19 May 2023
The sale of the Sydney F Martin Collection, held during Stack’s Bowers spring auction series in March, included a supremely important Confederation-era coin – a 1783 John Chalmers shilling, which sold for $144,000 (lot 1177).
One of the most important of all early American coins, this example was described as the finest of the four and half known. It was struck in 1783 when Annapolis was temporarily the national capital, and the Founding Fathers were meeting nearby to ratify the Treaty of Paris.
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The perfectly centred reverse, featuring the hand-engraved ringed border, is the only example with an abundant portion of the central denomination legend of ‘Equal to One Shi’ visible.
Much of the centre of the obverse is lost, but the peripheries included engraver Thomas Sparrow’s hallmark handshake.
The Chalmers Rings Shilling stands out among early American coins for several reasons, including its rarity, denomination and being the very earliest appearance of the famous linked-rings motif on an American coin.
SOLD FOR £114,960