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Tom's Personal Collection
Early Dates: Liberty Cap Type (1794)

1794 S-17a Head of '93

A coin that came out of the EAC 2008 auction. I was underbidder on this coin in the auction, which was hammered down to a prominent collector of 1794 cents. About six months later he contacted me and asked if I was still interested in the coin, and I jumped on it. A decent example of this rare variety, and a neat pedigree that goes back to 1944 and includes Oscar J. Pearl, Kosoff & Kreisberg, and Dr. Charles Ruby.

Goldberg Photo
1794 S-18b Head of '93

A more than decent example of this scarce head type. I bought this in the Goldberg auction of 2/2008. It has some bumps and scrapes, but the date is nice and bold, and so is the portrait. Leaf on edge points up, making this an S-18b instead of an S-18a.

1794 S-19a Head of '93

The last of the four "heads of '93" 1794s that I needed to complete this mini-set (not counting the "a" and "b" subvarieties.) Shawn Yancey had this coin for sale in a PCGS VG8 holder, and I decided to jump on it. This is the "a" subvariety with the leaf pointing down, and is quite a bit tougher thank the "b" subvariety (R5+ vs. R4). I had to "tap" the holder to rotate the coin a bit until I could see the leaf pointing down. Chuck Heck taught me a nice mnenomic to remember how to determine the "a" and "b" subvarieties: "b" is the leaf pointing up. ("b" up, or "be up", expressing optimism.) So "a" is down, and "b" is up!

1794 S-20b Head of '93

Wow, are these tough to find in nice condition (tough to find in ANY condition!) Yep, this one is definitely not a "choice" coin by any means. As it turns out, at the time I purchased this one from a long-time EAC dealer who advertises in Coin World, there were actually THREE of these that were for sale at the time. S-20b being a Rarity-4 coin, this was highly unusual. And this was the best of the three, but barely. For those of you not familiar with the EDR (Early Date Report,) it's a list of early cent collections compiled by Red Henry. As it turns out, he also used to own this particular cent! Small world.

1794 S-21 Flat Pole

A coin I purchased off eBay from a prominent copper dealer. The first "Head of '94" variety, and dubbed the "Flat Pole" variety due to the extra wide width at the end of Liberty's pole. An arc-shaped die crack joins the cap to the left side of the B in LIBERTY and to the rim.

1794 S-22 Bent Lock

My second example of this variety, with the first one described below. A gentleman consigned some cents to me in 2012, and noted there was one coin in there he thought I would like, which was this one. He wasn't kidding! A very nice upgrade.

A common 1794 variety - noted for its "bent lock". The sixth hair lock from the bottom hooks straight down, which is diagnostic for this variety. Nice obverse with a crummy reverse, but priced right. I got this at the Biloxi show 3/2001.

1794 S-23 Shattered Obverse

A very tough variety, and one I'd looked for for a long time. A buddy of mine had a really nice one for awhile but it didn't have much of a reverse, so I passed on that one. This one came from the personal collection of Scott Barrett, who sold his early date collection in 2012. Die cracks at the cap, right of Y, and at the throat and pole give this variety its moniker. This coin has a few nicks and digs but an amazing tan color.

1794 S-24 Apple Cheeks

A common 1794, but well known for its nickname, aptly given; the cheeks are very full on this cent, which makes it easily recognizable. The central reverse suffers a bit from this high relief on the obverse however. This specimen is in an ANACS F12 holder. It has some porosity, but not enough for ANACS to net grade the coin. The photo could be better, but I'm still learning how to shoot coins through slabs.

1794 S-25 Separated Date

A scarce variety at R3. I bought this off eBay from a well-respected dealer who specializes in 1922 "no D" Lincoln cents. Sometimes known as the "Separated Date" variety, due to the "17 94" spacing of the date. A nicer '94, currently in an ANACS holder, until if and when I decide to free it from its prison.

1794 S-28 Ornate Head

Maris called this the "Ornate Head" variety, one of the most attractively executed heads of 1794. I thought this was a common variety, but CQR lists it at R2+, same rarity as a 1799 cent (but not quite as in demand.) This is a virtually flawless specimen that I couldn't really afford at the time, but nice '94's don't come around every day, and an EAC buddy gave me a deal that I simply couldn't pass up. My best '94 by far.

1794 S-29 Tailed Ribbon

A fairly nice example I purchased off eBay. I had also purchased another example off eBay at one point, but this one was just a bit nicer, so I kept this one. The "tail" on the end of the right ribbon helps to identify this variety.

1794 S-30 Double Hair Lock

This is an interesting albeit common variety. The lowest lock of hair is noticeably doubled, which is nearly a dead giveaway as to the variety. The S-31 also has this feature, but the obverse die is slightly different. It's decent for the grade, with a typically weak reverse.

1794 S-31 Double Hair Lock

Basically the same obverse as S-30, but reground. Also common like S-30 although I see more S-30's then S-31's. A nice, albeit low grade example I purchased from an EAC buddy off his fixed price list. Hard to find low grade examples without problems.

