Bowers Galleries is pleased to offer a handsome 1793 Chain AMERICA cent in our
upcoming May 25 Rarities Auction held in conjunction with Sotheby’s. Although
the rich cappuccino surfaces are slightly granular under magnification, they
remain overall attractive and glossy to the naked eye. Unmarred by even a
single noteworthy abrasion or planchet inconsistency, the quality of this cent
is much nicer than usually encountered at this level of preservation. The
design elements are sharp with particularly acute definition exhibited by the reverse
motif. For enthusiasts of early American copper and exceptional U.S. type coins,
the present offering is an important opportunity.
issues conjure the optimistic sentiments of our nation's developmental years as
much as the Chain cents of 1793. Henry Voigt's Chain cents represent newly won
sovereignty and are a physical manifestation of the grassroots struggle toward
freedom. Borne out of practicality and necessity, the cents were the first
regular issue coin struck by the U.S. Mint (excluding the patterns of 1792 that
were neither for circulation nor struck inside the Mint building). These pieces
were intended to displace the cacophony of copper coins that had sustained the
economy throughout the colonial period, including issues from New Jersey,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and even Ben Franklin's Fugio cent that served
as currency before a federal monetary system was established.
now considered very appealing by modern numismatists, the 1793 Chain cent was controversial
to many contemporary critics. The chained circle on the reverse, employed to
represent strength and unity, was often interpreted as a symbol of slavery and
imprisonment. Similarly, Liberty's portrait on the obverse was considered to be
unattractive, even frightening by some, loosely foreshadowing some of the sentiments
that would be expressed about the Flowing Hair motif on the dollars and half
dollars of the following year.
of both practicality and aesthetics, just over 36,000 Chain cents were struck
before the Wreath Reverse design type was introduced. Just a small fraction of
this initial mintage has survived for today's collector's to enjoy, and an even
smaller fraction of those remain without consequential blemishes and signs of mistreatment,
stressing the desirability of this attractive, problem-free example.
important rarity will be offered alongside other treasures in our May 2016
Rarities Auction, held in conjunction with our offering of the D. Brent Pogue
Collection, Part IV. Both sales will be available to view online at
StacksBowers.com. To consign your rarities to one of our upcoming sales, please
contact our offices today at 1-800-458-4646 to speak with a Consignment
Director and see what Stack's Bowers Galleries can do for you.