The 1793 Wreath cent replaced the Chain cent, which caused considerable controversy. The offending chain design, which had left Ms. “liberty in chains” was replaced by a wreath on the reverse. On the obverse Ms. Liberty still had a wild, wind-blown appearance, but the relief was higher which improved the coin’s durability while in circulation. Despite the design change, the wild looking Ms. Liberty still offended some critics which resulted in another design change before the end of the year.
Most of the Wreath cents had the vines and bars edge device that had appeared on the Chain cents. At the end of the series the edge was changed to read, “ONE HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR.” This lettering was placed on the edge by a casting machine. Two minor varieties of these lettered edge Wreath cents are known. The first pieces, which are known to large cent die variety collectors as Sheldon 11-b, have two leaves at the end of the inscription. This coin, which is a Sheldon 11-c, has one leaf.
This large cent was made from impure copper as evidenced by the two tones of metal on the obverse. In these early days copper was recovered from many sources, and many times it was less than pure. This coin reflects that early mint problem.
When this coin is placed beside the 1793 half cent, which was minted at about the same time, the die work is virtually identical. It is obvious that the dies for these two coins were fashioned by the same hand, perhaps Henry Voigt or even Joseph Wright.