1794 S-32 Crack thru S

Here's a common variety I picked from from a prominent EAC dealer thru an ad in Coin World. It's easily attributable by the die crack thru the "S" in "STATES" which turns the "S" into what looks like a dollar sign. A decent coin for the grade.

1794 S-35 Bisecting Crack

This obverse of 1794 is paired with only one reverse. It has the most lightly cut lower lock of all of the 1794 reverses and the reverse features a single berry (instead of two) to the left of the bow, found on only two reverses. The most interesting feature of this variety is the bisecting obverse die crack, which splits ER of "LIBERTY" and goes between the 9 and 4 of the date (not seen in my example.) Another die crack stars at the rim and goes through the cap to the hair. I purchased this cent from a fellow EACer in December of 1999; this is my rarest variety to date (R5+!)

1794 S-38 Marred Field

One of the rare varieties of the year, with a large chip out of the die below the cap (hence, the "Marred Field" nickname.) Back in 2010 at the EAC convention I had looked at this coin in lot viewing and really liked it, but ended up as underbidder on it to a major copper dealer. In February of 2011, the same dealer who purchased the coin at EAC still had it, and we worked out a deal on it. A really tough variety that's not usually found that nice.

1794 S-42 Truncated Locks

I got this one from Col. Steve Ellsworth when he visited town. He brought 3000 or so large cents with him! Talk about copper heaven - this was it. I picked this coin out of a group of 50 or so 1794s. (Now I just have to worry about paying for it!) Steve said the coin may have been burnished, but I can't tell - it's definitely one of my favorite cents, based on appearance alone.

1794 S-43 Short Bust

An upgrade to the first S-43 I ever owned. ("Upgrade" is a massive understatement.) I bought this coin from a dealer at EAC 2009. I spotted it in his case, thought about it (for maybe a full 5 minutes) and then went back and purchased it. Really nice for a 1794, and this is a neat die state with a crack through 17 and through U of UNITED.

The first S-43 I purchased came from the Mississippi State Show in Biloxi, MS. The dealer I got it from also had an amazing S-26, very fine; I bought his S-43 instead because it was in my price range! Nicknamed the "Short Bust" variety, as the ending curl in the hair seems to be absent.

1794 S-44 Short Bust, Crack Through Date

An eBay purchase. A common variety, but nice and smooth, and it's hard to find smooth '94's! S-44 is a "Head of '94" variety. However, Miss Liberty's lower curl doesn't have the "hook", so this variety is sometimes mistakenly called a "Head of '95", even by the grading companies. The die crack through 17 identifies the obverse, and the reverse vertical crack between S and OF identifies the reverse.

1794 S-45 Braided Hair

Tom Reynolds had this coin for sale at EAC 2008; an EAC buddy purchased this coin from Tom, and he turned around and sold it to me in November of 2008. Sheldon refers to S-54 as the "Braided Hair" variety (not to be confused with the large cents from 1840-1857,) and Maris called it "The Plicae". (Don't ask me to pronounce that!) The obverse is made of fine, heavy braids, and on the reverse, inside the left ribbon loop, is what looks like a huge berry. It also has an arcing die crack on the reverse from the fraction through IC of AMERICA. The coin has some minor bumps and porosity, but it's one of the really tough '94s, weighing in at R5+.

1794 S-47 Short Bust

A really nice example I purchased from a major copper dealer at Summer FUN in 2012. He had had it on his fixed price list for a long time, and when I met him at the show he still had the coin, and we struck a deal on it. Short bust variety with incomplete lower lock.

1794 S-49 Short Bust

An eBay purchase, of all places. Not the place to normally find a nice '94. I recognized the reverse immediately and thought this was S-51 initially, but when I got it I realized it was S-49, one I didn't have. This is an early die state before the die crack through E of LIBERTY.

1794 S-51 Short Bust, Long Locks

A nice '94 that I found on an EAC buddy's fixed price list and came out of the Goldberg sale in May 2008. Some minor little marks and nicks, but I really like the color of this piece. Listed as "just rare" at R5-, but I'm guessing it's probably a bit more common than the R5- rating. Not owning any other 1794s between S-46 and S-54 inclusive at the time of this writing, this S-51 is kind of lonely with no other coins around it. [As of April 2016, there are a few coins near this one Sheldon-wise to keep it company!]

1794 S-55 Leaning 7, Large Berries

A fairly common variety, Rarity-2. Easily recognizable by the 7 in the date leaning markedly to the left. On this specimen, the date is worn in this area. This variety is also known for having ONE CENT punched deep into the die. Also looks like the diecutter blundered a bit punching the A in STATES - it is very high and leans left.

1794 S-56 Office Boy Reverse

A slightly scarcer variety, R3. This example is porous but decent, with all of the diagnostics easy to see. I got this at the Biloxi show 3/2001. This is definitely one of the neat '94's - known as the "Office Boy" reverse, due to the haphazard way the letters and devices were punched into the reverse die. Particulary note the spacing of "TA" in "STATES", "AM" in "AMERICA", and the "N" in "ONE" punched upside down and then corrected.

