1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent

This coin is noted for having 94 very tiny five-pointed stars located between the dentils (toothlike devices encircling the rim of some coins) on the reverse. The discovery of the stars is credited to Henry Chapman in 1877. Yes, it took 83 years before anyone noticed the stars!

Despite extensive research, numismatists have never determined the purpose for their existence, nor exactly how the stars got there. Several theories have been proposed.

One explanation put forth in 1880 is that the stars were placed on pattern coinage planchets from 1792 that never got used. These were pulled from storage and overstruck with the 1794 cent dies.

Another plausible possibility is that the stars were put there as part of an anti-counterfeiting test that never amounted to much.

One thing nearly everyone has agreed upon is the stars were not intended as an integral feature of the 1794 cent reverse design. There are 94 stars but only 83 dentils. To appear properly balanced, the number of stars and dentils should match. This has led researchers to conclude the stars were originally created for some other reason, yet ended up on a few 1794 cents.

Perhaps someday we will uncover long lost government archives detailing what the early US Mint had in mind with these tiny stars. Until then, the subject remains a subject of active investigation.





1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent

1794 Starred Reverse Large Cent photo
Coin Photos courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries






1794 Starred Reverse Liberty Cap Large Cent Price Trends Chart

1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent (G-4 Condition)

The blue line illustrates the percent change in price of the 1794 Starred Reverse Liberty Cap Large Cent in G-4 condtion, starting in the year 2000, with a baseline index of 100. The red line shows the general direction of the rare US coin market since 2000, as estimated by the Rare Coin Values Index. The 1794 Starred Reverse Liberty Cap Large Cent ranks as an important key date in US numismatics to be sure, though it lags the overall Index considerably. This artifact from the early United States Mint is but one of 87 coins factored in the Index, and is updated monthly.


 

Members of the Rare Coin Values Index
Date Coin Type Grade Est. Retail Value Apr 2017
1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent G-4 3750
1802 2/0 Rev 1802 Draped Bust Half Cent G-4 1000
1793 Chain AMERI. Flowing Hair Large Cent G-4 10000
1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent G-4 35000
1799 Draped Bust Large Cent G-4 4500
1856 Flying Eagle Cent G-4 6500
1877 Indian Head Cent G-4 600
1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent G-4 600
1914-D Lincoln Cent G-4 170
1922-D (No D) Lincoln Cent G-4 550
1864 Small Motto Two Cent F-12 400
1865 Three Cent Silver PF-65 1750
1884 Three Cent Nickel F-12 650
1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime G-4 1400
1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dime G-4 1500
1800 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Half Dime G-4 1100
1865 Seated Liberty Half Dime G-4 300
1879 Shield Nickel VG-8 550
1885 Liberty Nickel VG-8 675
1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickel G-4 325
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel G-4 875
1937-D 3 Legs Buffalo Nickel G-4 475
1796 Draped Bust Dime G-4 2750
1822 Capped Bust Dime G-4 2000
1871-CC Seated Liberty Dime G-4 3250
1895-O Barber Dime G-4 375
1916-D Mercury Dime VG-8 1400
1942/1-D Mercury Dime VG-8 425
1875-CC Twenty Cent G-4 350
1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter G-4 12500
1804 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Quarter G-4 4000
1823 Capped Bust Quarter G-4 40000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Quarter G-4 10000
1896-S Barber Quarter G-4 725
1901-S Barber Quarter G-4 4750
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 2900
1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 1150
1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 300
1932-D Washington Quarter F-12 130
1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar G-4 6000
1796 16 Stars Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar G-4 40000
1815/12 Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1750
1836 Reed Edge Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Half Dollar G-4 900
1892-O Barber Half Dollar G-4 327
1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 375
1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 75
1953-S Franklin Half Dollar MS-65 FBL 20000
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar G-4 65000
1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1750
1801 Draped Bust Large Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1000
1836 Gobrecht Dollar, Name on Base, Circ. Issue XF-40 12500
1873-CC Seated Liberty Dollar G-4 7500
1879 Trade Dollar PF-65 8500
1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 800
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 4000
1895 Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 (PF Only) 35000
1928 Peace Dollar F-12 275
1849-C Cl. Wreath Type One Gold Dollar VF-20 1300
1855-D Type Two Gold Dollar VF-20 9900
1861-D Type Three Gold Dollar VF-20 18500
1796 No Stars Capped Bust $ 2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 52500
1808 Capped Draped Bust $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 23500
1826 Capped Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 9500
1838-C Classic Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 2500
1848 CAL. Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 25000
1856-D Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 4750
1911-D Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle XF-40 4500
1854-D Indian Head Three Dollar F-12 9500
1795 Capped Bust Small Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 20000
1800 Capped Bust Large Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 4250
1808 Capped Draped Bust $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 3500
1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1833 Large Date Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 16000
1834 Cross 4 Classic Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 1300
1861-D Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1870-CC Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 13500
1909-O Indian Head $5.00 Half Eagle XF-40 7500
1795 9 Leaves Capped Bust Small Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 55750
1804 Capped Bust Large Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 20000
1841-O Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 2850
1879-CC Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 10250
1911-D Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 1500
1930-S Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 20750
1859-O Coronet $20 Double Eagle VF-20 5750
1907 Wire Rim St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 12000
1921 St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 45000


See the 87 Index Coins