Despite the low mintage and heavy circulation of these pieces it appears that some were saved, as a couple of high quality pieces exist. As can be expected, most of these have toned to various shades of brown, although an extremely limited number of chain cents still show a limited amount of red coloration. For a coin of this age, over 200 years, this certainly is nothing short of a miracle!
PCGS has graded a single coin as a specimen striking, grading SP65. Struck from the earliest known die state, on a pristine planchet, with a superb strike, there is absolute no doubt that this particular coin is something special. As for the regular mint state grades, the 1793 chain cent is an absolute rarity. PCGS and NGC both have graded only 1 or 2 examples each in the mint state grades 60 to 67. While both grading services differentiate the AMERICA and AMERI. varieties both are extremely difficult to acquire in high grades. Generally speaking Sheldon-1, the AMERI. variety, is less often encountered in high grade. This is certainly because of the lower mintage of this variety (only a single die pair, as mentioned above).
Because of the demand for this issue by both large cent collectors as well as type set collectors prices are high. Any chain cent in AU or MS easily sells for six-figure sums. In January 2012, an example graded PCGS MS65BN sold for $1,380,000 at auction. XF graded examples sell for approximately $40,000, depending on the variety and the overall eye-appeal of the coin. Prices gradually go down in the lower grades but as an example a PCGS F-15 usually sells for about $20,000, give or take. Even barely recognizable examples with porous and corroded surfaces usually sell for at least $2,000. If such a coin is graded without problems by PCGS or NGC prices go further up from there.
The ownership of a genuine chain cent has been prized by both beginning and advanced numismatists over the last century. Regardless of its general availability a genuine Chain Cent is a true treasure for the serious numismatist in all grades. With early copper in problem-free PCGS and NGC holder increasing more and more in popularity prices have gone up as well. While some people try to collect all of the four “collectable” varieties and sometimes even try to include the Sheldon NC-1, this is an extremely difficult task which easily can take a number of years.