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Large Cents – 1793 Chain Cent – Ameri. Reverse


Considered the first Chain cent produced, and struck between February 27th and March 12th, 1793, the first coinage of the fledgling United States Mint after the facility was ready for operations.

Sheldon-1 The abbreviated legend on the reverse almost certainly represents a layout problem that resulted from the engraver’s inexperience. Presumably, the engraver laid out AMERICA last, and realized that the legend would appear unbalanced unless the nation’s name was abbreviated.

Photos used with permission and courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

In his Encyclopedia of United States Large Cents, Walter Breen commented upon the belief of some who suggested that the abbreviated legend was “deliberate symbolism, after the style of the Masonic Unfinished Pyramid on the reverse of the Great Seal.”

The unique reverse legend identifies this variety as the first Cent issue struck at the first Philadelphia Mint. AMERICA is spelled out in full on the only other known Chain Cent reverse die, used to strike Sheldon-2, 3, 4, and NC-1.


Designer: attributed to Henry Voight
Mintage: Estimated between 5-10,000
Denomintion: One cent
Diameter: ±27 millimeters
Metal content: Copper – 100%
Weight: ±208 grains (±13.5 grams)

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