US Coins

$1.38 million 1793 chain cent draws international

An extraordinary 1793 S-4 Chain Cent, MS65 Brown PCGS – a coin whose origins can be traced back to the very earliest days of America's first mint – brought $1.38 million, and a crush of national and international media attention, as one of the top two lots in Heritage’s $55.9 million Jan. 4-8 Orlando, FL U.S. Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature® Auction, part of a combined $64+ million FUN result in both US Coins and Currency. All prices include 15% Buyer's Premium.


This amazing 1793 Chain cent, the Cleneay-Atwater-Eliasberg Specimen and the plate coin in Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of Early United States Cents 1793-1814, is a sensational coin in every sense, with the whole package: history, rarity and beauty. Top collectors obviously realized that and went after it accordingly. It's now the centerpiece of a very advanced collection.


More than 7,000 bidders vied for the 9,420 coins on the block in the U.S. Coin auction. The US Currency section realized approximately $8.4 million, and World Coins brought in another $9.1 million at the New York International Convention along with an additional $1.6 million in an Internet-only event following FUN, lifting Heritage's New Year's Week's total to nearly $75 million.


While the 1793 Chain Cent garnered the majority of the post-auction attention, an 1829 BD-1 Large Date Half Eagle, PR64 PCGS Secure CAC, from the Harvey B. Jacobsen Collection, went relatively quietly about its business in becoming the second million dollar coin of the auction, equaling the $1.38 million total of the other coin of that distinction. 


This important 1829 Large Date $5 is known as The Garrett Specimen and is the only certified proof of its type. It would be important in any event, but this distinction as the only proof, which both PCGS and CAC agree upon, confer even great importance on it.


Platinum Night highlights continued with a legendary 1828/7 $5 MS64 NGC CAC, Ex: Byron Reed/Suros, the finest of five or six examples known, drew spirited bidding on its way to a $632,500 final price realized and a 1920-S $20 MS66 PCGS Secure CAC, a premium gem 1920-S Saint Gaudens of extraordinary rarity and quality, and tied for finest certified, which brought $575,000.


Dr. Steven Duckor's 52-piece $20 Saint-Gaudens collection realized $5.68 million, an average of nearly $110,000 per coin, with 33 of them setting or tying price records for date/grade.


Heritage’s next Signature Auction of US coins is just around the corner, as cataloging winds down for the February 2-5 Long Beach auction. Previews of this are available now at, with bidding expected to open this week.

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