The VAM-E Newsletter

Introduction

The following is a compilation of the VAM-E newsletters since its inception.  The VAM-E is explained in the newsletter:

This newsletter is copyright 2004, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors. Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature, or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted, but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe requests, send them to John Baumgart at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Ash Harrison, President, ash@ashmore.com
John Baumgart, Vice-President, vam-e@varslab.com
Brent Fogelberg, Director of Membership, fogie@
Mike Andrew, Treasurer, mwabeep@aol.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Mike Andrew, Southern Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Jeff Oxman, Southwest Regional Coordinator, jeffssdc@aol.com
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $21.95/year or $199.00/life
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal, SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail Web Site: vamlink.com VAMView Magazine, VAM Price Guide

Index to all issues of the VAM-E

Vol. 1, Issue 1 -- January 31, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 2 -- February 8, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 3 -- February 15, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 4 -- February 22, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 5 -- March 1, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 6 -- March 8, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 7 -- March 15, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 8 -- March 22, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 9 -- March 29, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 10 -- April 5, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 11 -- April 12, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 12 -- April 19, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 13 -- April 26, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 14 -- May 10, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 15 -- May 17, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 16 -- May 31, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 17 -- June 7, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 18 -- June 14, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 19 -- June 21, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 20 -- July 5, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 21 -- July 12, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 22 -- August 2, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 23 -- August 9, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 24 -- August 16, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 25 -- September 6, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 26 -- September 20, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 27 -- September 27, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 28 -- October 4, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 29 -- October 18, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 30 -- October 25, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 31 -- November 1, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 32 -- November 15, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 33 -- November 22, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 34 -- November 29, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 35 -- December 13, 2004

Vol. 1, Issue 36 -- December 27, 2004

Vol. 2, Issue 1 -- January 3, 2005

Vol. 2, Issue 2 -- January 19, 2005

Vol. 2, Issue 3 -- February 6, 2005

 Vol. 2, Issue 4 -- February 14, 2005

Vol. 2, Issue 5 -- February 28, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 6 -- March 11, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 7 -- March 25, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 8 -- April 8, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 9 -- April 18, 2005
Vol. 2, Issue 10 -- April 30, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 11 -- May 9, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 12 -- May 23, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 13 -- June 4, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 14 -- June 20, 2005
Vol. 2, Issue 15 -- July 6, 2005  Vol. 2, Issue 16 -- July 15, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 17 -- August 7, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 18 -- August 27, 2005   Vol. 2, Issue 19 -- September 16, 2005
Vol. 2, Issue 20 -- October 5, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 21 -- October 31, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 22 -- November 20, 2005 Vol. 2, Issue 23 -- December 11, 2005 Vol. 3, Issue 1 -- January 2, 2006
Vol. 3, Issue 2 -- January 19, 2006 Vol. 3, Issue 3 -- February 5, 2006      

 

Vol. 1, Issue 1 -- January 31, 2004

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Welcome to the inaugural issue of the SSDC VAM-E. I will be bringing this mailing to you every week. The VAM-E will be an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, I'll try to get things started with an amusing anecdote about my favorite cherrypick and a question.
If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person.
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FAVORITE 'PICK
Several years ago I was running some mundane weekend errands and decided to stop in a coin shop I hadn't been to. It was mostly sports memorabilia and Beanie Babies, but there were some coins in the case. I looked at the entire stock of Morgan dollars, which numbered upwards of 12 to 15 pieces. I had to ask to borrow a magnifying glass and was handed a cheap plastic light-up one. I took a look at a nice, uncirculated 1887-O, and sure enough, it was a 7/6. Since I didn't have the $35 on me he wanted for it, I had to go find an ATM, then head back to the shop, where I plunked down my $35 for an 1887/6-O that's now in an ANACS-63 holder. The store had closed when I passed by again a couple months later.

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/87over6o.jpg (150 KB) http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/7over6o.jpg (37 KB)

Send your favorite 'picks. I'll feature one or two each issue.

RPM IN 1921

With way more branch mint dollars than other years, you'd think there would be a 1921-D or 1921-S with a RPM. Has anyone seen one?

 

Vol. 1, Issue 2 -- February 8, 2004

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Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.  In this issue, PCGS is (finally!) interested in VAMs. David Close tells of his favorite cherrypick.  If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question, an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person.

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FAVORITE 'PICK
** The following is David Close's recount of his most dramatic cherrypick.  Send your favorite 'picks. I'll feature one or two each issue.  I was in a local coin store, where they had just purchased an estate with about 100 silver dollars, mixed dates, most circulated. In the group, there were 2 1878S dollars, BOTH had a B1 reverse, with long nock on arrow! As you know, the mathematical probability of this happening approaches zero.  This occurred in late November, 2000. My take-home is that there is a God in Heaven who rules the affairs of men.

PCGS ACKNOWLEDGES VAMS

** Here's an exchange between David Wang and Michael Fey regarding PCGS's decision to start acknowledging VAMs.  DW: PCGS is contemplating joining NGC/ANACS and begin slabbing Morgan dollar varieties beyond just red book varieties.  However, they would like to hear some arguments about which varieties to slab, and why.

Top-100? Hot-50? 8TF? 7/8 TF?

MF: Yes, all of the above! This is what has actually evolved in the collection of Morgan & Peace dollar varieties by variety collectors.  Why not continue with this base history and evolution of VAM collecting?  DW: I recommended that they slab everything with "clear pictorial guides" such as the 4 series listed above.  They would also like to have more information regarding to tangential issues relating to more than just the existence of the varieties. i.e. 

1. Are all of the Top 100 and Hot 50 coins easily identifiable? (i.e. without a 10x loupe and a vivid imagination) 
MF: Yes, but some are more easily identifiable than others. There's nothing wrong with that. All varieties just can't claim to be as strong as Scarfaces and Hotlips.
DW: 2. Are all of the Top 100 and Hot 50 coins worth having? (the 1887 Gator Eye comes to mind)
MF: The Gator eye has done more good to introduce new collectors to Morgan dollar variety collecting than most other Top 100 coins. Without having something neat and interesting that collectors could actually find, how would they get excited about this area of collecting?
DW: 3. Are all of the Top 100 and Hot 50 coins available in the marketplace to any real extent? (such as the 1878 VAM 44)
MF: Part of the fun of collecting is having the tougher ones to go after.  If we all completed our sets in a short period of time, we would quickly lose interest and go on to something else. There must be some relatively challenging coins in the group.  If you don't think there are any more 1878 7/3 TF VAM 44's in the marketplace to be found, you're terribly mistaken. I've cherry picked an MS and AU specimen in the last 12 months alone. You just have to keep the faith and look at lots of dollars.
DW: I think this would be an incredible development in the collection of VAM's. If PCGS recognizes certain VAM varieties, they will be in the PCGS registry, and prices could well go further through the roof.
MF: I would welcome PCGS entering the marketplace with an expanded list of Morgan & Peace dollar VAMs that they certify. However, I would add that PCGS should not consider reinventing the wheel...just refine it. That's how progress is made.  ** If you have some input to provide, PCGS would like to hear from you.  Please direct your comments to Dennis Halladay at westdairy2@aol.com

Vol. 1, Issue 3 -- February 15, 2004

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Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.  In this issue, more about PCGS VAMs and Q. David Bowers' new book. Dennis Halladay tells of his  favorite cherrypick.  If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question, an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person.

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FAVORITE 'PICK
** Dennis Halladay recounts his acquisition of an 1890-CC "Tail Bar." Send your favorite 'picks. I'll feature one each issue.  In early-1999 I decided I wanted to own an 1890-CC Tail Bar in mint state, so I got to work hunting for one. I looked at every dealer's price list I could find, and constantly searched eBay by looking at the reverse photo of every mint state 1890-CC listed for sale. I started doing the same thing with major auction houses that put their catalogs on-line. After about 18 months my persistence finally paid off.  It was the October 2000 Heritage Long Beach Bullet Sale and the catalog had just gone on-line a day or two earlier. There were about half a dozen 1890-CCs in the auction, and even though I had become hugely cynical about ever finding an unnoticed Tail Bar in an auction, I kept looking anyway.  Somewhere around the fifth 1890-CC in the sale was Lot #538 -- a PCGS MS 63. I clicked on the link and the images began loading. The coin was in a new holder, it was blast white, slightly PLish, and seemed extremely nice for the grade. It looked like a coin I would like to own no matter what. As I scrolled down to the reverse image, I about fell off my chair when I saw the tail bar. I could not believe my eyes! It was right there as big and as obvious as could be! Whoever had originally sent in the coin to PCGS hadn't noticed it. The PCGS graders hadn't noticed it. The folks at Heritage hadn't noticed it. There was nothing in the auction description that suggested anyone had even looked at the reverse of the coin! The coin had not yet been bid upon, so I bid $100 over Grey Sheet Ask for a "regular" MS63 and then waited and watched. Bid price on the coin (including buyer's premium) jumped to slightly over Grey Sheet Ask within a couple of days... and then stayed there. My guess was that when people saw this particular 1890-CC in MS63 was already fully priced, they didn't even bother to look at it. And that's how I got my Tail Bar -- for $368 plus tax and shipping.

BOWERS' SILVER DOLLAR RED BOOK AND PCGS VAMS
** John Wilson opines of the impact of this new book. I believe that collecting Morgan Silver Dollars has now "officially" became main-stream with the release of Q. David Bowers new book, "The official RED BOOK of Morgan Silver Dollars / A Complete History and Price Guide." PCGS has a unique opportunity to become a part this by recognizing and slabbing Top 100 Vams as depicted on each date of the Morgan Dollar as described by Mr. Bowers and sanctioned by the RED BOOK. I would love to have one of my "finest known" Top 100's in a PCGS holder. Heck, I would even join the PCGS Club and have my coins slabbed. I am also positive "thousands" of others feel the same way. If PCGS wants to stay ahead of the game, and make money in the process, now more than ever is the TIME.

RCI COINS WEB SITE UP

Michael Fey would like to announce that RCI's new web site, http://rcicoins.com, is now up and running, although it is still a work in progress.

SPRING 2004 ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION OPEN FOR CONSIGNMENTS

Michael Fey would also like to announce that RCI is now accepting consignments to the Spring, 2004 Ultra Rarities auction. The submission deadline is Friday, April 2, 2004. The auction will close on June 17, 2004.  Consignment documents can be found through the link to the Spring, 2004 auction at http://rcicoins.com.

ANOTHER NUMISMATIST VAM ARTICLE

For those who haven't yet seen it, a hearty congratulations go to Leroy Van Allen for a wonderful article on clashed dies "Lady Liberty Letters" in the latest issue of the Numismatist.  This article is his second feature-length Numismatist article on VAMs in one year. The first was about the five different known states of the 1921-S "Thorn Head" (VAM 1B) variety. Since that article was written, a sixth was discovered.

