Heritage Auctions to sell unique 1794 cent collection

 1794 S-19a Discovery Coin XF40 PCGS, the finest example known, from the Al Boka Collection, Part II. Heritage Auctions image

1794 S-19a Discovery Coin XF40 PCGS, the finest example known, from the Al Boka Collection, Part II. Heritage Auctions image


DALLAS – This September, at the Long Beach Expo, Heritage Auctions will present the Jon Alan Boka 1794 Cent Collection – the finest current collection of all 58 Sheldon-numbered 1794 cent varieties in private hands. The collection also will be on display Aug. 9-14. at the American Numismatic Association Convention’s World’s Fair of Money in Anaheim, California.

“The Boka Collection is unrivaled amongst modern collectors, with fully 47 of his 58 coins ranking in the top 10 for their respective variety, and with 35 of those in the traditional Condition Census of the Top Six examples,” said Mark Borckardt, senior numismatist at Heritage Auctions. “Nearly half of the collection – 23 of the 58 coins – are plated in one or more reference works on the early cents. Almost one-third of the collection, 19 coins, has a continuous provenance over the last century, while another 19 have a provenance of at least 50 years.”

The collection features the Chapman Discovery Coin for the famous Starred Reverse Cent, VF20; the Discovery Coin and still Finest Known 1794 S-19a Head of ’93 Cent, VF35; the Finest Available 1794 S-34 Cent, VF30; the Finest Available 1794 S-35 Cent, VF35; the Third Finest 1794 S-37 cent, VF20; the Finest Known 1794 S-58 Cent, MS60 and the Finest Known 1794 S-66 Split Pole Cent, VF25.

Jon Alan “Al” Boka is a Trenton, New Jersey, native and retired from the USAF. He is the former owner/director of the Las Vegas Marathon (1982-2004) and has been an avid runner for 30 years, compiling more than 65,000 miles, including 37 marathons; his best time in the marathon was 2:45:14.

Boka’s collecting journey began with Lincoln cents the age of 9. About that time his uncle Harry showed him a cigar box full of large cents, which he had “found in his basement.” Boka became fascinated by the large coppers at the time, but was not able to acquire one of his own for many years following. He finally purchased his first large cent in 1965, a very low grade middle date, in a coin shop in Amsterdam, Holland, while in the Air Force.

Boka has been a member of the Early American Coppers since 1973, the same year he acquired his first serious large cent, an 1820 N-13, from a coin shop in Wilmington, Delaware. From there he assembled a high-grade date set, which Heritage sold in September of 2011, featuring the various obverses of 1793 through 1857.

Borckardt, who also joined EAC in 1973, notes that the 1794 large cents were the second series to have a specialized die variety reference, published by Dr. Edward Maris in 1869, just one year after the famous Levick plate of 1793 cents that appeared in 1868.

With a special preference for the year 1794, Boka completed a set of all 58 collectible varieties in February 2009 after acquiring March Wells’ S-56. Before then, at the 2004 EAC Convention in San Diego, he created an exhibit of the collectible varieties of 1794 based on provenance rather than grade. He published a book and created a website (www.1794largecents.com) documenting the effort.