1794 Liberty Cap Cent. S-48. Rarity-4+. Starred Reverse. Fair-2 (PCGS). The S-48, Starred Reverse is one of the most popular, eagerly sought, and also enigmatic varieties in the early large cent series. The reason for including 94 stars on the reverse of this variety has been lost to history although, as with so many other aspects of U.S. numismatics, theories abound in the literature. Two of the more interesting are attributed to Dr. Edward Maris and R. Coulton Davis, both of which are related in Walter Breens large cent encyclopedia:<p><em>Dr. Maris had conjectured that the number of stars was meant to allude to the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Robert Coulton Davis connected it with the Mint Cabinets 1792 experimental copper coin today called Joseph Wrights pattern quarter dollar (Judd 12, Pollock 14, Encyclopedia 1365), which has 87 stars in the reverse border.</em><p>Exactly who discovered the Starred Reverse variety is also debated, although most numismatists credit 19th century dealer and numismatist Henry Chapman in 1876 or 1877. His brother, Samuel Hudson Chapman, told of the discovery in his work <em>United States Cents of the Year 1794</em> (second edition 1926):<p><em>This die was discovered by Henry Chapman during 1877. Dr. Maris, the first man to make a study of the series, was standing between him and the author whilst we were examining a lot of 1794 Cents, when H.C., picking up the specimen and examining it, exclaimed, Here is a die with minute stars around the reverse. Dr. Maris confirmed the discovery and said, It was previously unknown.</em><p>Regardless of the intent of the stars and when and by whom the variety was discovered, the appeal of Sheldon-48 has remained strong throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries. Its scarcity has also stood the test of time for today only 60 or so examples are believed extant. On the vast majority of Starred Reverses, only a small portion of the stars may be seen - the present example shows just enough of the reverse periphery from 6 to 8 oclock to allow for positive identification. The obverse, however, is bolder throughout the portrait and word LIBERTY, with a partially discernible date. PCGS# 35705. NGC ID: 223M. <strong>To view all items from the Sandra Kay Collection of Sheldon Varieties, click<a href="https://auctions.stacksbowers.com/lots?sort=auction_date_lot_number_asc&search=From+the+Sandra+Kay+Collection+of+Sheldon+Varieties&limit=36&lots_range=upcoming/"target=’_blank’> here.</a></strong> From the Sandra Kay Collection of Sheldon Varieties. Earlier from Heritages sale of the Loma Linda Collection, Part II, February 2018 Long Beach Signature Auction, lot 3717.