SSDC MEETING IN BALTIMORE

Announcing the next Society of Silver Dollar Collectors meeting: Saturday March 13, 2004 at the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention, Baltimore Convention Center Hall E, Room 336 at 3:00.  Discussions will include the latest VAM news and provide information on how to get the newest updates from Leroy Van Allen, Michael Fey and others. Bring your favorite VAM to show and discuss with friends.  POC: Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com, 410-672-6670

Vol. 1, Issue 4 -- February 22, 2004

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Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.  In this issue, there's a lot of new 1921 VAMs, more VAMs in the news, and a stolen coin report. Clayton Christiansen tells of a favorite cherrypick.  If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question, an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person.
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FAVORITE 'PICK

** Clayton Christiansen tells how he got is 1878 8TF VAM 14.15  About 2 1/2 years ago I went to a local gun show since I knew one coin dealer would set up a table. This dealer didn't check for varieties and was one who I previously cherried an 8TF VAM 8 in an NGC 64 holder. I wasn't having much luck going through the uncirculated dollars, and thought my lone purchase would be a nice BU RPM 1945-P war nickel, when I noticed another tray of silver dollars on a side table. These were all circulated. I spied an 8TF dollar in the tray and asked for a look. The coin appeared to be AU, and I noticed the die crack by the"P" in PLURIBUS - it was a VAM 14.15. I asked the dealer the price. He replied $39. ANACS has since slabbed the 14.15 as UNC details, net AU-50 cleaned.

VAMs IN THE NEWS

The Coin Dealer Newsletter Monthly Supplement published its 2nd article about Top 100 coins. In the February 13th issue, Fey and Oxman wrote the "Top 10 Morgan dollar VAMs of the Top 100" to fellow dealers. Readers are referred to the CDN website to get their copy if they don't subscribe to the Greysheet. http://greysheet.com  An article also appeared in the February 23, 2004 issue of Coin World Collectors' Clearinghouse titled "Mint Mark on Clashed Dies; 'O' in Liberty's Ribbon on some Morgans". Several photos were given of the 1889-O VAM 1A doubled clash, the King of Morgan dollar clashed die varieties.

SPRING 2004 ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION UPDATE

Approximately 50 coins have been received thus far for the Spring 2004 Ultra Rarities auction. Please don't forget to send your coins in prior to the closing deadline. Refer to specifications given at http://rcicoins.com

NEW VAMs ABOUND FOR 1921

Michael Fey and I have both recently received many new VAM numbers for 1921 Morgans. With over 86,000,000 coins being made at all mints, there are probably a lot more out there waiting to be discovered, even for 1921-S, where some coins show such severe die erosion you'd think they only use one pair of dies for the entire year. 
1921 VAM 3P - Horizontal die gouge from under 'st' in trust into eagle's left wing. http://varslab.com/21v3P.jpg 
1921 VAM 3Q - Die gouge through tops of ER in LIBERTY.  http://varslab.com/21v3Q.jpg
1921 VAM 3R - Die break through lower right of ribbon. http://varslab.com/21v3R.jpg 
1921 VAM 14B - Clash of 's' from trust behind Liberty's hair
1921 VAM 39 or 40 - Dot on eagle's left wing
1921 VAM 39 or 40 - Quadrupled right and 1-3 left stars, tripled date, D1 (17 berry) reverse. (Note: As of today it's unclear which is VAM 39 and which is VAM 40)
1921-D VAM 1AN - Same reverse as VAM 12A with major break on third left leaf cluster, but almost no doubling on obverse. http://varslab.com/21Dv1AN.jpg
1921-S VAM 1H - Chip under third left star, very wide gouge above eagle's right wing. http://varslab.com/21Sv1H.jpg (all photos copyright 2004, John Baumgart)

THEFT AFTER FUN SHOW

A dealer from Muy Grande Coins of Austin, Texas, had his vehicle broken into during a gas station stop in Tallahassee, FL on the way home from the FUN show on Jan. 10. Many of the coins were Top 100 or Top 50 varieties of Morgan and Peace dollars, respectively, with many in SEGS slabs. Hundreds of other coins from half cents to silver dollars were taken along with about 140 ungraded Morgan dollars and about 50 Booker T. Washington commemoratives. Anyone with information on the case should call officer Mark Lewis of the Tallahassee police dept. at (850) 891-4561.

 

 Vol. 1, Issue 5 -- March 1, 2004

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Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.  In this issue, diagnostics of the newest 79-S Reverse of 78 as well as 79-S Rev. of 78 valuation update from David Wang. Michael Fey has a rather unusual 1921 Morgan. Mark Cooper tells of his favorite cherrypick.  If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question, an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person.

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FAVORITE 'PICK

** Mark Cooper tells how he got his 1888-O "Hot Lips"  I was at a large antique show and scouring the floor for any signs of coins. There was a guide which showed which dealers were where, and I searched out the few which said "coins". One dealer had the standard assortment of heavily circulated buffalo nickels, Indian head cents and Liberty nickels, as well as a 3-ring binder with Morgan dollars, $20 your choice. I started through the book, front to back, and when I got to the 88-O, bingo! A "Hot Lips" in Fine condition. Ever since seeing the picture in the Red Book I had wanted one, so being able to cherrypick one was a real kick for me.

1879-S REVERSE OF 78 UPDATE

An update to the values and rarity of the 1879-S Reverse of '78 VAMs is available at this link: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/davewang202/Research/1879sPAF/2004update.pdf

1879-S VAM 34B DIAGNOSTICS

** The 1879-S VAM 34B was discovered by Brian Raines after David Wang had finished his book on 1879-S Rev. of 78. These are some attribution notes from David for this variety.   I went out today and actually found an 1879s Rev 78 VAM34B. Since Brian Raines discovered, there had been 3 more VAM 34B's attributed by Larry Briggs. So mine would be the fifth known, unless someoneelse has one that I don't know about.  I've spent a few hours going over the coin. I didn't have much time with Brian's coin when he sent it to me. I have found that Larry Briggs' unique way of attributing this VAM from the obverse only is rather interesting and fairly reliable. The obverse die is overpolished, so the 9 in date is open and the area under the engraver's initial is polished open to a "circular looking shape". What I also found was a tiny die chip on the lower left of the "8" in date. I don't recall seeing this die chip on Brian's coin, so I'm not sure if mine is a later die state than his or if I just missed the die chip on his coin.  I've taken a few pictures, and will be taking more later. In the picture http://varslab.com/79sv34b.jpg, I've labeled the picture as follows. 1. Overpolished circular region under engraver's initial.
2. Die chip on lower left of "8" in date.
3. Open 9.

UNUSUAL 1921 MORGAN

** Michael Fey reports an unusual mark on a 1921 Morgan.  This coin, and another that I found like it had a mysterious incuse "S" punched into the obverse field by Ms. Liberty's forehead. The S on the second coin was punched close, but not in the same spot as the first. This was suppose to be an original bag of 1921's and as far as I could tell it was. So, how did an incuse S about the size of a mint mark get on the obverse of a Philly coin? I'll accept any wild theories. http://varslab.com/21whatsthis.jpg  ** I'll accept wild theories here, too, so send them to me and I'll include them in a future issue.

Vol. 1, Issue 6 -- March 8, 2004

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Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.  In this issue, how to count reeds, a recent 78-S discovery, and Clayton Christiansen tells of another favorite cherrypick.  If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question, an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person.

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FAVORITE 'PICK

** Clayton Christiansen tell of his 1878 VAM 14.16  About 3 years ago, I was watching eBay and a seller put up a raw, PL 8TF dollar for sale, touted as MS63DMPL. The picture was terrible, and about the only thing you could tell was that it was PL. The seller did not have a scanner but did respond to my inquiry. I nearly fainted when he confirmed the die markers for an A1n reverse, although I wasn't sure which one. I quickly used the "BUY IT NOW" option for $250. As it turns out, it wasn't quite as nice as the seller described; nevertheless, I was more than satisfied with the 14.16 that ANACS slabbed as an MS62PL.

NEW 1878-S REVERSE OF 1879-S REVERSE OF 1878

** What's that? David Wang describes a new 78-S with a reverse die that was also used in 1879.  The 1878s VAM 1C is a recently discovered variety, first attributed by Calvin Cherry. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/davewang202/Research/1878s/VAM1C/  The interesting thing about this coin is that it shares the same reverse die as the 1879s Pitted Eagle Reverses (VAM 4, VAM 23 and VAM 25), but it is not pitted! The slight die chip on the upper loop of "R" in AMERICA (sticks out like a sore thumb on page 42 of the guide to the 1879s Reverse of 1878 Morgan silver dollars), the die cracks above "ERIC" in AMERICA, and the appearance of the engraved wing confirms that this is the same die, but no pitting in 1878-S VAM 1C. It may be reasonable to speculate that this reverse die was placed in storage, rusted due to improper storage, then brought out for use again in 1879.  Evidence of basining of the die remains in the form of heavy die polish lines (and many VAM 4's show a proof-like reverse due to the basining).  With Mr Calvin Cherry's assistance, I was able to purchase my 1878-S VAM 1C from Heritage's web site. The die chip on R is large enough to be observable from Heritage's excellent pictures.Mr Calvin Cherry has verified from the above pictures that the VAM 1C shown here matches his VAM 1C exactly, from the slightly doubled LIBERTY to the die polishing lines around the cotton boll.  The updated 1879-s Rev 1878 die marriage/sequence chart was updated in 2003 to reflect Mr Cherry's discovery of 1878-s VAM 1C. The 2003 update may be found here. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/davewang202/Research/1879sPAF/2003update.pdf

SSDC GATHERING AT BALTIMORE SHOW

Announcing the next Society of Silver Dollar Collectors meeting: Saturday March 13, 2004 at the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention, Baltimore Convention Center Hall E, Room 336 at 3:00.  Discussions will include the latest VAM news and provide information on how to get the newest updates from Leroy Van Allen, Michael Fey and others. Bring your favorite VAM to show and discuss with friends.  Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com, 410-672-6670, for more information.

HOW TO COUNT REEDS

** Michael Fey describes how he counts reeds on coins.  Most collectors seem to have an aversion to counting reeds on their Morgan dollars. It's not difficult, takes only a minute or two, and can be an enjoyable activity, especially on a rainy day. The best place to start is with raw 1878 8TFs, where any new reed count can result in a major discovery.  All you need is a dissection (binocular) microscope in the 20X-40X range, a light, a felt marking pen (you can wash off the mark with a Q-tip and acetone), and a blunt pointed object like the back (blunt) side of an Exacto knife (counting object).  While holding the coin on its edge in one hand firm against the table and the counting object in the other, place a small pen mark on any starting point (I use the reed in between the 7 and 8 of the date).  Then, looking through the microscope, start counting in the direction you feel most comfortable by rolling the coin on edge, periodically lifting it up slightly, rotating it with your fingers, and placing it down against the table. With the other hand, you will be lifting and placing the counting object on the area inbetween each reed much like counting teeth in a gear. This will require about 1-2 minutes of intense concentration and will not harm the coin.  As you come full circle, take care to count the marked reed only once, either at the beginning or the end of your counting.  That's it!  You should confirm your count with a 2nd count of the same coin. With a little practice, this will become pretty easy to do. And, it only takes a minute or two.  You can document your findings by using a large flashlight reflector.  Place the coin in the curved portion of the reflector and the reeds will reflect flat outside of the rim. You can photograph this,count the reeds manually, and print the image for others to review.  A good place to start is the 1878 8TF VAM 6, which is known to have 3 different reed counts! Would you consider a VAM 6 with 189 reeds the same variety as a VAM 6 with 193 reeds? How about one with 179 reeds? Happy Hunting!

