The recent sale of the Bruce Morelan Collection saw many rarities take five- and six-figure sums, and among the numismatic trophies up for bids was a spectacular 1793 Wreath cent. Graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as an MS66RB (Red-Brown) and accompanied by a sticker from Certified Acceptance Corporation, this coin — of the Vine and Bars variety — excited many when it crossed the block as Lot 2 at Legend Rare Coin Auctions long-awaited Regency 41 sale on October 8, 2020. The coin realized a stunning $305,500.
This 1793 Wreath cent is known as a Vine and Bars cent because these are the design details that appear on the edge of the copper coin. During the early years of their minting, large cents featured edge inscriptions and details, which varied throughout the early years from 1793, the first year of large cent production, through 1795, when a reduction in thickness made the coins too thin for edge inscriptions. The 1793 Wreath Vine and Bars cent featured here is known as a Sheldon-6 die marriage and is the finest example known for this specific variety.
Collectors have long treasured these early large cents. In fact, large cents struck from 1793 through 1814 have been among the most popular numismatic collectibles for hobbyists in the United States since coin collecting really began growing in popularity throughout the nation during the mid 19th century. The 1793 Wreath reverse cents, which were only the second subtype of large cent produced following the 1793 Chain cents from earlier that year, are rare across the board. Even well-worn examples are worth thousands of dollars.
With this particular specimen, not only is it the date that makes this coin so rare, but also its condition. Graded PCGS MS66RB, it’s a stellar example of this early copper coin with rustic original color and excellent detail. There are few other specimens that even come close to this piece in terms of grade and overall eye appeal. When early large cents such as this one are offered for public sale, it’s almost a guarantee that they will bring big bucks, as true numismatic connoisseurs are cognizant of the rarity and desirability of these rare coins.
About PCGS: Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) represents the industry standard in third-party certification. Visit www.pcgs.com for more information.