1793 S-15, B-22 Cent, VG10
1793 1C Liberty Cap VG10 NGC. S-15, B-22, High R.6. Our EAC
Grade VG-7. Ex: Mervis Collection. The sharpness is five points
finer than our EAC grade with delicate to coarse hairline scratches
on Liberty's portrait and elsewhere on the obverse. The mahogany,
chestnut, and blue-steel surfaces show old corrosion with a few
lamination defects on the reverse. The date is bold with a small
obverse rim bruise at 5 o'clock.
Fifth Finest Known
Breen Die State I. All known examples are in the same die state, although this piece is a later die stage with advanced reverse swelling.
Commentary. Although this variety was discovered before 1869 when it appeared on the Levick plate, few have been discovered since then. Only recently, the S-15 fell out of the lofty Rarity-7 rating, as a 13th example was discovered in the summer of 2013.
A remarkably well-researched and comprehensive history of the Sheldon-15 cent was compiled by Jim Neiswinter. The Aristocrat: the Story of the 1793 Sheldon 15, was published by the author in the Spring of 2013. It is a remarkable study, one of few book-length projects that focuses on a single pair of dies.
Regarding this specimen, Neiswinter writes:
"Charles Williams was the Cincinnati collector that Dr. Sheldon wrote about in Early American Cents in 1949. At that time, Sheldon believed this cent and the French cent were two different coins. By 1958, Sheldon had realized his mistake, and he did not mention the Cincinnati collector's S15 in Penny Whimsy."
Market Notes. Bland identifies this piece as the fourth finest known, while Noyes grades it Good 6 and sixth finest known. Neiswinter lists it as the fifth finest known example. The present offering is the 30th auction appearance of any example of the 1793 S-15 cent, and the sixth appearance of the present specimen. A period of several years usually goes by between offerings.
Provenance. W.B. Guy (Henry Chapman, 11/1911), lot 350; Dr. George P. French (B. Max Mehl, 1929 FPL), lot 17; Charles M. Williams (privately, via Abe Kosoff); Floyd T. Starr (Stack's, 6/1984), lot 23; Jack Robinson (Superior, 1/1989), lot 20; Dan Holmes (Goldberg Coins, 9/2009), lot 26.
From The Adam Mervis Large Cent Collection. (NGC ID# 223L, Variety PCGS# 35495, Base PCGS# 1359)
Weight: 13.48 grams
Metal: 100% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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