SPRING ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION

** An update from Michael Fey about the Spring 2004 Auction I have already received more than 200 consignments for the Spring, 2004 Ultra Rarities auction with more coins expected. If you are planning to consign to the auction, please note that the submission deadline is coming up soon on April 2nd, 2004. Please be sure to execute and submit all consignment documents. These may be found at our website within the Spring Ultra Rarities Auction tab at: http://www.rcicoins.com  Should you have any questions, please feel free to call me at  973-252-4000 or E-mail at Feyms@aol.com

Vol. 1, Issue 7 -- March 15, 2004

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Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.  In this issue, how to get VAM book updates, a question about a Top 100 VAM, and a report from the Baltimore show.  If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question, an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person.

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FAVORITE 'PICK

** Nothing was sent to me this week. Send 'em if you got 'em.

VAM BOOK UPDATES

Leroy Van Allen has the 2003 VAM book supplement available. It is a 113 page supplement that contains descriptions of all the coins discovered since the 1991 printing of the VAM book, and pictures of all the 2003 discoveries. The supplement is available for  $13 + $2.50 postage.

Pictures of previous years' supplements are also available, back to 1997, priced as follows: 2002 (46 pages), $7 2001 (39 pages), $7 2000 (37 pages), $5 June-Dec 1999 (22 pages), $5 Dec 1997-June 1999 (23 pages), $5 Postage for all 6 supplements mailed together is $5 for Priority Mail.  Contact Leroy Van Allen, P. O. Box 196, Sidney, OH, 45365.

BALTIMORE SHOW REPORT
** Rob Joyce coordinated an SSDC get-together at the Baltimore show.  Here's his report.

The Society of Silver Dollar Collectors met Saturday 13 March at the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention. Six people were in attendance: Meeting coordinator, Rob Joyce, David Wang, GeorgePowell and Jack Lee (no, not that Jack Lee, but the famous VAMer in Maryland ;-).  We welcomed two new members, Tom Friend and Brad Edward who are VAM enthusiasts. A color handout with attribution guide for 1900 O/CC varieties.  These two pages show specific die markers that can be used to  distinguish the seven different varieties. A PDF copy of this guide can be downloaded online (print in color and in landscape mode to view as intended) http://www.rjrc.com/vams/o_cc_guide.pdf  Following the guide, Rob presented population statistics on the O/CC VAMs (based on ANACS data), offering a theory that the VAM-7 is tremendously underappreciated and may have a rarity on the order of the popular VAM-9 coin. VAM-7A is also very rare in the population report but part of that low number may be due to the fact that it was discovered in the last few years and is not in any reference books, only update notes. We talked about the pitfalls of the population report data: not everyone has access to the attribution information; people focus on the high VAM-9 prices and are more likely to slab the coins; etc.  Regardless, rob looked at many O/CC coins on the show floor and did not find and VAM-7, 7a, 9 or 10 coins so they is a trend supported by the population data. The population summary is posted to the web at:  http://www.rjrc.com/vams/occ_pop.htm  Also distributed was a population analysis of the Hot 50 Morgan Dollars and Top 50 Peace dollars based on the ANACS population reports. These guides provide insight into which VAMs are showing up with great frequency and which ones seem to be very hard to come by. The analyses are available here: http://www.rjrc.com/vams/top_50_sep_03.pdf

http://www.rjrc.com/vams/hot_50_sep_03.pdf

Rob Joyce also discussed the rising prices in the 1921-D VAM market since the publication of his book "Fun With 1921". He provided a price sheet showing some amazing sales of 1921-D VAMs:  VAM-1G, ANACS AU-53, $177.77

VAM-1Q, ANACS MS-61, $271.00

VAM-1AC, ANACS AU-58A, $300.00

Since AU 1921-D coins can be purchased for $8 to $12, the circulated finds were some great catches for the cherry picker. For a complete listing of over 30 recent 1921-D VAM sales, see http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921d_prices.htm

David Wang also presented at the meeting. He provided an overview of the 79-S reverse of 78 news. A copy of his 2003 information update is posted on line at: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/davewang202/Research/1879sPAF/2003update.pdf He described Larry Briggs shortcut method for identifying the brand new VAM-34B coin. Some of his biggest news was the announcement of a 1879-S VAM-34 in a PCGS MS-64 holder sold at the Heritage Auction the night before. Previously unknown in mint state, this was an amazing buy which closed at common 79S rev 78 pricing. Congrats to David (of course he was the one to take the time and notice this rare VAM). [** OK, your editor has determined that this qualifies for Favorite Pick of the Week.]  David also provided information about the minting process and how defects appear and propagate in dies. It sparked lively discussion about how researchers track die changes. His notes from the talk are online at: 

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/davewang202/Research/1879sPAF/presentation.pdf

At the end of the session, all present participated in "show and tell" with VAMs emerging from the pockets of George Powell, Tom Friend, David, Rob and Jack Lee. It was great fun. Please try to make the next SSDC meeting near you and share with your fellow VAMers.

QUESTION ABOUT THE 1900-O VAM 29A

** I received an e-mail from Mark Cooper regarding the Top 100 1900-O VAM 29A. I answered to the best of my ability, but perhaps others may also have further insight into this variety and possible imposters. 
MC: Concerning the 1900-O VAM 29A, I have seen a couple coins, both in BU, that have been labeled as 29A, but the die crack appears to be an earlier state. There is a much less pronounced die crack that runs up through the date, but it is not nearly as bold. Have you seen any like this?
JB: It stands to reason that there are coins with lesser die cracks that are technically 29As, but I'm pretty sure there are coins from different dies that have strikingly similar die cracks that are not VAM 29A.
MC: This is yet another case where research can help save big bucks. I saw a dealer today who had one of these pseudo-29A coins, and had a price tag of 375 on it. I think though that anyone who was seeking a VAM 29A specifically would be familiar with the Top 100 book and would probably recognize it as such, and also might be why he hasn't been able to move it. 

Vol. 1, Issue 8 -- March 22, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, questions about a 1922-D Peace dollar and the 1883-O "E Reverse", a clarification on the 1900-O VAM 29A, and Dave Borofski shares his favorite cherrypick.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

FAVORITE 'PICK

** Dave Borofski tells of a fruitful exercise in persistence.

Two years ago I attended a local show and was looking through a

dealer's offerings when he asked me what I was looking for and I

replied Dollar varieties. He said sarcastically, "better people

than you already looked through them and found nothing." I had

never seen this dealer before and I bit my tounge and kept on

looking determined to find something. I purchased two coins, an

1878-S and an 1880 for a total of $29. I later sent them to ANACS

and they both came back AU-55. The 78-S was a VAM 27 [B1 reverse]

and the 1880 was a VAM 39A ["E Reverse" with die break]. As a SSDC

member for twelve years, I learned that if you want to be a

successful cherrypicker you have got to do your homework, be patient,

and be prepared to lot closely at hundreds of coins.

Did I ever go back to this dealer ever again?? Every time he shows up!!!

QUESTION ABOUT 1883-O "E REVERSE" MORGAN

** A collector has a question about the designation of this "Hot 50"

variety, which Jeff Oxman helps clear up.

I have an example of this silver dollar and was hoping you

could provide me with the latest info on this variety. Did they

ever decide which VAM to title it? Kevin Flynn has it as VAM-22

and the old SSDC Hot 50 list says that it is VAM-36; that there

are no VAM-22's. Confusing. Also, do you have an idea what its

worth might be? Mine is MS-63, graded by PCGS. Kevin Flynn listed

it in his book at $150.00 in this grade back in 1998.

** Here's Jeff Oxman's take on these two varieties

John, you're doing a great job with the SSDC VAM-E discussion/

information group, and it's to your credit that it has gained

instant popularity. I thought I would contribute by addressing

one of the frequent questions I've received regarding the distinction

between the 1883-O VAM 36A and the VAM 22A. And what better to

place to discuss these VAMs than the SSDC VAM-E!

There is a bit of interesting history here. When the VAM Book

was published by FCI Press in 1976, the VAM listings for the

1883-O only went up through VAM 15. Then, over the next 15 years,

a tidal wave of new discoveries more than doubled the size of the

VAM Book, to the point that the much expanded 1991 VAM Book

included 1883-O listings up through VAM 38. Pertinent to our

discussion here, the VAM 22 listing designated the obverse die

as a "III-2-3 'Doubled 1' obverse," which by the way, is the same

obverse that is shared with the "Top 100" VAM 4. The reverse is

listed as the standard C3-a die, but Van Allen added this phrase

to his description: "Some specimens show an E die clash below

eagle's tail feathers." Initially, few VAM collectors realized

the importance of an 'E Clash,' so the listing drew hardly a ripple...

Fast forward past many other 83-O discoveries all the way up to

the VAM 36. This obverse is listed as "III-2-19, Doubled '18-3'.

Again, Van Allen adds the same phrase about an "E Clash" to this

C3-a reverse die description. And here matters stood for more than

half a decade.

In the mid-to-late 1990's, I wanted to feature the 1883-O varieties

with "Clashed E" in the "Hot 50" book I was putting together, so I

researched the frequency that the two different VAMs were encountered

by specialists. In my own experience, it was clear that the VAM 36

was the much more common variety. But when the dust settled, it

dawned on those of us interested in clashed varieties that other

than the original VAM 22 listing with "Clashed E," not a single VAM

22 with "Clashed E" could be accounted for!

The question was whether the VAM 22 existed at all (and was in fact

only an attribution error which was corrected as the VAM 36) or

whether the VAM 22 was an unrecognized ultra-rarity. Part of the

problem was that differentiating between the two obverses was more

difficult than supposed. The doubling of the "1" in both cases was

shockingly similar, and the extra "83" doubling on the VAM 36 was

quite minor. So, given the fact that it would be difficult to make

a distinction between two such similar obverse dies (and the reverses

were apparently the same), an army of specialists combed through

the inventories of dealers at major coin shows and local coin shops,

looking for the elusive VAM 22A. None was ever found.

The most logical conclusion was that VAMs 22A and 36A was the SAME

die pair, and that Van Allen most likely had made an attribution

error when he initially listed the VAM 22. (Van Allen has done a

magnificent job in keeping track of 2,500 varieties, but mistakes

certainly occur.) So, the "Hot 50" book approached the subject by

listing the VAM 36A and mentioning the VAM 22A as merely a possibility.

Then, in 2002 Brent Fogelberg called this writer and said that he

had finally found a VAM 22A. I must admit I was a little incredulous,

but he graciously sent the specimen to the SSDC mailing address.

And to my surprise and pleasure, a quick comparison to some VAM 36's

provided significant differences in the two obverses. And so, now,

the VAM 22A is back on collectors' radar screens!

Unfortunately, no other confirmed VAM 22A's have surfaced, but we

now know better than to say it will remain unique. And by the way,

if you're looking for a quick-and-easy method of distinguishing

the VAM 22A from the much more common VAM 36A, just look at the

inside of Liberty's ear on the obverse. EVERY VAM 36A I've seen

has die chips in the recessed portion inside the ear. Compare that

with the inside of the ear on the VAM 22A, which does not show any

die chips at all. Use this diagnostic on all your VAM 36A's and

you may come up with an ultra-rare VAM 22A! Then let all of us

know via the SSDC VAM-E.

QUESTION ABOUT A 1922-D PEACE DOLLAR

** J.D. Schumacher has an interesting 1922-D Peace dollar ...

JS: I am curious about what I am terming a "short stem olive branch"

for a better lack of description. Unlike the reverse on all

business strikes 1922-1935, this 22-D has a deliberately shortened

stem olive branch similar to the 22 proof. If you examine the

olive branch stem on all Peace dollars, it meets up with the

eagle's talon. On this 22-D, there is a noticeable "gap" (a

shortened branch) without indication of removal or error in the

stamping. The coin is extremely detailed.

