Jim Neiswinter submitted this announcement of his new book on the 1793 S-15 Large Cent. Congratulations! The book is 118 pages and was edited by David Yoon. It will be released May 2, 2013 at the Early American Coppers convention in Columbus, OH. Look for ordering details in the upcoming issue of the EAC's club publication, Penny Wise.
The Story of the 1793 Sheldon 15
This is a rather specialized book. It is
about just one of the more than 300
known varieties of early United States
cents, which were coined between 1793
and 1814. It is the second-rarest “collectible”
variety in the series, with only
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.
I acquired my S15 from Kagin’s sale of
the Philip Van Cleave collection in 1986.
This cent was the discovery coin for the
variety, discovered by Sylvester S. Crosby
around 1868. 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
Both the obverse and
the reverse of my 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.
My motivation for this book began
with the pedigree information that was
written in the description of lot 5017 in
the Kagin catalogue. Most of it came
from Dorothy Paschal, a previous owner
and “very good friend” of Dr. Sheldon. I
found that the majority of this information
This got me started on
trying to find out about the true provenance
of this cent. It then escalated into
finding the auction appearances of all
S15’s. I started collecting every catalogue
I could find that had an S15. The Dan
Holmes sale in 2009 was the twenty-ninth
appearance of this variety since its
first in 1880.
I think I have written the type of
book that I have always wanted to read.
It includes the history, folklore, and stories
on this rare variety of 1793 cent, and
just as Crosby did in 1897, I am publishing
it in an edition of 200 copies
(However, unlike Crosby's book, it will cost more than $2.00).
I'm looking forward to reading Jim's book. I love one-coin books! You can't get more specialized than that. And it sounds like there is plenty to interest numismatic bibliophiles as well as collectors.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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