The 1894 Doubled Die Indian Cent
Image: PCGS.

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……
 

One of the most enduring Indian Cent varieties is the 1894/1894 Doubled Date, a piece that excites not only series enthusiasts but also even the more casual collector. It’s earned a place of prominence among a few other selected Indian Cent varieties, including 1867/67 and 1869/69 doubled dies as well as the famous 1873 Doubled LIBERTY and in some cases is collected alongside regular issues as part of a standard set.

The doubling of the date is easily apparent even as seen by the naked eye, further bolstering the allure of this variety. The diagnostics of the 1894/1894 Doubled Date are readily viewed by the collector who pays notice to the lower obverse of this significant variety. The doubled numerals are seen to the right and just above the primary dating features, with doubling most obvious by the “9” and “4” of the date. The pronounced doubling makes spotting this variety readily easy even with well-worn specimens.

Image: PCGS.

According to Indian Cent expert Rick Snow, a half-roll quantity surfaced in the early 1990s; a significant percentage of the surviving total derives from that miniature hoard that was dispersed into the marketplace years ago. All told, PCGS estimates 175 survivors in Brown (BN), 30 in Red-Brown (RB), and 50 in Red (RD), with about 25 of the latter grading MS65 or better. Of course, this leaves a relatively small number for collectors to compete for and is one reason prices are strong for this sought-after variety, even if the bulk of attention for this coin is to mainly be found among the diehard series specialists.

Prices for the 1894/1894 Doubled Die Indian Cent start at around $80 for a specimen in G4, reaching $185 in F12 and $400 in XF40. An example in MS60BN trades for $1,500, while an MS63RB fetches $2,750. In MS65RD, this doubled die rarity commands a whopping $8,000, which is but a fraction of the record price this coin hammered at a Heritage Auctions event in 2019, when a spectacular PCGS MS66RD specimen realized $30,000.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. One of my favorite coins in my collection.
    Additionally, I have the 1867/1867, 1891 DDO, 1873 open & closed 3, 1882 Broken 2 (2 of them)
    and two 1888/7s!
    I still need a better 1860 pointed bust and a better 1877.
    I would like to improve my 1882’s.

    • FWIW 1943 US cents are zinc-coated steel rather than silver.

      For me they’re a memento of when even the lowly penny and nickel had to make sacrifices for the war effort. Having family members who served, I always wonder if some soldier may have held any of my “steelies” before shipping out, and whether they made it home.

      In any case, a silver cent would have been impractical as it would be far smaller than a dime.

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