** ... and Eric Justice has a response

EJ: Yes, this is an interesting die variety. You have found a 1922-D

with a B1 reverse. (a.k.a. "Early Reverse") VAM 1.

This is the same major reverse design used on some 1922 proofs,

some 1922 business strikes, some 1922-D business strikes and some

1922-S business strikes. These are believed to be the 1st business

strike dies made, therefore are also referred to as "Early Reverse".

On page 416 of the 3rd and 4th editions of the VAM book, Leroy

describes the design of the B1 reverse as follows: Detached

olive branch from eagle's foot, two hills to right of mountain

crag, detached talon from toe at rear of eagle's left claw, R

in DOLLAR is short, and rays are weak where they meet the tops

of D-AR.

Most 1922 (PDS) peace dollars have an attached olive branch

and a 3 hill reverse design (VAM 2 and higher #s).

The design transition of the peace dollar was as follows:

1921 High Relief

1922 High Relief Business Strike (Unique)

1922(PDS) B1 Reverse

1922(PDS) B2 Reverse

There are 27 varieties for 1922 with B1 reverses. There are 13

for 1922-D. See if yours matches one of these descriptions.

VAM 1A - Long die break from hair bun to below Y.

VAM 1B - Obverse die gouge, nearly horizontal & irregularly

shaped, from T in LIBERTY, at upper intersection

of horizontal and vertical bars, going left to bun

VAM 1C - Small rim-to-rim die crack/break cutting thru Y,

higher on upper oblique than lower.

VAM 1D - Similar to 1C, die crack crosses oblique arms at

about the same height. Connects with long (nearly)

vertical die crack in right field. LDS had small

die break at point of intersection, below and attached

to lower oblique arm.

VAM 1E - Long curved horizontal die crack/break below IN from

rim to neck.

VAM 1F - Die gouge through eye, parallel to upper eyelid.

VAM 1G - Triangular die break from rim into field below IN,

there is a long die gouge going through N, and another

through top of 1, intersecting in the field near the

die break.

VAM 1H - Semicircular die crack in left field parallel to rim,

with intersecting radial die crack from rim above IN.

VAM 1I - Small reverse die break from rim into field at U in

UNITED, at end of a long die crack.

VAM 1J - Retained obverse cud Y crossing oblique arms at same

level, no die cracks. LDS has small die chip within Y,

attached to lower arm.

VAM 1K - Cud at rim below R in DOLLAR

VAM 1L - DBO rim to top left of Y w/ die crack extending

downward thru hair strand & V.

VAM 1M - Retained cud thru 1 in date.

CLARIFICATION ON THE 1900-O VAM 29A

** Last week, Mark Cooper wondered about earlier die states of the Top

100 VAM 29A. Michael Fey offers some clarification.

VAM 29A should not be confused with VAM 35, which has "similar" die

cracks. However, the die cracks originate in different places relative

to denticles below the point of the V of Liberty's neck.

An early die state VAM 29A is not as desireable as the late die state

and should not command as much of a premium. However, there may be

some variety specialists who would like an earlier die state in order

to show die progression.

SPRING ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION UPDATE

Consignments continue to arrive for the 2004 Spring Ultra Rarities

Auction. If you plan to consign, please keep in mind that the

deadline for submission is April 2, 2004.

Consignment documents can be downloaded from the web RCI's newly

updated website at http://www.rcicoins.com. Just click the Spring

Ultra Rarities button and then choose the "Click Here" button.

Please download and execute all documents before sending to RCI.

Consignors and subscribers of Top 100 Insights & Value Guide will

receive a copy of the auction catalog at no cost.

Good luck in the auction!

 

Vol. 1, Issue 9 -- March 29, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, more clarification on the 1900-O VAM 29A, a new 1921 discovery, and Ash Harrison tells of a fruitful week.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

FAVORITE 'PICK

** Ash Harrison had a good week

I've had a big week cherrypicking. I have found a 1903-S Micro-S

in XF45. I got the 1880 VAM 7 in AU53 or 55. I picked up 2 more

Belly Button Bird coins for my collection. An 1878 VAM 115 Triple

Blossoms was next. But the one that was really interesting is

the 1881-O VAM 27. It is about MS61 but it is a DMPL! Does anyone

know of other DMPL examples to have turned up?

1883-O "E REVERSE" MORGAN EPILOGUE

** Michael Fey provides first-hand comparisons of the VAM 22A and 36A

Within 2 hours of reading the latest SSDC VAM-E, I was looking

through a roll of 1883-O Morgan dollars that a fellow dealer brought

over, and "Eureka," I found a VAM 22A in MS 62 Semi-PL! The E is

far stronger than on the VAM 36A, and as Jeff advised, the obverse

has no die chips in the ear!

PRICING QUESTION FOR 1888-O SCARFACE

** William Scholl has a chance to buy an 1888-O VAM 1B "Scarface"

in MS62 and would like recent pricing information.

PICTURES OF THE 1900-O VAM 29A AND 35A

** Rob Joyce provides comparisons between the VAM 29A AND 35A

I have a page on line that explains shows the difference between a

1900-O VAM 29A and VAM 35A. It might help those following last week's

discussions of the VAM 29A.

http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1900_o_vam29a.htm

NEW 1921-S DISCOVERY

** There have been a lot of 1921 discoveries lately. Michael Fey

provides a new one.

While attending the Baltimore show on March 12, 2004, I found a PCGS

MS64 1921-S Morgan dollar that, from a distance, looked absolutely

horrible. It had such extensive hairlines all over the obverse that

no matter how I turned the coin in the light, it was the most

hairlined coin that I ever saw...yet it was certified in a PCGS MS64

holder. The reverse was perfectly normal.

Having faith that PCGS would not certify such an extensively hairlined

coin, I looked closer. Whoa! Those hairlines were thousands of die

coarse polishing lines, and they were all over the obverse. Finding

beauty in ugliness, I bought the coin, determined that it had

extensive clashing underneath the die polishing lines, and sent

it to Leroy Van Allen for possible attribution.

Well, I got it back today from Mr. Van Allen with a red "Wow!!"

and a new variety listing of "1I--Die excessively polished an filed

with heavy raised lines all over fields of entire obverse"

Why the die worker didn't finish this obverse die with fine polish

or a fine emery cloth will likely remain a mystery, but I can tell

you that in all my searching of Morgan dollar varieties (and other

coin types), including 1921-S, I have yet to see a working die with

more gross die polishing lines than this one.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 10 -- April 5, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, Jeff Oxman writes about "overlapping reeding," John Wilson shares an interesting cherrypick.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

FAVORITE 'PICK

** John Wilson shares an inadvertent cherrypick

About three months ago, I was checking the various on-line auction

sites. I am a Morgan VAM guy and there was nothing of real interest.

Soooo, I started searching the Peace dollars section as I was bored.

Nothing caught my eye until I was saw a 1925 NGC MS-64 (Heritage

Auction). At first, I thought, there was a mistake as the photo

showed a "S" mink mark on the reverse. This would make it an 1925-S

MS-64 and about $500 difference in price. I double checked the

holder again, and sure enough, it said "1925" ( no mention of an

"S"). So, I thought "why not," and bid on the coin. Final price

with shipping, tax, and "juice" was $53.85. I waited and waited and

it "finally" arrived in the mail.

Upon opening the package, the waters parted and I about had a heart

attack, there it was, an "S" mint mark in a 1925 holder. I put the

coin away for a week as I had other commitments pending. I later

re-checked it just to see if it was a "Hot 50" peace dollar, and

wouldn't you just know it, it was a VAM 3! That made it tied for

the finest known. I sent the coin in the next day to NGC to have it

attributed and re-slabbed. Two weeks later, I received the now

"1925-S" MS-64 NGC VAM 3 back in the mail. It was later consigned

to a Teletrade Auction where it sold for $550.00. This was my cherry-

pick that wasn't.

CALL FOR NEW DISCOVERIES

** Last week, Michael Fey reported his new 1921-S VAM 1I discovery.

I encourage anyone credited with new discoveries in the future to

forward me a report so I can include them in the VAM-E.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD DIE

** Jeff Oxman discusses a new type of collar die variety

Rarely does a new "type" of variety in the Morgan dollar series come

to light, but hold on to your hats, and let me introduce "Over-lapping

Reeding" (OLR) varieties. Even the name was controversial, as the

original moniker was "Doubled Reeding" varieties, which best describes

the feature that characterizes this variety "type." But putting the

name aside for a moment, this unheralded category of VAM collecting

represents uncharted territory for VAM enthusiasts, and as we all know,

new discoveries tend to be the fuel that powers much of the Morgan

and Peace dollar variety market today.

Let me begin with a bit of coining theory. Simply put, the collar is

the third die involved in striking coins. Even the most neophyte

collector knows that it takes an obverse and a reverse die to strike

a silver dollar in the coin press machinery. But many do not realize

there is yet a third die, called the "collar," which serves to hold

the planchet in place while the other two dies impart the image onto

the incoming blank disc of metal.

The collar, which looks much like a giant metal washer, does something

else of importance, as well. The inside of the collar (which holds

the planchet) has a series of machined vertical grooves and ridges

which impart what we call "reeding" to the edge of the coin. The

alternating grooves and ridges are uniform in width on the inside

of the collar, and every coin struck in that particular collar will

have the same number of reeds, which in the Morgan dollar series,

varies from 157 reeds to 194 reeds.

But here the plot thickens. As a result of incorrect machining, a

few cases have been found with noticeable doubling on some of the

individual reeds. This doubling normally occurs in at least two

places around the outside of the struck coin. It's almost as if

the edge reeding goes "off track" in a couple of spots on the inside

of the collar. And this anomaly forms the foundation of the new

"Over-lapping Reeding" class of varieties.

In terms of a progress report, so far only three different dates

can boast of known Over-Lapping Reeding varieties. Specifically,

doubled reeding has been found on at least two different VAM examples

dated 1883-O, 1884-O and 1892-O. Note that all three dates are New

Orleans Mint products. It has been suggested that this has something

to do with the minting procedures at New Orleans. However, it should

be noted that all dies, including obverse, reverse AND collar dies

were produced exclusively at the Philadelphia Mint, and then shipped

to the respective Branch Mints. So the source of the problem must

have been that Mint. More research must be undertaken to determine

whether outside vendors were involved with the collar dies. But in

any case, the completed collars were apparently all shipped from

Philadelphia, and this lets New Orleans off the hook.

Reed counts are important for a number of reasons, including deter-

mining counterfeit coins which have the wrong reed counts. For example,

all 1893-S specimens have 187 reeds. So, while holding an 1893-S

in your hands, if you count the reeding and the specimen has 181

reeds, you have reason to question the authenticity of the coin.

Possibly the mintmark has been altered from an 1893-O, which would

have a 181 reed count. Indeed, in such a case the potential cost

savings from not purchasing a bogus coin is immense. An 1893-O in

MS63 is a $5,000 coin, whereas an 1893-S in the same grade is worth

at least $50,000!

