Many United States coins bear the same date, but have different designs. When a coin design was changed, the older design was often used early that year and the new design struck later the same year. A collection of same year – different type coins can make an attractive and interesting display.
The cents of 1793 have three distinct designs—the Chain, Wreath and Liberty Cap. The Chain and Wreath cents are much in demand by type collectors. The Liberty Cap design was made through 1796, so a type collector has different dates to pick from and does not have to find an expensive 1793. Of the three, the 1793 Liberty Cap is the rarest.
If you find a 1796 Liberty Cap cent, not a major rarity, you may want a 1796 Draped Bust cent as a companion. Both designs were struck that year.
The final year of the large cent came in 1857, when the first Flying Eagle cents were made for circulation. A large cent and a small cent of the same year, with very different designs, make a small type set in itself. One copper coin bearing a Liberty Head and a wreath, the other, a small copper-nickel cent with a flying eagle and a tobacco wreath ... two different coins with a lot of history. The old-fashioned large cent, dating back to the early years of the Mint, next to a small cent, that was popular right away. Compare the two.
The last Indian cents were minted in 1909 as were the familiar Lincoln cent struck in 1909. If you stick with the Philadelphia issues, finding these coins in high grades wouldn’t take much effort or cash outlay. Keep in mind, many new type coins of the first year were widely saved and are not hard to find in nice condition.
Three-cent pieces were struck in nickel from 1865-1889; 3-cent silver, 1851-1873. Both nickel and silver were struck in the years 1865-1873, although the silver coins are much scarcer and expensive. Both have the Roman numeral “III” on their reverses, with the silver coins having a star on the obverse and the nickel, a Liberty head.
Two very distinct 5-cent coins were struck from 1866-1873. The old half dime, a thin silver coin, was originally made in 1794; nickels as we know them were not minted until 1866. The tiny half dime of the later years bore the Seated Liberty type, the design used on all silver coins of that era. The first nickels had a shield on the obverse, with the numeral 5 and 13 stars, with rays between the stars. The rays were removed in 1867. Two completely different coins, different designs, but minted the same years. A modern collector has to wonder what it was like to have two very distinctive 5-cent coins to spend. Did the new nickels and old half dimes circulate side by side, with a few of each coin in one transaction?
The last year of the Shield nickel coincided with the first year of the Liberty nickel, 1883. Two varieties exist of this Liberty Head date, one with the word “cents” on the reverse and one without. Three different nickels the same year – a good year for a type collector.
Two different nickel types were also minted in 1938. The last Buffalo nickels, the 1938-D, were made the same year the Jefferson nickel was introduced.
Mercury dimes were first minted in 1916, the last year of the old Barber dime. Compare the two Liberty heads. The Mercury dime is considered to be one of the more attractive United States coins, while the Barber dime, nice in its own way, shows a more mannish looking Liberty.
Quarters of 1916 also show two very different designs, and a great difference in price and rarity. The 1916 Barber quarter is rather common, while the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter, with a mintage of only 52,000, is a rare date, in high demand, commanding high prices.
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The half dollar series also contains an early date with different design types. 1807 half dollars can be found with the Draped Bust and the Capped Bust. Bust half dollar nuts know of the many varieties available in their favorite coin, with the 1836 notable. The Capped Bust half dollar with the lettered edge and “50 c.” on the reverse is much easier to find than its counterpart with the 1836 date, a reeded edge, and the words “50 cents” on the reverse. The 1836 reeded edge variety had a mintage of only about 1,200, and sells for much more than the lettered edge coin.
Silver dollars of 1795 come in the Flowing Hair and Draped Bust types. Only three years later, 1798 silver dollars come in two different types: the Small Eagle and the Heraldic Eagle. The Small Eagle, a favorite with type collectors, looks scrawny compared to the Heraldic Eagle, a proud bird with outstretched wings and a shield on its breast.
Morgan dollars dated 1921 are the most common of this type; over 86 million were minted with the date 1921, the combined mintage from Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. The Peace dollar debuted that year, a coin not as common, with a mintage of just over one million.
Even today, five different dollar coins are available from the same year. The Presidential dollars, with a different President commemorated every few months, first appeared in 2007. The Sacagawea dollar with the eagle reverse also was minted in 2007 and 2008. From 2009 onwards there have been special Native American reverses.
Fans of modern coin shouldn’t forget the Westward Journey nickels. The Peace Medal and Keelboat designs were used in 2004, with the new Buffalo and Ocean in View designs the following year. 2009 also saw the mintage of four different reverses of the Lincoln cent.
If a collector includes commemoratives, even more coins with the same date and different designs can be found.
Spice up your collecting by forming some of these small same year, different type sets. Check your trusty guide book and get started.