1783 John Chalmers Shilling. W-1785. Short Worm. EF-40 (PCGS). CAC.
Impressive EF 1783 Chalmers Shilling
58.9 grains. A pleasing steel-gray specimen of this important early American issue from J. Chalmers at Annapolis, Maryland. The devices are fairly crisp for the grade, and remarkably so for an example of this very challenging type, especially so on the "bird" side, while the central clasped-hands design on the opposite side shows substantial detail. The present piece, ex: Richard Picker, is undeniably choice for the grade and represents an important opportunity for an advanced collector of early American coinage -- many of the specimens known today are more well-worn than the present coin. Definitely worthy of a premium bid.
Numismatic Reflections by Q. David Bowers
I remember Dick Richard Picker very well. He entered professional numismatics about 1955, a couple years after I did, but as an adult he could devote full time, whereas I was still in high school. Dick was a perfectionist, a careful buyer and seller and with an eye toward scholarship. He was meticulous in his attributions. He could never figure out grading to everyone's satisfaction, so was unique in the dealer community at the time by not grading his coins at all! If someone asked what the grade was he might say, “that is a $500 coin." Of course, he never became involved in arguments.
Dick was very fair in his pricing, and if a coin was priced at $500 the buyer could be sure that it was solidly worth that, perhaps even a bit more. This endeared him to a fine clientele. Another reflection of how things changed was an event I remember from an auction sale in the mid 1950s. At the time Dick was in the back of the room talking with someone on the telephone and bidding. This caused quite a protest from others in attendance who felt that as they had spent time and money to travel to New York it was unfair for someone to be able to bid without being there in person. Of course, this seems so remote and improbable today! That situation soon changed and John J. Ford, Jr. for one, would tell consignors in the late 1950s that New Netherlands Coin Company had a nice group of "telebidders," as he called them. Today, the situation is completely different, with the vast majority of bids coming in over the Internet (unheard of in the 1950s) and many by telephone. These are essential to the today's auction business.
Pedigree: From our (Stack's) sale of the Richard Picker Collection of Colonial and Early American Coins, October 1984, lot 109.