A second reason for counting the reeding is that a case can be made

that the same die pair with different reeding is really a different

variety! For instance, the 1878-P 8-TF VAM 6 is known with three

different reed counts, namely, 179, 189 and 193 reeds. In reality,

each of these represents a different VAM 6! At a time when die states

of known varieties are receiving VAM designations in vast numbers, it

may be time to look at reeding varieties as a potentially worthy

source of new VAM listings.

On the negative side, the only major obstacle to a wide-spread interest

in reeding varieties is the fact that so many coins have already been

slabbed. Once in holders, the reed count is pure conjecture. But for

researchers, the challenge is to find coins before they're put in

holders. As for the future, this article will at some point be

incorporated into an SSDC Special Report, but the idea here is to give

SSDC members a "heads-up" on this interesting new area of VAM collecting.

 

 

Vol. 1, Issue 11 -- April 12, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, Lewis Rosenbaum talks about VAMs in GSA holders, John Wilson has a question about a "Top 100" VAM.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

FAVORITE 'PICK

Must have been a slow week. Maybe everyone's working on their taxes.

I managed to find some nice "Top 100" coins at a club show last

weekend -- an 1878 VAM 70 in MS63 and an 1878 VAM 220 in AU. While

neither of these qualify for my favorite cherrypick, it does show

that these coins are still available. I've found that I have better

luck finding this kind of stuff at small shows than at large ones.

VAM HISTORY

** Michael Fey provided this picture of himself and Jeff Oxman at the

first annual VAM Thing at the FUN show.

http://www.funtopics.com/15LG.jpg

RESEARCH REPOSITORY

** A web site update from Logan McKechnie

Dave Wang and Mark Kimpton will be storing their research and

photographs on my web site. The information on the site can be reached

at http://vamsandmore.com. I hope to keep the site updated and get

rid of my duplicate coins as well.

1879-O VAM 4 and 28

** John Wilson wants to know the difference between the 1879-O VAM 4

and VAM 28.

The 1879-O/Horizontal O VAM 4 and VAM 28 share the same reverse, and

one of the only "rotationally challenged" mintmark mispunchings (the

1895-S/Horizontal S, another "Top 100" coin, is another) of the Morgan

dollar series. The VAM 28, in addition to the O/Horizontal O, has

a repunched date, most visible on the right side of the 7.

VAMS IN THE NON-CC GSA DOLLARS

** Lewis Rosenbaum talks about VAMs in GSA holders

Did you know that there are VAMs in the non-CC GSA silver dollars?

The GSA silver dollar sales (7 sales from 1973 to 1980) sold

approximately three million Carson City silver dollars. There also

were approximately 130,000 non-CC silver dollars sold. The non-CCs

were sold in the 2nd GSA Sale July 1973 in two categories

(1) around 30,000 uncirculated in hard plastic holders like the

Carson City dollars and

(2) around 100,000 circulated in flat pack cellophane holders

(includes approximately 13,400 1878-CC).

VAMs occur in both categories. I am going to tell you about one of

the VAMs -- the 1878P 7/8TF.

There are 7/8TF in both the uncirculated category and the circulated

category. Over the years I have seen, or it has been reported to me,

which VAM the 7/8TF are . So far all have been VAM-37. At first thought

this is surprising that all would be the same VAM. However, there is

a reasonable explanation. A point to note is that up to a few months

ago all the 7/8TF I have seen or reported to me are uncirculated

examples, all are very baggy dollars, but uncirculated. The 7/8TF

in the flat pack cellophane are uncirculated. In my estimation the

uncirculated dollars in the hard plastic case would grade MS62, the

uncirculated dollars in the flat pack would grade MS60 or MS61.

There was a small number of uncirculated 7/8TF dollars in the non-CC

silver dollar holdings. These 7/8TF would have been in the holdings

deemed as "uncirculated bags". Some of these were selected for the

non-CC uncirculated category and the remaining were put into the

non-CC circulated category. The circulated category of non-CC GSA

dollars has many uncirculated dollars.

Now to the point of this story -- recently I obtained a circulated

(XF) 7/8TF in the flat pack cellophane . To my amazement it is a

VAM-37! I was confident that a circulated 7/8TF would more likely

be one of the other 7/8TF VAMs -- maybe a VAM-33 or a VAM-38. Now

my search is on for more 7/8TF non-CC GSA silver dollars.

I will have more information about VAMs in non-CC GSA dollars in

a future VAM-E.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 12 -- April 19, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, Mark Kimpton talks about clashed dies, Michael Fey has a couple new discoveries.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

FAVORITE 'PICK

Another slow week. Please send favorite, memorable, unlikely,

accidental, karmic, or otherwise interesting to read cherrypicks,

like this one:

A few years ago, I was in the process of establishing that the coin

once known as "1896/4," then later just a die gouge (VAM 1A) was

really a repunched date (now VAM 20). I did this by overlaying

pictures of the date over the gouge on a coin I had and showing how

it lined up.

Flipping forward in the VAM book, I noticed that the 1896-O VAM 1A

might also be a repunched date, but I didn't have this coin. Lucky

for me, there was a coin show that Sunday -- albeit a small club show,

Nevertheless, this would give me the opportunity to look for it. I

had pretty much decided that in the unlikely case that there was one

there, it would either be too worn to be useful or MS64. No more than

20 minutes after parking the car, I plunked down $90 for a nice AU53

specimen. I proved my point, and it's now known as VAM 19.

NEW DISCOVERIES

** Michael Fey shares a couple new discoveries

1921-S VAM 1B7 -- A seventh (!) die state of the "Thornhead" die

progression. This latest die state features a rather large spike

through the Y of LIBERTY and into Liberty's head.

1889 VAM 5B -- Filled 'r' in 'trust.' Clash mark above eagle's right

wing shifted to the right, extending into the center of the G of

IGWT, as a result of rotated dies.

CLASHING AS A TOOL TO DETERMINE DIE STATES ADN DIE MARRIAGES

** Mark Kimpton discusses clashed die Morgan dollars

Clashed dies result when a planchet (blank metal) fails to enter the

coining press properly. The result is that dies strike each other

instead of striking a coin. This imprints the die with part of the

opposite dies design. Once this occurs, any coins struck from that

point on will show evidence of clashing. This provides an easy to

see indicator that marks the time of the clashed event. Coins can

then be seperated into pre and post clashing stages.

It has been my experiance that apporximately 1 in 25 morgan dollars

will show evidence of clashing. Clashing can occur anytime in the

minting process, and not all dies will clash. Coions such as the

1878 8TF VAM 14.1/14.1A clash early in the life of the dies. (To

date NO VAM 14.1's have been found without clashing). Some clashing

occurs in the middle of the life of a die pair, such as the 1887

VAM 12 and 12A, where half of the "alligator eye" variety shows

clashing the other half does not. There are examples of dies

clashing toward the end of a pair of dies production as well. One

such example is the 1878 P 7/8 TF VAM 41B.

The 1878 7/8 TF VAM 41 is a popular coin among collectors as it has

the strongest 7/8 TF reverse in the Morgan dollar series and is

included among the TOP 100 varieties. The 1878 7/8 TF VAM 41 reverse

was later polished down to create the variety known as VAM 41A

(formerly VAM 35 we believe). What is not common knowledge is why

the coin was polished down. I believe the answer to be.... CLASHING

(of course). To confirm this suspicion I set out to find a late die

state 1878 7/8 TF VAM 41 that showed clashing. I found it. The

1878 7/8 TF VAM 41B has the same full 7/8TF of the VAM 41, but also

has the clashed remains of an N in front of Mrs. Libertys neck!!

I was quite thrilled to find a clashed letter transfered onto a

Top 100 coin!!

Now, keep in mind that VAM #'s are assigned by their date of

discovery not by their mintage order. This is why the 1878 8TF

VAM 9 is considered the "First Morgan dollar" and not the VAM 1.

The VAM 1 was described first, but it was later found out by

research that it was the VAM 9 that was the first coin struck at

the mint. So in the story of the 1878 P 7/8 TF VAM 41, the VAM 41

then the VAM 41A then the VAM 41B were discovered in that order.

However, the VAM 41B is actually an EARLIER DIE STATE than the

VAM 41A.

It was understanding the relationship of clashing and its relationship

to die marriages that led to the discovery of the new 1878 P 7/8 TF

VAM 41B. It si this same understanding that I hope leads to several

other potential discoveries. I believe there are many clashed

varietes yet to be found. Let me share a few:

1) 1878 P VAM 80A (this would be a LDS-late die state- clashed VAM 80)

The 1878 P 8TF VAM 22 shows clashing on the obverse but not on

the reverse. The obverse die was previously used to strike the

1878 P VAM 80. (as per the SSDC 7/8 TF book)

2) 1878 P VAM 81A (LDS clashed VAM 81)

The 1878 P 7/8TF VAM 33 shows clashing on the obverse (the reverse

of the coin was previouly used to strike VAM 44 as so is different

as well). The clashed obverse on the VAM 33 should have occured

during the time frame the obverse die was used to strike VAM 81's.

3) 1878 P 8TF VAM 17A (LDS clashed VAM 17)

The 1878 P 7/8TF VAM 42 shows clashing on the obverse and a polished

down reverse. The obverse die for VAM 42 was previouly used to

strike the 1878 P VAM 17.

4) 1878 P 8TF VAM 18A (LDS clashed VAM 18)

The 1878 P VAM 20 shows clashing on the obverse and none on the

reverse. The obverse die for VAM 20 was previouly used to strike

VAM 18.

5) 1879 S Rev 78 VAM 50A (LDS of VAM 50)

Based on the book by David Wang on the subject of 79S Rev 78's,

the photo for VAM 51 shows a clash thru the letters of ST in the

word TRUST on the reverse. All of the VAM 51s I am aware of show

clashing on the reverse but none on the obverse. The reverse die

of the VAM 51 was previously used to strike VAM 50's.

The clashing of each of these possible LDS coins may have resulted in

only a few coins being struck, or it may have resulted in the

destruction of the die, which would explain why the die was replaced.

I encourage you to join me in the hunt for these potential discoveries!!

Time will not allow me to go into much more detail for now. That is

part of the reason why I am writing a book to highlight the many

fascinating aspects to clashed Morgan dollars. I am hoping this has

piqued your interest enough to look for clashed varieties.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 13 -- April 26, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, Grant Hobika shares some cherrypicks and friendly advice, and I want to hear about your websites.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another

person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

FAVORITE 'PICK

** Grant Hobika shares some Teletrade cherrypicks.

I bought many coins sight-unseen from Teletrade over the years, and

there were some beauties and some pure-dumb-luck better VAMs mixed in

with the average stuff too. When I finally got a computer about a year

ago I spotted what I felt might be an 8-TF VAM 15. I bid strong

enough to weather the flurry of last second bids that I knew would

come and sure enough -- P.C.G.S. PAYDIRT!

I knew I could add a few other coins to my total without paying any

additional postage so I threw in a bid on the only other 1878 listed

that night, a 7-TF with no picture. It sold below "bid" so I didn't

care what VAM it might happen to be. Would you believe I ended up with

TWO white, prooflike, Choice UNC, Top-100 VAMs (numbers 15 & 70) in

consecutively numbered PCGS holders!

Now I surmise that someone with an appreciation for better VAMs --

perhaps even one of the original pioneers -- may have suffered some

misfortune, and his little collection of gems was sold by someone else

(probably a relative) who was ignorant of their secret true worth.

