Woman Unearths Rare Coin in Her Garden

It’s been said over and over again, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” but one Mifflin County woman found that saving a penny was worth a whole lot more than just one cent.

Cheryl Corbin, a single mother from Burnham, was planting flowers in her garden near the end of June when she uncovered a rare find, a 1793 chain cent.

According to coinresource.com, there were 36,103 chain cents minted in 1793 in just twelve days. The coins were made of 100 percent copper and featured a picture of Lady Liberty with her hair flowing freely on the front. On the back of the coin there was a chain-linked circle consisting of 15 links, which represented the 15 states in the union at the time the coin was minted. The chain-linked circle on the reverse of the coin is why it is termed the “chain cent.”

According to the Web site, the coin wasn’t very popular among the public. It says that people associated the chain links with the chains of slavery and many critics observed that Lady Liberty had a look of “madness” or “savagery.” Also, during the late 18th century, respectable women had neatly coifed hair, not the messy, free-flowing mane Lady Liberty dons on the front of the coin.

The chain cent was minted in two versions. One version says “United States of Ameri.” on the reverse side of the coin and the other says, “United States of America.” The first version, with the abbreviated “America,” is considered to be more valuable because it is believed to have been minted first.

David Wilson, owner of 4 Star Coins and Jewelry in Burnham, said that there have been several thousand chain cents found in the country and he personally has handled three.

“I’m guessing of course, but in the past 18 years we have probably heard of 250 to 300 coin finds in this area where the coins were dated before 1900. Of all the coins we have heard about and seen, the 1793 chain cent is the most unusual and, without question, the most rare,” Wilson said.

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