1794 S-57 Pyramidal Head

This is an upgrade to my first coin, purchased in June 2013. One of my consignors had some very nice '94s, and this was one of them, and we worked out a deal for it. Not super high grade but better surfaces than the other, and I go for surfaces over detail any time!

A coin I purchased out of the EAC auction in 2008. Dubbed the "Pyramidal Head" by Maris due to the hair locks forming a straight line. Several little marks and nicks but the surfaces are nice.

1794 S-58 Thick Hair/Wide Date

A nice coin I purchased from a major copper dealer at the FUN show in 2012. Finding nice '94s is difficult, and this coin was a bit pricey but worth it. This one has an as-struck planchet fissure under ST of STATES but no other problems to speak of. Thick hair variety with close date.

1794 S-60 Thick Hair/Close Date

I found this coin on eBay early in 2011. Not perfect by any means but not bad for a 1794, and the price was right. The thick lower curl helps to identify this variety.

1794 S-61 Thick Hair/Close Date

I purchased this coin from a Heritage auction in 2011. Interestingly enough, the last 1794 that I had purchased was S-60, the other "Thick Hair/Close Date" variety. Nice surfaces with just a small scratch on the portrait being the only defect.

1794 S-62 Trephined Head

A pretty tough variety at R4+. Comes with and without the obverse cud, but I prefer the one with the cud, as it's readily identifiable. This coin came out of the Jack Young collection of 1794 cents and is in a PCGS VG10 holder. (As far as the nickname for this variety, "Trephined Head", I have no idea what that means. I can't even Google it!)

1794 S-63 Fallen 4

Fast forward to April 2016 and the EAC convention in Charlotte, NC. I've had my eye on a very nice S-63 for awhile that Chris McCawley/Lucas Baldridge has for sale. A few months pass by, and one of my missions at the convention is to see if this coin is still available. It is - Lucas gets it out for me that Friday, and it's a fantastic coin. I decide to sleep on it, and end up purchasing it the next day - my first purchase at the convention. Great detail and medium brown. Plus it has clashmarks at the neck - something I didn't realize about the variety before. This variety could have easily been called the "Way Too High 9" instead of the "Fallen 4", which is probably more accurate but not as cool sounding. My first coin is described below.

This is definitely one of my favorites - I got it at a coin show in Fort Walton Beach, Florida early in 1997. At that time I didn't know squat about varieties, but I ended up getting a doozy. Sheldon calls this one the "Drunken Diecutter's" variety, due to the odd spacing of LIBERTY and especially the date, in which the "9" is way too high, making the "4" look low, hence "Fallen 4". The "7" has been repunched twice (once near the bust!) and the "4" has been repunched once. Not the prettiest specimen, but it does have some good obverse detail. The person who made this die may very well have been drunk, or at least had poor eyesight. I guess we'll never know, but it sure makes for an interesting coin.

1794 S-64 Missing Fraction Bar

The only Sheldon variety not to have a fraction bar! Also a rare variety (barely,) listed as R5-. This is the second S-64 I've owned; the first came from a U.S. Cents auction; this one came from a buddy of mine. Both coins have about the same detail, but this one has fewer marks and also has a bold die crack at D of UNITED. It's also a really nice light brown! The fraction is unfortunately not visible on this coin.

1794 S-65 Shielded Hair

The most common 1794 variety, and overgraded most of the time due to the hair detail. This is the "Shielded Hair" variety, which always comes with the lower left dentils on the obverse struck very high (and correspondingly weak in the upper right,) protecting the hair detail. I bought this from an EAC dealer.

1794 S-67 Head of 1795

A nice coin I purchased from Chris Victor-McCawley at EAC 2008. The coin was labeled as a Head of '95, but not attributed to Sheldon variety, but we knew it was either S-67 or S-69. Already having a S-69 I was hoping it was S-67... and it was. The wedge-shaped die clashing at the juncture of the hair and forehead I learned is a good identification mark for the variety.

1794 S-69 Head of 1795

One of the tougher heads of '95. This variety comes with the "1" in the date punched upside down, then corrected. A decent specimen I purchased from an EAC buddy.

1794 S-70 Head of 1795

The second example of this variety I've owned, and by far the better of the two. The first I purchased just starting out collecting, and besides having a readable date, that's about all you could say about it. This current example came out of the Jack Young collection of 1794 cents and is a nice upgrade. Just a nice, smooth coin, with a neat die crack bisecting TY of LIBERTY.

1794 S-71 Head of 1795

A nice, smooth example of a 1794 Head of 1795 cent. I got this coin from a consignor who had sent me coins to sell, and I ended up being the buyer. This coin originally came from Col. Steve Ellsworth.

1794 S-72 Exact Head of 1795

The very last variety of 1794 cent - this one is known as the "Exact head of 1795," because it is just like the portrait used for the 1795 cents. The lowest lock of hair does not come to a curl on this coin like on virtually all of the earlier 1794's. This coin has a small die break between the forehead and TY of LIBERTY. I got this at the EAC '99 convention.

Please send questions, comments, and suggestions to webguy@largecents.net.