I've often wondered if other wondrous Morgan varieties might have been

in PCGS holders on Teletrade that night!

Let us all take heed and plan ahead, so the same fate does not

befall our personally treasured VAM dollars. Each one of them is

endowed with its own story of the hunt and, most especially, with

cherished memories of people we shared our knowledge and enthusiasm

with, not to mention beer, meals, roadtrips, and hotel rooms.

We owe it to our heirs to get good value for these special coins,

and we owe it to our friends in the hobby who may wish to obtain some

of our trophies as mementos of a dearly departed comrade. I know

that I consider priceless a certain polished XF '86-O E-reverse which

Terry ("the best things in life aren't things") Armstrong gave me

when I mentioned to him I'd never found one!

CALL FOR WEBSITES

In a future issue of the VAM-E, I'd like to present a compilation of

all the VAM-related websites people have built. Send me your VAM-

related website and I'll include it in the list.

CLASHED VAM BOOK IS TAKING SHAPE

** Mark Kimpton updates progress on his book, but needs some coins.

As many of you may know, John Roberts, Leroy Van Allen and I are

working to put together a Clashed VAM Variety book. This last year

alone has seen the number of clashed varieties DOUBLE. From the time

Francis Klaes' 1963 book till now, there have been over 100 new

varieties noted. This is a field of RAPID growth and interest.

Given this rapid change and few references, we have felt the time

for a book dedicated for Clashed varieties has come.

This task has been a major undertaking. It has involved numerous

resourses and aid from any number of individuals. A task this size

has to draw off of every available corner of the field to try to be

as comprehensive as possible. This is why I write to you now.

I would like to ask the VAM community for its collective help.

There are a handful of coins for the clashed variety collection

that I have not had the chance to see and to study. I am in pursuit

of these coins and any information I can gather on where to contact

to either borrow or to purchase them. If you would happy to know

where these coins reside I would greatly appreciate having you

contact me with their location and how I can contact the owners to

make arrangement regarding the coins.

The list is as follows:

1880 VAM 33A

1883-O VAM 1C

1883-O VAM 49A

1887 VAM 1B

1889 VAM 23A

1889-CC VAM 4A

1891-O VAM 3A

1902-O VAM 16A

1921 VAM 3B2

1921 VAM 34A

Any help in locating these coins is greatly appreciated.

NEXT ISSUE

** Due to business travel next week overseas, the next issue of the

VAM-E will be mailed out on Monday, May 10th. It promises to be

a good one. Much to my disquietude, however, this means I will

be unable to attend the CSNS show in Milwaukee. I'll leave it

as an exercise for those readers that are going to the show to

find something interesting and let me know about it. Also, let

me know what kinds of topics you'd like to see discussed in future

issues of the VAM-E.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 14 -- May 10, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, part one of a fascinating old newspaper article, PCGS recognizes a Peace dollar VAM, and the spring Ultra Rarities auction is launched.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

NEW DISCOVERIES

** 1921 has proven to be a fruitful year for finding new discoveries

lately.

1921 VAM 3A1 -- Revision of tail-bar 1921 with no gouges in either

L or R of DOLLAR. The former 3A1 and 3A2 are now 3A2 and 3A3,

respectively.

1921-D VAM 1AS -- Die break on 3rd left star similar to 1AG, breaks

on bottom of 92 in date.

1921-D VAM 14 -- Doubled to tripled right stars, tripled to quadrupled

left stars. Mint mark completely filled with grease, actually

slightly incuse in field.

1921-D VAM 15 -- TED STATES O slightly tripled toward rim. Same

obverse as VAM 13 with date and stars doubled and tripled towards

rim.

1921-S VAM 5A -- VAM 5 obverse severely polished so that denticles

from K-9 to K-11 are detached from rim

1921-S VAM 8 -- Date doubled to left, all obverse stars doubled to

quadrupled.

CALL FOR WEBSITES

I've only received a few websites so far. There must be more.

Send them and I'll list them next week.

1883-CC VAM 8 INFO REQUESTED

Dana Russo is interested in seeing good pictures and/or descriptions

of the 1883-CC VAM 8.

PCGS RECOGNIZES A PEACE DOLLAR VARIETY

Eric Justice, Peace dollar researcher, reported that a 1923 "Whisker

Jaw" dollar was slabbed by PCGS with the "Whisker Jaw" variety noted.

Mainstream recognition of Peace dollar varieties cannot be far behind.

SPRING ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION LAUNCH

** Michael Fey is ready with the Spring Ultra Rarities VAM auction

Rare Coin Investments (RCI) will be conducting its 5th Mail Bid

auction of rare Morgan and Peace silver dollar varieties with the

mailing of its Spring, 2004 issue of Top 100 Insights and Value Guide

during the last week of May, 2004. To view auction lots, please

visit RCI's website at http://www.rcicoins.com and follow click-

through links to the Spring, 2004 Ultra Rarities Auction. Hardcopy

of the 30 page auction catalog which includes close-up images of

variety features is available from RCI for $5 to cover shipping

& handling. The auction closes on Wednesday, June 16th at 9 PM EST.

According to Michael S. Fey, the firm's President, "The most advanced

collectors of Morgan and Peace silver dollar varieties will participate

in the auction. Consignors will find our Spring Ultra Rarities

Auction a ready market for rare die varieties, while collectors will

be able to acquire rare die varieties with the confidence that they

are correctly attributed and accurately described."

For further information on the Spring, 2004 Ultra Rarities Auction,

or to become a subscriber to Top 100 Insights and the Top 100 Value

Guide (and receive a free auction catalog), send a check or money

order for $19.95 for 1 year, or $54.95 for 3 years to RCI, at P.O.

Box 9157, Morris Plains, NJ 07590 or call (973) 252-4000;

FAX (973) 252-0481; E-Mail: Feyms@aol.com, or visit their web site at

http://www.rcicoins.com

EARLY NEWSPAPER ARTICLE SURFACES

** Jeff Oxman recently acquired a Philadelphia Times from March 2,

1878. Here's the first part of a fascinating article from that

paper.

Talk about historically important! The following article from the

Philadelphia Times dated March 2, 1878 should be of incredible

interest to researchers and collectors alike. Note the date, less

than two weeks prior to the introduction of the first Morgan silver

dollars on March 11th, and preparation for the new silver dollars

was front-page news. Indeed, there are tidbits of technical

information here that are really exciting to those of us who enjoy

knowing the How, What, When and Where of the first Morgan dollars.

Article Title: THE NEW COIN

Immediate Work at the Mints. How the Silver Dollar will Look - The

Feeling Among the Senators - The President Reticent on the Subject

of the Veto

The Treasury officials are clearing the decks for active operations

under the silver bill, and within a fortnight the clink of the new

dollar will be heard in the land. The Secretary of the Treasury

today issued orders to the several mints to get in readiness as

soon as possible, and every effort is being made to carry out the

law in the spirit in which it was passed. The Director of the

Mint today telegraphed to San Francisco and Carson City, Nevada,

to discontinue the coinage of all gold and subsidiary coin. The

Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint was ordered to get out his

melting pots, and the work on the dies is being pushed as rapidly

as possible. Dr. Linderman says that by the middle of April the

mints will be coining the new dollar at the rate of three and a half

millions a month. As an evidence that the mints are in good

condition the Director received a dispatch from San Francisco today,

saying that for the short month of February the Mint in that city

coined five and a half millions in silver trade dollars and

subsidiary coin. This is the largest amount coined at that Mint

since it was started. Dr. Linderman says that it will be easy to

place the Philadelphia Mint on an equal footing. The Carson Mint

will run exclusively on the new silver dollar, but the first coinage

will be in Philadelphia, owing to the dies being made in that city.

It will require at least a week to prepare the dies for the presses.

What is known as the "hub" is already prepared. This is a piece of

the hardest steel, on which is cut, in relief or raised characters,

the devices of the coin. In making the die, a piece of steel, of

the proper size and shape, is annealed or softened, and the "hub" is

struck on the face of the die. Only one blow can be struck each

day, and about eight blows are necessary to finish the die. After

each blow the die is again annealed. Sometimes two blows a day have

been given each die, but this is rare. About twelve dies will be

necessary, all of which can be made from one "hub" in a week if two

blows can be given each die a day. It will require seven or eight

days to convey the dies to California and Nevada after they are made,

so that it will be a fortnight before the new coinage can begin there.

HOW THE DOLLAR WILL LOOK.

The following letter was yesterday sent to the Secretary of the

Treasury and was today returned with its recommendations approved,

the Secretary directing that the necessary orders be issued for

carrying it into execution:

Hon. John Sherman, Secretary of the Treasury.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE MINT,

WASHINGTON, February 28, 1878.

SIR: If the bill to authorize the coinage of a standard silver

dollar, which has lately passed both houses of Congress and is now

awaiting Executive action, should become a law, it is expedient that

the mints should be placed in a position to executive with promp-

titude the requirements of the act so far as the coinage is concerned.

In order that there may be as little delay as possible in commencing

the coinage of the new dollar, it is necessary that a full supply of

dies should be prepared in anticipation of the bill becoming a law.

I therefore transmit herewith a specimen or experimental piece of

new design that I have caused to be prepared and which I have the

honor to request may be approved and accepted. The act authorizing

the coinage of a standard silver dollar provides that there shall be

on the silver dollar the devices and superscriptions provided by

the act of January 18, 1837, section 13 of which reads as follows:

"That upon the coins struck at the Mint there shall be the following

devices and legends: Upon one side of each of said coins there

shall be an impression emblematic of liberty, with an inscription of

the word "Liberty" and the year of the coinage, and upon the reverse

of each of the gold and silver coins there shall be the figure or

representation of an eagle, with the inscription, 'United States of

America,' and a designation of the value of the coin." Section

18 of the coinage act of 1873 further provides that there shall be

upon the coins the inscription, "E Pluribus Unum," and that the

Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the

Treasury, may also cause the motto, "In God We Trust," to be inscribed

upon such coins as shall admit of such motto. In accordance with

the provisions of these laws, I have selected the accompanying piece

from various designs which have been prepared at the Mint. The

obverse of the coin bears a free-cut head of Liberty, crowned with

a Phrygian cap; decorated with wheat and cotton, the staples of the

country; the legend, "E Pluribus Unum;" thirteen stars, and the

year of coinage. On the reverse, surrounded by an olive wreath,

is an eagle with outspread wings, bearing in his talons a branch of

olive and a bundle of arrows, emblems of peace and war, the

inscriptions "United States of America" and "One Dollar," and the

motto "In God We Trust." This specimen, while it possesses all

the requirements of law in devices and superscriptions, has been

selected not only for the beauty of its design, but also for the

exceptionally low relief of the devices, insuring protection from

abrasion and enabling them to be brought up in striking by a

minimum pressure. Very respectfully,

H.R. Linderman, Director.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 15 -- May 17, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, some new discoveries, some pretty astonishing prices for VAMs, some web sites, and the rest of the article about the New Coin.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

NEW DISCOVERIES

** George Powell shares his discoveries so far this year.

1881-S VAM 59 -- Doubled cap, chin, and lower hair. 18 slightly

doubled to lower left. Die chip in denticles below first 8.

1923 VAM 1Z -- Very heavy polishing around TRVST to remove a clash.

1884 VAM 1A -- Large chip on lower left outside curve of 2nd 8.

1885 VAM 7 -- Revised to state that reverse legend and right star

tripled to quadrupled toward rim.

