Composition and Specifications

1793 Chain Cent

The Flowing Hair Cents were struck on copper planchets which came from various sources. The planchets were often of inferior quality, but they were the best available to the Mint at this time. In uncirculated condition, the cents weigh 13.48 grams (208 grains) and have a diameter that varies between 26 and 27 millimeters, due to the various sources used for planchets. The edge shows a somewhat unusual design, with raised bars and vines. One variety for the Wreath Cent carries a lettered edge reading “ONE HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR.”

Production quality for both the Chain Cent and Wreath Cents varies. This was due to the less-than-ideal machinery available and the inexperience of most Mint’s personnel. Striking quality also varies from coin to coin, although some varieties are better struck than others. As a general rule, the Wreath Cents were better struck than the earlier produced Chain Cents.