Chain cent

Last updated
Flowing Hair large cent, chain reverse
United states
Value0.01 U.S. Dollar
Mass13.48 g
Diameter26–27 mm
EdgeDecorated with bars and vines
Composition100% Cu
Years of minting1793
Mint marksNone, all large cents were minted at the Philadelphia Mint
Obverse
NNC-US-1793-1C-Flowing Hair Cent (chain) (obverse).jpg
Design Liberty (Breen obverse 3 shown)
Designer Henry Voigt (supposedly)
Design date1793
Reverse
NNC-US-1793-1C-Flowing Hair Cent (chain) (reverse).jpg
DesignChain (Breen reverse B shown)
Designer Henry Voigt (supposedly)
Design date1793

The chain cent was America's first large cent and the first circulating coin officially produced by the United States Mint. [1] It was struck only during 1793. [2] [3]

Contents

It was not the first circulating coin produced by the United States, which was the Fugio cent of 1787 (also known as the Franklin cent), based on the Continental dollar. As with the Fugio cent, the Chain cent was made of copper and featured a chain symbolizing the linking together of the states of the United States.

Obverse design

The obverse design consisted of a stylized Liberty head with flowing hair. The inscription "LIBERTY" appeared above the portrait, and the date below. The design was rather sparse and empty compared to those that would come later.

Reverse design

The reverse's central design figure, for which the coin is named, is an interlocking chain with 15 links, representing the 15 American states in existence at that time. Both the words "ONE CENT" and the fraction "1/100" appear within the chain. Along the outer edge is inscribed "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA". On the first working die, the engraver failed to allow adequate room for the entire inscription, and it had to be abbreviated to "UNITED STATES OF AMERI.". These early dies were cut by hand, rather than being made from master hubs as is the practice today.

Edge

The edge of these coins is decorated with bars and vines with leaves.

Public reaction

Chain cents were struck during late February and early March 1793; records indicate that approximately 36,103 were produced. However, the public reaction to the coins was largely unfavorable. One newspaper criticized the appearance of the Liberty head, saying that it appeared to be "in a fright". And, while the reverse chain had been intended to symbolize the unity of the newly formed Union (similar iconography had been utilized on the reverse of the earlier Fugio Cent and Revolutionary War era Continental currency), many commentators instead interpreted it as representative of slavery. By March, the Mint had run out of planchets, which temporarily halted striking. During this time, a new design the Wreath cent was quickly prepared and approved.

Collecting

As a one-year only type coin and the first business strike cent, the Chain cent has always been in demand, both by collectors of large cents, as well as type collectors. [4] Struck for about two weeks from late February until early March 1793, only about 1,000 coins are known to exist today, and even coins in the lowest grades still sell for thousands of dollars. [5]

Related Research Articles

Coins of the United States dollar were first minted in 1792. New coins have been produced annually and they make up a valuable aspect of the United States currency system. Today, circulating coins exist in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00. Also minted are bullion and commemorative coins. All of these are produced by the United States Mint. The coins are then sold to Federal Reserve Banks which in turn are responsible for putting coins into circulation and withdrawing them as demanded by the country's economy.

Penny (United States coin) Unit of currency equaling one-hundredth of a United States dollar

The United States one-cent coin, often called the penny, is a unit of currency equaling one one-hundredth of a United States dollar. It has been the lowest-value physical unit of U.S. currency since the abolition of the half-cent in 1857. The first U.S. cent was produced in 1787, and the cent has been issued primarily as a copper or copper-plated coin throughout its history. Its obverse has featured the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of his birth. From 1959 to 2008, the reverse featured the Lincoln Memorial. Four different reverse designs in 2009 honored Lincoln's 200th birthday and a new, "permanent" reverse – the Union Shield – was introduced in 2010. The coin is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm) in diameter and 0.0598 inches (1.52 mm) in thickness. Its weight has varied, depending upon the composition of metals used in its production.

Dime (United States coin) United States coin with the value of ten cents

The dime, in United States usage, is a ten-cent coin, one tenth of a United States dollar, labeled formally as "one dime". The denomination was first authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all U.S. coins currently minted for circulation, being .705 inch (17.91 mm) in diameter and .053 inch (1.35 mm) in thickness. The obverse of the current dime depicts the profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the reverse boasts an olive branch, a torch, and an oak branch, from left to right respectively. As of 2011, the dime coin cost 5.65 cents to produce.

Half dollar (United States coin) United States coin worth 50 cents

The half dollar, sometimes referred to as the half for short or 50-cent piece, is a United States coin worth 50 cents, or one half of a dollar. It is the largest United States circulating coin currently produced in both size and weight, being 1.205 inches (30.61 mm) in diameter and .085 inches (2.15 mm) in thickness, and is twice the weight of the quarter. The coin's design has undergone a number of changes throughout its history. Since 1964, the half dollar depicts the profile of President John F. Kennedy on the obverse and the Seal of the President of the United States on the reverse.