1885-O VAM 20 -- Doubling in Liberty's ear.

1881-S VAM 1C -- Large die chip in the wreath leaves opposite I

of UNITED.

1889 VAM 12A -- Die chip to the right of first left star.

BIG PRICES RECENTLY FOR A COUPLE VAMS

Prices on better VAMs, and even some you might not have heard of,

are quite strong, as some recent eBay sales show:

1896-O VAM 4 Micro O, PCGS EF40 $2,222.00

1878 8TF VAM 15, NGC MS63 $1,150.00

1900-O/CC VAM 9, AU $495.00

1888-O VAM 4 "Hot Lips", AU $406.01

1921-S VAM 1B4, AU $355.00

1921-D VAM 1Q, EF $51.00

VAM WEBSITES

Here are some VAM related websites. If I missed yours send it and

I'll include it.

www.vamlink.com -- Jeff Oxman's VAM site with VAM lists and articles

www.rjrc.com -- Rob Joyce's VAM references, specializing in 1921-D

www.rcicoins.com -- Michael Fey's website, with VAM resources, auction

www.varslab.com -- John Baumgart's VAM attribution and slabbing service

www.vamsandmore.com -- Logan McKechnie's collection of articles and stuff

mywebpages.comcast.net/davewang202 -- Dave Wang's 1879-S Rev. of 78 stuff

EARLY NEWSPAPER ARTICLE SURFACES

** Conclusion of the March 2, 1878, article from the Philadelphia Times

about the New Coin. The first part appeared in last week's VAM-E.

TALK AMONG THE SENATORS.

There has been a good deal of amusement here over the silver bill

since its passage. It is said that yesterday, after the bill passed,

many of the Senators retired to the cloak-rooms to compare notes.

Mr. Eaton, of Connecticut, was asked what would be the next step of

the Western men. "Greenbacks, and then repudiation," was his quick

response. "And what next?" "Why, hell," was the answer, and the

Senator glanced quizzically at Senator Beck. The Kentucky Senator

was measuring his length on a sofa and created some merriment by

stating that Stanley Matthews had promised him the first silver

dollar coined under the new law. "And what will you do with it?"

asked a Senator. "Why," he replied, "I am going to give it to

Eaton to wear about his neck."

The President manifested no disposition to talk on the subject of

the bill to-day. One gentleman spoke of the bill and was answered

by an inquiry as to the state of the cotton crop in South Carolina.

The gentleman replied that he was not a planter, and did not know

anything about cotton, and then again turned on the silver bill,

saying that Congress seemed to be in some haste. "Yes," said the

President "indecent haste," and then proceeded to again question

his visitor about the cotton crop.

The Treasurer of the United States is making every preparation for

the disbursement of silver. When the time comes he hopes to pay the

salaries of members of Congress for March in silver dollars. The

monthly pay of a member is four hundred and seventeen dollars, the

weight of which in silver will be about twenty-five pounds. There

are about three hundred members and delegates, so that the total

weight of silver required to pay the House of Representatives will

be seventy-five hundred pounds, or three tons and three-quarters.

The cash messenger from the House goes to the Treasury for the

members every month with a hand bag. He must hereafter go with

three carts and horses.

Some of the government officials say that the Secretary of the

Treasury will not use silver to pay the interest on the public debt.

This statement is made by high authority.

THE DOLLAR OF THE SONS.

Philadelphia's Mint Getting Ready to Make the White Cart Wheel Currency.

Superintendent of the Mint ex-Governor James Pollock, says that the

coinage of the new silver dollar will being in about two weeks, by

which time the dies, stamps and the machinery necessary will be in

working order. Yesterday Superintendent Pollock received information

from Washington that the design for the new dollar of 412-1/2 grains

furnished by Mr. Geo. T. Morgan had been approved by the Secretary,

out of the numerous devices submitted to him. The work of preparing

for its coinage will immediately begin. The director for some time

past has had before him two designs, the one selected and another

known as the "Barber design." The former is the work of Mr. George

T. Morgan, an English designer, who for some years was employed in

the Roiyal Mint at London. Under act of Congress the director is

authorized to employ skilled artists to make designs and engrave

dies for the manufacture of our coins, and about a year and a half

ago, he communicated with the deputy master of the Royal Mint,

asking him if he could recommend a good designer. After much

hesitation, owing to a strong disinclination to send over one of

their own and best designers, they did send Mr. Morgan, who has

been in this city since October, 1876. He is at present engaged

in designing the medal of President Hayes, a custom which is pursued

in every administration. He has already spent some time with the

President, and is executing an excellent profile of him. The new

dollar, on its obverse side, has the typical head of Liberty, with

the liberty cap and a wreath of wheat and cotton leaf and full

flowing hair, partially covered, of course, by the cap. Above the

head is the semi-circular motto "E Pluribus Unum" in Roman capitals,

and the balance of the circle being composed of thirteen stars,

while the year of manufacture, as in the old pieces, is placed at

the bottom of the coin. The reverse shows what is known in heraldic

terms as the "displayed eagle," with the wing-tips up; an olive

branch in the right talons and arrows in the left, the bird encircled

by a laurel wreath, and immediately over its head is the motto,

in German text, "In God We Trust," and still above the words "United

States of America" while just beneath the laurel wreath are the

words "One Dollar." The difference in the thickness of the new

coin and the trade dollar is infinitesimal and imperceptible except

upon close comparison. Superintendent Pollock says that in two

weeks from to-day he will begin the active coinage of the new dollar.

Yesterday he received $285,649.45 worth of silver from New York,

but his, he says, is a mere flea-bite, the silver coinage capacity

of the mint being more than $2,000,000 per month. It is not

expected, however, that this capacity will be taxed, the bulk of

the coinage being done at the branch mints at Carson City, Nevada,

and San Francisco. It will be a month at least, however, before

the coinage can begin at those places, and it is a fact upon which

the officials of the Mint pride themselves not a little that, as

the first dollar of the daddies was struck in this city, so the

first dollar of the sons will be emitted from Philadelphia.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 16 -- May 31, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, Jeff Oxman updates an old article about the 1878 VAM 44, a magnifier poll, and some recent eBay prices.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

NEW DISCOVERIES

As you are credited with new VAM discoveries, please send them to

me so I can include them. Also send cherrypicking stories or recent

finds.

MAGNIFIER POLL

What is your primary magnifier (brand, type, power) for cherrypicking

"in the field?" (Microscopes and stuff used in your private "lair" are

a subject for another time.) If you use more than one, note the one

you use most. Send me your response and I'll publish the results in

a future issue.

BIG PRICES RECENTLY FOR A COUPLE VAMS

1878 7/8TF VAM 32, ANACS MS62PL $1,136.00

1878 VAM 14.5, EF $475.00

1878-S VAM 50, ANACS MS63 $440.00

1893 VAM 4, NGC AU53 $395.00

1924 VAM 5A, SEGS MS63 $280.00

1924 VMA 1C, AU $275.00

1921-D VAM 1A, BU $228.50

1921-D VAM 1AB, BU $51.00

It should also be noted that a couple VAM 150/100 Drink/Snack machines

recently had high bids of around $400 and $500, but didn't meet the

reserve. Ironically, they aren't fitted to accept Morgan or Peace dollars.

I'm guessing these machines are more common than many of the varieties

above, which to me means that you're better off buying the coins.

THE 1878 VAM 44

A collector recently reminded me of an article I'd written for the old

SSDC Journal, dated Spring 1989. This article was entitled, "New VAM

44 Discovered," and went on to describe a second uncirculated specimen

which had just been found. Today, there are upwards of 10 BU's known,

but the variety remains the "King of VAMs" in the hearts and minds

of most variety specialists.

The current ANACS Pop Report for Uncirculated VAM 44's breaks down

like this:

1 - MS63DMPL

1 - MS63

3 - MS62PL

3 - MS62

2 - MS61DMPL

1 - MS61PL

1 - MS60

Much has happened in the intervening fifteen years, but here is the

old Journal article with my personal comments and updates in

brackets [].

THE SECOND KNOWN BU 1878 VAM 44

The early dollar specialists have their 1804 dollar, fanatics for

five-cent pieces have their 1913 Liberty nickel, and U.S. gold

enthusiasts can point with admiration to an 1822 half-eagle. But to

most Morgan dollar variety collectors, the coin of which dreams are

made would have to be the 1878 7/8TF VAM 44.

The VAM 44 has everything going for it. First of all, it is exceedingly

rare. Only one BU specimen is known [upwards of ten are now known in

2004], although another has been rumored for many years, and six or

seven AU50's [probably close to twenty are now known] have been

accounted for. The grand total is therefore between 15 and 18.

[The totals probably add up to more that 30 AU and BU pieces today.]

That's a rare coin in most people's books!

Secondly, the variety feature which distinguishes the VAM 44 from

other varieties is significant. In this case, the leaves and cotton

bolls that comprise Liberty's head-dress are clearly "tripled."

A dozen or so major Morgan dollar "Doubled Leaves" varieties are known,

and all are sought after by VAM collectors as dramatic examples of

a doubled die obverse. But the 1878 VAM 44 is the only instance of

spectacular tripling in the central portion of the obverse design to

be found in the Morgan dollar series. [This is still true, but now

we are better acquainted with at least one other 1878 variety with

tripled features, the VAM 115/199-1 obverse die mated with two

different 7-TF reverses. But neither compares with the VAM 44 in

terms of features or popularity.]

Thirdly, the VAM 44 has a price history that separates it from

other varieties. In the early 1980's, an AU specimen traded hands

for $4,000. Other sales of top-of-the-line AU50's have ranged from

$750 to $1,500 [Try $2,000 to $4,000 today!] That is a stratospheric

premium when one considers that the "Greysheet" price for an AU

1878 7/8TF Morgan dollar is less than $50. [Today an 1878 7/8TF

specimen in AU is STILL less than $50.] A variety premium of such

magnitude is unique to the VAM 44 and a select few other Morgan

dollar varieties, where a combination of rarity, popularity,

dramatic variety features, and a history of shockingly high prices

combine to produce a sort of mystique that keeps the variety atop

the VAM heap.

Lastly, the VAM 44 is an important variety that can be attributed

with 5x magnification, or less. This improves its desirability with

collectors. The fact is that rare Morgan dollar varieties require

magnification of 15x in order to clearly identify their particular

features. The VAM 44 is easily recognizable in a dark cave by

torchlight.

And so with understandable fervor, we come to the VAM 44 featured

in the photos accompanying this article. [The SSDC Journal then

showed close-ups of the VAM 44. I'll close here with a point made

elsewhere in that 1989 Journal. If there are only about ten known

BU VAM 44 specimens in 2004, that is the upper limit to the number

of completely uncirculated 7/8TF sets possible. And perspective-wise,

considering the thousands of VAM collectors all vying in today's

marketplace for a specimen for their 7/8TF and Top 100 sets, ten

is a very small number indeed!]

 

Vol. 1, Issue 17 -- June 7, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, David Close has some new Peace Dollar varieties and answers a Peace dollar question, a couple Morgan discoveries, the first VAM-E Wanted list, and I still want to know about your magnifiers.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

CHERRYPICK OF THE WEEK

I spent Friday afternoon at the Long Beach show, which is typically

full of thoroughly picked-over coins, so I wasn't planning on being

able to cherrypick a nice Top 100 coin, much less the AU53 1878 VAM 9

I came home with. Karma caught up with me when my flight from LA to

Chicago landed in Chicago 5 hours late. I suppose finding a VAM 44

would have cost me an extra night's stay.

