Doug Winter: The 1894-O has a higher mintage figure than the combined numbers of 1888-O, 1892-O and 1893-O, but it is scarcer than any of these three issues.
This formerly scarce date has become far more available in the past few years. It is seen more often in circulated dates than the other New Orleans eagles from this decade and is easy to find in grades up to and including AU58. It is slightly scarce in MS60 to MS61 and scarce in properly graded MS62. MS63 pieces are very rare and I am aware of just three or four that grade higher than this including one Gem.
The 1894-O was formerly an extremely scarce date in Uncirculated but a number of hoards have been found in the past decade. The first of these appeared around 1994 when at least fifty Uncirculated pieces came onto the market. Since then, hundreds more have been found.
Enough circulated 1894-O eagles are known to suggest that this date, unlike the 1888-O, 1892-O and 1893-O, actually saw commercial usage.
STRIKE: This is a well struck issue that is typically found with good detail at the centers. On some, the hair directly above the ear of Liberty is weak. The stars are often fully detailed on the radial lines.
SURFACES: Nearly every 1894-O eagle shows a good number of abrasions but this date is, on the whole, considerably less abraded than the 1892-O and the 1893-O. It is possible to find an example with acceptable surfaces.
LUSTER: The luster is usually satiny and slightly subdued. There are some semi-prooflike and prooflike pieces known and these are seldom choice.
COLORATION: The natural coloration ranges from rose-gold to green-gold and even orange-gold. Some examples have an inner ring of color that contrasts the fields and devices. Others have dark high points from improper storage.
EYE APPEAL: This date has better eye appeal than many of the New Orleans eagles from the 1890’s. It is a well struck issue with good luster and color. The collector should be able to find a pleasing MS60 to MS62 without a great deal of effort.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There is a diagonal die scratch that connects the RT in LIBERTY. On some coins, the curls on the neck are partially detached as a result of die polishing.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There is a single variety known.
Variety One: The date is placed slightly high in the field and to the left with the 1 closer to the truncation than to the denticles. The mintmark tilts to the right, is placed high and near the arrow feather. On a number of coins a fine die crack encircles the reverse and joins many of the letters.