In 1793, Henry Voigt, a skilled watchmaker, was commissioned by Mint Director David Rittenhouse to design America's first large cent. His design, the Chain Cent, was the first circulating coin officially produced in the United States. It featured Miss Liberty with flowing hair on the obverse and a circular chain with 15 interconnected links on the reverse.
The U.S. Mint was born when Congresspassed the Coin Act of 1792. One year later, the first Mint facility in Philadelphia began producing its first coin: the Flowing Hair "Chain cent. To symbolize freedom, the obverse of this copper-based one-cent coin featured the feminine Liberty with flowing, unbound hair. On the reverse was a circle of 13 linked rings that were meant to represent the original 13 colonies. Unfortunately, most people saw it as a symbol of slavery and not the strength of unity as the designers intended.
The original "Chain Cent reverse was minted only during the month of March 1793. Public complaints forcedMint officials to change the reverse design to a wreath. On January 4, 2012, one of these historic coins sold at auction for an astounding $1,380,000!
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