Ken Potter's Educational Series ...

1970-S Small Date & Large Date
Lincoln Cent Comparisons
Text and Photography by Ken Potter - NLG
Copyright Ken Potter 2002
Edited to add new images and refine text on 2/12/06

Small & Large Dates On Business Strikes


This is the So-Called "Small Date" or "Level 7" Variety on a Business Strike

    The scarce 1970-S Small Date Variety shown above is characterized by a more delicate date (as compared to the Large Date variety) and will exhibit a "7" that is relatively level with the rest of the date. The word LIBERTY is weak and indistinct (particularly on the E and TY) on all specimens of this variety including proofs. Caution: The LIBERTY may also be weak on a Large Date so this is a poor indicator of the type but a strong LIBERTY does indicate that it is NOT the scarce Small Date variety. While the font of the entire date is completely different than on the Large Date it is most apparent on "9" (which is the type of 1965-1969). The "9" on this variety shows the tail of the upper loop tapered more to a point and curved up slightly higher than on the Large Date variety. This one is often referred to as the "Level 7" variety by more advanced specialists. Coin courtesy of Gary Kelly.


This is the So-Called "Large Date" or "Low 7" Variety on a Business Strike

    The common 1970-S Large Date Variety shown above is characterized by a slightly bolder date (as compared to the Small Date variety) and a "Low 7" in the date. The word LIBERTY will be sharp and bold on many specimens of this variety but may also be mushy or weak due to die ware or the use of abrasives to dress-out the die when removing clashes, etc. If it has a strong LIBERTY, then your search is over as it is the common Large Date but if it is a weak LIBERTY, it needs to be examined further for other more reliable diagnostics of the type. The "9" on this variety is bolder and comes to a more blunted tip on the end of the upper loop on well struck specimens with that tip pointing further down than on the Small Date variety. This one is often referred to as the "Low 7" variety by more advanced specialists. Coin courtesy of Gary Kelly.


Small & Large Dates On Proof Coins


This is the So-Called "Small Date" or "Level 7" Variety on a Proof Coin

    Here again we see an example of the scarce 1970-S Small Date Variety. This time it is on a proof coin. It is characterized by a more delicate date (as compared to the Large Date variety) and will exhibit a "7" that is relatively level with the rest of the date. The word LIBERTY is weak and indistinct (particularly on the E and TY) on all specimens of this variety including the proof shown here. Note: The LIBERTY may also be weak on a Large Date variety so this is a poor indicator of the type but a strong LIBERTY does indicate that it is NOT the scarce Small Date variety. While the font of the entire date is completely different than on the Large Date it is most apparent on "9" (which is the type of 1965-1969). The "9" on this variety exhibits the tail of the upper loop tapered more to a point and curved up slightly higher than on the Large Date variety. This one is often referred to as the "Level 7" variety by more advanced specialists. Coin courtesy of Gary Kelly.
    Note: While we used a line drawn across the tops of the digits in the date to show how they line up relatively level to one another on our business strike example, (at the top of this page), here we have boxed in the date to show that not only do the tops of the date line up but also that the bottoms of the "1" and "70" of date line up fairly level. Compare this to the boxed-in date of the Large Date proof variety below and you can more readily see just how much lower the "7" is in relation both the tops of digits and to the bottoms of the "1" and "70".


This is the So-Called "Large Date" or "Low 7" Variety on a Proof Coin

    Here is another look at the common 1970-S Large Date Variety this time on a proof specimen. As with its business strike counterpart, it is characterized by a slightly bolder date (as compared to the Small Date variety) and a "Low 7" in the date. The word LIBERTY will be sharp and bold on many specimens of this variety but may also be mushy or weak due to die ware or the use of abrasives to dress-out the die when removing clashes, polishing the dies, etc. If it has a strong LIBERTY, then your search is over as it is the common Large Date variety but if it is a weak LIBERTY, it needs to be examined further for other more reliable diagnostics of type. The "9" on this variety is bolder and comes to a more blunted tip on the end of the upper loop on sharply struck specimens with that tip pointing further down than on the Small Date variety. This one is often referred to as the "Low 7" variety by more advanced specialists. Coin courtesy of Gary Kelly.

I'd like to thank Jose' Cortez for his  suggestion on detailing the differences in the font of dates
 being explored more fully here than it was in earlier versions of this study. 


!!!!Warning!!!!!

    As of late we have seen several Large Date proof specimens graded and misattributed as Small Dates by well-known, reputable grading services!  Be cautious!  Do not depend on the grading services to be accurate in their attributions of this variety.  We have no idea of how many dozens or even hundreds may be out there misattributed.  Learn how to tell them apart yourself and depend solely on yourself to distinguish the varieties.  To do otherwise may cost you in the end!


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Ken Potter
P.O. Box 760232
Lathrup Village, MI 48076-0232

Phone: 1-(313)255-8907 E-mail: KPotter256@aol.com

Numismatist Since 1959 ~ Serving the Collector Since 1973
CONECA's Longest Serving Doubled Die Attributer

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