In February and March of 1793, the U.S. Mint struck its first coinage, large cents with the Flowing Hair motif and a simple reverse design of a chain encircling the denomination. Surrounding this circle of links were letters spelling out “UNITED STATES OF AMERI.” Any appearance of these coins at auction is of interest to early copper collectors, as fewer than 200 are thought to exist. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is very excited to be offering an example graded AU 50 BN by PCGS as lot 5007 in Rarities Night of the August 2023 Global Showcase Auction.
Cataloged as Sheldon-1, Chain AMERI. cents were not widely collected around the time of their issuance. But now, to borrow from our cataloger’s comments, these cents “have had special place in the hearts of numismatists,” and many collectors are eager to have an example of the United States’ first coinage in their collections. Most Chain cents show considerable evidence of circulation, placing a premium on well-struck coins which did not circulate extensively.
Our cataloger describes the offered coin as “an ideally struck, nicely centered example of the scarce and popular Chain Ameri. cent, with plenty of sharp definition remaining after what must have been a very short stint in circulation. Wear is largely confined to the central obverse high point, typical of the type. Otherwise warmly toned in medium brown, blushes of light steel-olive are evident at the lower left obverse border, upper left reverse. More significantly, there is faded mint color in the protected areas within the chain motif in the center of the reverse – rare for a Sheldon-1 cent at any AU or Mint State grade level. The surfaces are hard, frosty, and predominantly smooth, with a single mentionable mark on the reverse between the words OF and AMERICA, a few smaller marks in and around the central obverse. The two shallow planchet flaws along the right border on the obverse are as made.”
View our August 2023 Global Showcase Auction at StacksBowers.com. To consign your numismatic items to this or another of our upcoming auctions, call 800-458-4646 or email Info@StacksBowers.com.