When coin collecting took off in this country in 1857, the cents of 1793 were considered the most important of the entire series. This particular variety was designated “Sheldon 15” by Dr. William Sheldon in his classic work Early American Cents in 1949. In his 1958 revision of this work, Penny Whimsy, he referred to this variety as “The Aristocrat” because of its rarity and importance.
The author acquired his S15 from Kagin’s sale of the Philip Van Cleave collection in 1986. Discovered by Sylvester S. Crosby around 1868, this particular cent was the discovery coin for the variety. Crosby, famous for his epic work on colonial coins, The Early Coins of America, published in 1873, also had a significant interest in the cents of 1793. He wrote the descriptions of the varieties of the 1793 cents that were photographed for Joseph N. T. Levick’s plate of 1793 cents that was published in the April 1869 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics.
Both the obverse and the reverse of the author's S15 are pictured on Levick’s plate. In 1897 Crosby published a monograph on the topic, The United States Coinage of 1793—Cents and Half Cents. This book is so complete that only one new variety of 1793 has been discovered since its publication (and this only occurred eighty years later).
The author's motivation for this book began with the pedigree information that was written in the description of lot 5017 in the Kagin's catalog. Most of it came from Dorothy Paschal, a previous owner and “very good friend” of Dr. Sheldon. The author found that the majority of this information was incorrect which started him down the path of trying to find out the true provenance of his cent. It then escalated into finding the auction appearances of all S15’s. He started collecting every catalog he could find that had an S15 cent. The Dan Holmes sale in 2009 was the twenty-ninth appearance of this variety since its first in 1880.
This book includes the history, the folklore, and stories on this rare variety of 1793 cent, and just as Crosby did in 1897, he published it in an edition of just 200 copies. This one is autographed by the author.
Publication Date: 2013
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