US Coins

Market Analysis: That chain on the reverse stays put

Selling for $2,760 and $5,280, respectively, on June 13 were two varieties of the 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain Reverse cent, graded by PCGS as Fair/Poor Details, Graffiti and Good Details, Cleaned.

Images courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain Reverse cent is iconic for its somewhat naïve design, and thankfully, the namesake reverse chain remains discernible even in the lowest grades.

There will always be demand for the first-year issue from type collectors, and an example with the AMERI. reverse graded Fair/Poor Details, Graffiti by Professional Coin Grading Service is an “entry level” example that sold for $2,760 in Stack’s Bowers’ June 13 auction.

The date is worn smooth, but the chain is bold and the initials EH on the reverse give rise to the graffiti designation, which is used for damage that is more intentional than a mere scratch.

Somewhat nicer was one graded by PCGS as Good Details, Cleaned, of the AMERICA, without Periods reverse type. Stack’s Bowers wrote, “the date is very weak and largely obscured by wear,” while praising the bold outline of the portrait and the chain motif, noting “dominant light pink color with intermingled olive-brown patina.” It sold for $5,280.

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