
While the actual die engraver is unknown, we can state that the present coin is an example of Breen Die State I, without the obverse rim crack and die break at 7:30 seen on later strikes, which appear to comprise the majority of survivors.
Most Chain cents are heavily worn, often to the extent that 1793 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA cannot be read, even under a strong light, and all that remains of the portrait is a faint outline. But this important Chain coin has minimal wear, limited to the high points of the chain links and the hair behind Liberty's ear. The walnut-brown surfaces lack spots, abrasions, or planchet deficiencies. A tiny edge bump at 3:30 is the best identifier that be can found to track any future auction appearances. Chain cents are the initial type struck by the fledgling U.S. Mint, and high-grade examples are greatly outnumbered by those seeking quality examples. MRB VF35.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 223F, PCGS# 91341)
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