Dollar coin (United States) One dollar coins issued by the United States

The dollar coin is a United States coin with a face value of one United States dollar. It is the second largest U.S. coin currently minted for circulation in terms of physical size, with a diameter of 1.043 inches (26.5 mm) and a thickness of .079 inches (2 mm), coming second to the half dollar. Dollar coins have been minted in the United States in gold, silver, and base metal versions. Dollar coins were first minted in the United States in 1794. The term silver dollar is often used for any large white metal coin issued by the United States with a face value of one dollar, whether or not it contains some of that metal. While true gold dollars are no longer minted, the Sacagawea, Presidential, and American Innovation dollars are sometimes referred to as golden dollars because of their color.

Coinage Act of 1792

The Coinage Act or the Mint Act, passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792, created the United States dollar as the country's standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States. The long title of the legislation is An act establishing a mint, and regulating the Coins of the United States. This act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.

Half dime former United States five-cent silver coin

The half dime, or half disme, was a silver coin, valued at five cents, formerly minted in the United States.

Eisenhower dollar United States dollar coin

The Eisenhower dollar was a one-dollar coin issued by the United States Mint from 1971 to 1978; it was the first coin of that denomination issued by the Mint since the Peace dollar series ended in 1935. The coin depicts President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the obverse, and a stylized image honoring the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon mission on the reverse, with both sides designed by Frank Gasparro.

Half cent (United States coin) U.S. coin

The half cent is the smallest denomination of United States coin ever minted. It was first minted in 1793 and last minted in 1857. It was minted with five different designs.

Sacagawea dollar US 1 dollar coin minted since 2000

The Sacagawea dollar is a United States dollar coin first minted in 2000, although not minted for general circulation from 2002 to 2008 and again from 2012 onward due to its general unpopularity with the public and low business demand for the coin. These coins have a copper core clad by manganese brass, giving them a distinctive golden color. The coin features an obverse by Glenna Goodacre. From 2000 to 2008, the reverse featured an eagle design by Thomas D. Rogers. Since 2009, the reverse of the Sacagawea dollar has been changed yearly, with each design in the series depicting a different aspect of Native American cultures. These coins are marketed as "Native American dollars".

Indian Head cent American one-cent coin (1859-1909)

The Indian Head cent, also known as an Indian Head penny, was a one-cent coin ($0.01) produced by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1859 to 1909. It was designed by James Barton Longacre, the Chief Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint.

Large cent Wikipedia disambiguation page

The United States large cent was a coin with a face value of 1/100 of a United States dollar. Its nominal diameter was 1​18 inch (28.57 mm). The first official mintage of the large cent was in 1793, and its production continued until 1857, when it was officially replaced by the modern-size one-cent coin.

Quarter eagle

The quarter eagle was a gold coin issued by the United States with a denomination of two hundred and fifty cents, or two dollars and fifty cents. It was given its name in the Coinage Act of 1792, as a derivation from the US ten-dollar eagle coin. Its purchasing power in 1800 would be equivalent to $71.12 in 2015 dollars.

Wreath cent

The Wreath cent was an American large cent. It was the second design type, following the Chain cent in 1793. It was produced only during that year.

The silver center cent is an American pattern coin, one of the precursors to the large cent and an early example of a bimetallic coin. Less than a dozen specimens are known to exist today, and they generally fetch substantial prices; an uncirculated silver center cent sold at auction for $414,000 in January 2002. That price was eclipsed by an example graded PCGS MS61 offered at auction in April 2012, with a price tag of more than $1 million.

A type set is a coin collection based on coin design or type. Traditional collections consist of all dates within a series such as state quarters or Lincoln cent.

Fugio cent

The Fugio cent, also known as the Franklin cent, is the first official circulation coin of United States. Consisting of 0.36 oz of copper, it was designed by Benjamin Franklin and minted only in 1787. Its design is very similar to a 1776 Continental Currency dollar coin that was produced in pattern pieces as potential Continental currency but was never circulated.

Flowing Hair coinage was issued in the United States between 1793 and 1795. The design was used for the first half dime, half dollar, dollar, and the first two large cents.

Continental Currency dollar coin Early United States coin

The Continental Currency dollar coin was the first pattern coin struck for the United States. The coins were minted in 1776 and examples were made on pewter, brass, and silver planchets.

Liberty Cap half cent First half cents produced by the United States Mint

The Liberty Cap half cent was the first half cent coin produced by the United States Mint. It was issued from 1793 until 1797.

References

  1. The United States Mint Historian's Corner, The United States Mint
  2. 1793 Chain Cents, Collectors Universe, Inc.
  3. 1793 Chain Cent Varieties, Collectors Universe, Inc.
  4. Thorne, Mike (January 2019). Collect All 17 U.S. Cent Types. Coins Magazine (Krause Publications).
  5. Spurrier, Lianna. "CoinWeek IQ: A Breakdown of Flowing Hair Large Cents". CoinWeek.com. CoinWeek, LLC. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
Preceded by
Fugio cent
United States one-cent coin
(1793)
Succeeded by
Wreath cent