Early American Cents by William Sheldon on Amazon for $30 plus shipping. I immediately bought it for the historical significance of the book, and was not disappointed when it arrived. The front cover of the book. Early American Cents was published in 1949 and studies in depth the die marriages of large cents dated 1793-1814. I do not collect early large cents, but I was interested in this book because it was the first publication that coupled numerical grades with the adjectival grades that had been in use for many years. The numbers were initially intended to be predictors of an early large cent’s value. Sheldon’s logic was that if a coin was perfect (Mint State-70), it would be worth 70 times what it would be worth if it was worn smooth (Basal State-1). Sheldon intended for each large cent to be given a value that was dependent on its grade and basal value. This linear pricing scale fell apart rather quickly as higher grade coins ended up outpacing Sheldon’s model. The numerical grades remained however. Part of Sheldon's pricing scale (from BS-1 through AU-50). This book also established the Sheldon numbering system for large cents. Early American Cents describes 327 distinct die marriages. However, 32 of these marriages were deemed by Sheldon to be too rare to be encountered and they were put on the Non-Collectible (NC) list. The other 295 die marriages had at least three examples known to exist outside of museums and were numbered S-1 (1793 Chain AMERI.) through S-295 (1814 Plain 4). I greatly enjoyed reading through Early American Cents. The first 50 or so pages cover background information regarding early large cents. Sheldon reminisces about his experiences with the coins in a way that captivates the reader. The attributions are very detailed, and 51 collotype plates of die marriages are present in the back of the book. Obviously new NC varieties have been discovered since 1949, so these are absent from the book. While I don’t collect large cents, it does appear to be a solid attribution book, though later editions (titled Penny Whimsy) may be more complete. Overall, I am very glad I came across the listing for this book. I highly recommend it for its historical significance to numismatics and for its die marriage attributions. Sheldon reminiscing about large cents. An example of the collotype plates. I do have a question for people who have been in numismatics for a while. How long did it take for the numerical grades to be adopted by the rest of the coin collecting community? I can’t imagine that it was an overnight change, especially since Sheldon intended for them to be exclusive to early large cents.