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Rare 1783 Chalmers Long Worm Shilling AU58

1783 SHLNG Chalmers Shilling, Long Worm AU58 PCGS. Breen-1012. Crosby, Pl. IX 6 and figure 69. The "Long Worm" variety of Chalmers' Birds shilling is believed more rare than the "Short Worm" variety, although both are certainly difficult, and PCGS certification data (to the extent that it is useful) suggests that the "Short Worm" variety may actually be more challenging in better circulated grades.
Captain John Chalmers (1750-1817) was an Annapolis, Maryland silversmith. In 1783, he struck various silver issues, which range from rare to extremely rare. Breen (1988) speculates Chalmers was attempting to secure a coinage contract with the Continental Congress, which met in Annapolis during portions of 1783 and 1784. Another theory proposed by Breen was that Chalmers was advertising his silversmith business. He may also have been performing a community service in recoining worn-out or pie-cut Spanish-American silver pieces.
Threepence, sixpence, and shillings were issued by Chalmers. Several varieties show clasped hands within a wreath, perhaps indicating peace between the colonies following the long War of Independence. The shillings also have an even more interesting design: two birds sharing (or squabbling over) a long, thin object. Most numismatists believe this object is a worm, although Crosby regarded it as a branch. Another, larger worm is present above, separated from the birds by a hedge. These motifs are subject to speculation, but perhaps, Chalmers was suggesting that disputes between states should be settled amicably. The unusual designs for the Chalmers pieces contributes to their popularity. They are also significant as one of the few private silver issues struck in the colonies/states during the 18th century.
The present richly detailed example offers full legends and attractive mottled golden-brown, olive, rose, aqua, and cream-gray toning. A few faint marks are present near the wreath, but the general appearance is smooth and pleasing. Slightly off center toward 3 o'clock with only dentils affected. Population: 3 in 58, 0 finer (10/06). Listed on page 49 of the 2007 Guide Book.
From The Troy Wiseman Collection, Part Two. (NGC ID# 2AUT, PCGS# 595)

View all of [The Troy Wiseman Collection, Part Two ]

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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