1793 1C Wreath Cent, Vine and Bars NGC MS61 Brown. S-5, B-6, Low Rarity-4. The coin offered here is the first year for the Type Wreath Cent that traces its pedigree back to 1871. This beautiful uncirculated example was a highlight in some of the most celebrated early large cent collections, and its status remains undiminished today. Currently, the piece occupies the 9th position in Walter Breen’s Condition Census. The auction history of this specimen begins with lot 700 of the Clay Collection, cataloged by William Strobridge in December 1871. Strobridge described another high quality 1793 cent in the preceding lot, and then reported:
“Another, same date and variety; struck on a planchet with small streaks on rev. side, but a beautiful impression, bearing the fine golden color left by the impression of the dies. A rare and desirable cent.”
The present coin is easily recognized from Strobridge’s terse description, and many catalogers have echoed his glowing opinion of the piece over the years. The S-5 variety is easily identified by the large letters in LIBERTY, and this specimen is from die state II, with the rim beginning to crumble over LIB. The pleasing surfaces are a glossy brown color, with delightful hints of red still evident on the obverse. A few minor abrasions and planchet voids can be detected on close inspection, none of which affect the grade.
Early Large Cents in high grade have been quite a price phenomenon over the past few years and have bucked the overall trend. While the demand has not been able to keep up with many of the more commonly encountered examples, and the supply of these coins is fairly consistent, rarer coins like this are being picked up at a frenetic rate by savvy, educated buyers.
Provenance: Dr. Charles Clay Collection (William Strobridge, 12/1871), lot 700, realized $25; W. Elliot Woodward; Lorin G. Parmelee; Parmelee/Seavey Collection (Strobridge, 6/1873), lot 130, realized $26; William Festus Morgan; Sale Number 287 (Morgenthau, 6/1932), lot 7, realized $47; unknown intermediaries; Wayte Raymond; Sale Number 384 (Morgenthau, 12/1937), lot 335, realized $205; Frank Hussey; 54th Sale (New Netherlands, 4/1960), lot 1337, realized $490; Corrado Romano, unknown intermediaries; ANA Convention Auction (Stack’s, 8/1976), lot 221, realized $2,200; Mike Follett Rare Coin Co.; Manfra, Tordella & Brookes; Medio and Gomez Collections (American Numismatic Rarities, 6/2004), lot 4029, realized $31,050. Acquired by AU Capital (Heritage, December 2010, realized $43,125).