Just a few weeks ago, the Early Copper community was jolted by the news that two of our superstar collectors plan to team up and offer coins from their collections for sale in early 2019.
Jim Neiswinter, a native of New York and a member of EAC since 1981 has pursued the CENTS OF 1793 since purchasing his first one in 1983. That first coin was a 1793 Wreath cent (a variety called Sheldon-11a). It was not until Feb. of 1986 that Jim acquired the 1793 cent that ultimately led to our meeting. On Feb. 1, 1986 Kagins Numismatic Auctions sold the Phillip Van Cleave collection. It was, at the time, the first complete Large Cent collection (by Sheldon numbers) sold at public auction. LOT 5017 was the famous (and rare) 1793 Sheldon-15 Liberty Cap large cent, and Jim was the winning bidder. Sheldon called the S-15 the "The aristocrat among the Liberty Cap cents, and therefore an aristocrat of aristocrats among the Large Cents". He called it thus due to the astonishing rarity of this coin. At the time Sheldon wrote Penny Whimsy (1958) there were just 5 examples of S-15 known. Today the census has expanded to 13 known. Jim's coin is the 7th finest (with the #1 coin permanently impounded in the ANS museum). This acquisition motivated Jim to do extensive research on S-15, and publish a wonderful book called "The Aristocrat" in 2013. Inexplicably, I waited until 2017 to visit Jim at his table at the EAC convention in Philadelphia to introduce myself, and obtain a copy of The Aristocrat (along with the author's autograph). This book has become one of the "keys" to my numismatic library. I now count Jim as one of my EAC friends. Jim ultimately obtained all of the Sheldon varieties for 1793 (16 specific die parings, and 3 distinct edge variations of Sheldon-11, called S-11a, 11b, and 11c).
Dan Trollan is a business man from Durango, Colorado, who happens to love Large Cents. He joined EAC in 1989 (just a few years before I joined in 1992). By the time I met Dan, which I think was at the 2001 EAC convention in Fredericksburg, VA, he was deeply involved with the CENTS of 1794. The two things that struck me most vividly about our first encounter was how doggone approachable Dan was, and how bushy his mustache was! Dan is a prominent member of an EAC sub-group known as "The BOYZ of 94". Dan went on to assemble a complete Sheldon set of 1794 cents, comprising not just the 58 collectible Sheldon-number varieties, but also the 11 Non-collectible (NC) varieties. Dan is just the third person to achieve this level of completeness for 94's!
The sale of the coins from these two esteemed members of EAC is scheduled for late Jan. 2019 in Los Angeles. Goldbergs, in collaboration with M&G Auctions are expected to conduct the copper auction on Jan. 27,2019. The occasion leaves me with some strong and conflicting feelings. On the one hand, it is going to be a very important auction, attracting bidders from all across the country, and promising many bidding highlights. On the other hand, it feels as if two of my "contemporaries" in the world of copper are preparing to "pass the torch" to a new generation of copper enthusiasts. This is certainly appropriate and timely. The economy seems strong, and the coin market has never been better poised to absorb coins of such quality and significance. And yet, it is hard to avoid the sense, that in some way an era is passing. However, I can look back to the Walter Husak sale in 2008. That auction produced at least as much "electricity" as any other copper sale I have attended. And, Walter remains very active in EAC. Likewise, Chuck Heck sold his wonderful collection of 1794 Cents in Feb. 2017, and he remains prominent in EAC affairs. I hope that the same can be said for these two fine gentlemen.