NEW MORGAN DOLLAR DISCOVERIES

** John Kohut has a couple new Morgan varieties.

1890-S VAM 10A -- Far date, die breaks on right wreath top two

leaf clusters and in the field right of the top leaf cluster.

1921-D VAM 1AU -- Fine diagonal gouge through lower right side of

N up to top left of E in ONE.

NEW PEACE DOLLAR DISCOVERIES

** David Close has a bunch of new Peace dollar varieties and needs to

see some others.

I recently sent 15 Peace dollars to Leroy for attribution, and got

11 new listings! I will send photos of these on request. They are

listed below.

1922 VAM 39 -- This is a LDS of VAM 1A, this B1 reverse with slightly

doubled lower edge of rays below ONE.

1922 VAM 2AD -- Diagonal die gouge below O in GOD, giving appearance of

"Tail on O".

1922-D VAM 14A -- Depressed & retained die break below GOD.

1922-D VAM 2X -- Retained die break above L in LIBERTY.

1922-D VAM 17A -- Rim die break below N of IN.

1923 VAM 1AA -- Die break in hair, one of the "varieties" of VAM 1B

mentioned in the VAM book.

1923 VAM 1AB -- Die break in hair, another of the "varieties" of

VAM 1B. Two others are now listed as VAM 1V & VAM 1W!!

1923 VAM 1AC -- Two spikes on eagles shoulder, widely separated,

also has small die break on chin.

1923 VAM 1AD -- Four rim cuds @ date, extending slightly in field.

1923-D VAM 1AA -- Die break left of 1 in date, different from VAM 1F,

forming retained cud but no angulation on discovery coin.

1924 VAM 1N -- Vertical die gouge through S in TRVST.

To any reader who may have these, I need description & photos of the

following for my files:

1921 Peace VAM 4

1922-S VAM 6

1923 VAM 1Z

1923 VAM 12

1923-D VAM 1Z

1926 VAM 3

1935-S VAM 5

MAGNIFIER POLL

I've received a few responses to the magnifier poll. I'll publish the

results when I get a few more. Once again, send the brand (B&L, Zeiss,

Anco, etc.), construction (Doublet, Triplet, Coddington, etc.), and

magnification (7x, 10X, 16x, ...) of your favorite "field" magnifier.

PEACE DOLLAR B1 REVERSE QUESTION

** Jeff Schumacher has a question about "Early Reverse" Peace dollars,

which David Close answers.

JS: If the 1922 B1 two hill (early hub variety) is as rare a find

as they come, why did this one not make it into the Top 50? My

understanding is this B1 hub is the same hub used for the

coveted proofs. I'm baffled??

DC: The 1922 B1 reverse is not rare. There are at least 12 different

varieties known, VAMs 1A-1K plus the normal VAM 1. All except

the normal VAM 1 are scarce, and 2 of them, the VAM 1A & VAM 1F,

are in the Top 50. Hope this is helpful,

1900-O/CC VAM 10 QUESTION

** Ash Harrison contemplates the existence of the VAM 10.

I have a specialty in O/CC varieties and I cannot find a VAM 10

(or 10A) WITHOUT the clash (In). I therefore believe there may not

really be a VAM 10A. Please check [your coins] and let me know what

you think. I have found VAM 10 coins with extremely worn or light

clash marks, but they were just lighter strikes of the same coin.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings).

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM-1B3,

pictured as VAM-1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 18 -- June 14, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, another 1878 VAM 14.20 is found, last chance for the Spring Ultra Rarities Auction, and how to get someone to evaluate your VAMs.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

CHERRYPICK OF THE WEEK

Not to be outdone by my 1878 8TF VAM 9 find at the Long Beach show,

Larry Briggs reports having purchased a VAM 14.20.

MAGNIFIER POLL RESULTS

I received about a dozen responses to the magnifier poll. The most

popular magnifier by far is the Bausch & Lomb 10x Triplet. There were

a few 16x ANCO doublets, one 20x loupe, and a 10x Aplanat in the bunch,

too. Thanks for playing.

TRADE DOLLAR TERMINAL DIE BREAK

** John Wilson shares an interesting Trade dollar.

They're not in the VAM book, but that doesn't mean there aren't

interesting things to find on Trade Dollars. John Wilson shares

an 1875-S with a spectacular reverse terminal die break. Here's

a link to a picture:

http://varslab.com/75sbreak.jpg

QUESTION ABOUT HAVING SOMEONE EVALUATE VAMs

** Mark Davis asks about a coin he has and how to get it inspected.

MD: I have an 1898-O Morgan silver dollar that I would like to have

someone look at. The date has been almost removed, I believe that

it was done at the mint. There is extra metal on the rim below the

date. A die crack runs from the 4th star to the first leg of the

M in UNUM. Doubling under the nose, lips and ear lobe. Die clashes

on the observe and reserve. The mint mark is set high and centered.

there is also another O mintmark below the first but you have to

get the coin turned just rite and have high magnification to see

it. Who can I send it to look it over and give me an opinion on

it. Is it a new VAM or is it an error coin? Is it worth anything?

Any help would be appreciated.

JB: If you have a coin you believe is not cataloged in the VAM book,

the best thing to do is send it to Leroy Van Allen. He will

attribute the coin and list it as a new discovery if it is indeed

new. When sending him a coin, ALWAYS INCLUDE MONEY FOR RETURN

REGISTERED POSTAGE! To see how much this will be, go to

http://postcalc.usps.gov, and follow the instructions. Leroy

doesn't charge for this service, so if you don't INCLUDE MONEY

FOR RETURN REGISTERED POSTAGE, you'll be stiffing the patriarch

of the VAM collecting hobby. His address is:

Leroy Van Allen

P. O. Box 196

Sidney, OH 45365

One other important thing is not only to be sure to INCLUDE

MONEY FOR RETURN REGISTERED POSTAGE, but that if you are mailing

coins registered mail (the safest option the post office offers),

you may NOT use a bubble mailer. You need to use a paper envelope

or a box sealed with paper tape. Plastic packaging tape is not

allowed for registered mail. Some post offices have paper tape

in the lobby for customer use, and some don't.

As for what your coin could be, there is one doubled profile 1898-O

listed -- the VAM 22. Like most varieties in the VAM catalog, it

doesn't command a premium in today's marketplace. Keep in mind,

however, that a few years ago, neither did most 1879-S Rev. of '78

or 1921-D varieties. Today, some of the better varieties of these

coins command huge multiples of the common varieties.

LAST CHANCE FOR SPRING ULTRA RARITIES SALE

This is your last chance to participate in the largest advanced Morgan

dollar collector auction of the year. Another will not come along for

12 months. Bids for Morgan and Peace dollar varieties for the Spring,

2004 Ultra Rarities auction will close this Wednesday at 9PM Eastern

Standard time.

To access the auction, please visit http://www.rcicoins.com

Then click on the Spring Ultra Rarities Auction button, and then on

the large "Click Here" button. A description of all the lots and links

to obverse and reverse images of the lots will appear.

Be sure to get your bids in early as the lines will be jammed the

closer we get to the auction closing at 9 PM.

Good luck!

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a few weeks.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM-1B3,

pictured as VAM-1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 19 -- June 21, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, some old letters from Leroy, and an 1879-S discussion.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

MID AMERICA SHOW THIS WEEK

I'll be at the Mid-America Coin Expo in Rosemont, IL, this Saturday.

I'm hoping to be able to contribute a good cherrypick next week, but

I'd like to hear of everyone else's, too.

OLD LETTERS FROM LEROY VAN ALLEN

** Ed Malinowski shares some letters from Leroy Van Allen dated

in 1976. Some things have changed just a bit since then. For

starters, there are a few more people interested in 1878 varieties

than there used to be.

27 APRIL 1976

Dear Ed:

Your letter of 21 April described an 1878P 7TF II 5 - B1? Morgan

dollar you thought might be unlisted. From the doubled olive branch,

talons, legs & polishing it might bea new B/An reverse that Bill

Fivaz pointed out to me in June 1974. Its description is:

45 II 2 - B/An (Doubled Talons) R-5

Obverse II 2

Reverse B/An - Left leg is doubled with one & one-half normal width.

Middle talon is doubled on left foot & outside talon is doubled

on right foot. Olive branch is doubled above tail feathers.

Die has been overpolished in eagle's wings & tail feathers.

Diagonal polishing marks are in tail feathers.

The obverse of teh above possibly may have been a II 5 or your coin

may be a new combo.

If your coins has a different reverse than this it may be a new B/A

or B1 reverse and I would like to examine it.

Yours truly,

Leroy Van Allen

22 JUNE 1976

Dear Mr. Malinowski:

Sorry for delay in answering your letters, I was tied up reviewing

all the galley proofs of our revised dollar book & then my sister

& her family from San Diego visited me for several weeks. The

dollar book is now scheduled to be released by FCI this October.

Your enclosed coin is a VAM 45 but with diagonal line thru IB in

LIBERTY. The revised book does not include these die states as

separate die variety VAM #'s, but includes such things as die gouges,

scratches, clashes, etc. in descriptions of "normal" die. So I've

added notation that some VAM 84 have this die scratch, but it is

too late to include it in revised book. A supplement to the book

will be put out a year after the book is released.

I've also noted that VAM 84 has dash below the first 8. The coin

I checked only had large dash below 8.

From what Mallis has said to me the FCI VAM club has over 120

members. The only thing I have seen so far are letter heads &

envelopes on the VAM club -- no newsletter yet.

I think that you & Pete Bishal along with Bill Fivaz are the most

active 1878 dollar collectors. Messing, Reader, & Mr. X (he prefers

to remain unknown) have also been active in pointing out new

varieties.

I have not seen a II 1 - B2b, only the II 2 - B2b. This would be

a new variety if true.

The VAM 39 I examined had doubled 1 & 2 TF on top surface at very

bottom of TF ends. It was rather slight & I didn't bother to

include it in the description since there were so many other things

messed up on reverse. The new book edition will have photo of

BU VAM 39 that will show this slight doubling. All other B/A

photos will be of BU coins except VAM 32 which is XF.

I have seen most VAM 1878s in BU as hvae Fivaz & Bishal. There may

be a few not yet seen in Mint State but the only I know for sure is

VAM 32.

Yours truly,

Leroy Van Allen

1879-S REVERSE OF '78 DISCUSSION

** Mike Torgrimson shares a conversation with Dave Wang about 79-S

Rev. of '78 dollars.

MT: The VAM 25 you listed as #23 known on this email came back from

ANACS today. It came back as an MS62 / ANACS #2624867. More info

for your population census.

DW: Congrats. That ties it in a 3 way tie for finest known. Three

ANACS MS62's. I have a fourth one, I think should be MS62 as

well, but it's raw, so I'll put it in 4th place. :)

MT: I still have the PCGS AU 58 I first reported to you. I have only

4 varieties so far in my small group of examples: VAMs 4, 25,

39, & 42. With more than one of each.

Would you, or, one of your research group folks ever be interested

in trading the VAM 25 for a partial set of solid MS60 grade coins

from the 10 or so VAMS I do not have yet. I would like to

develop a reference set, but, I really can't afford MS63 examples.

I do not know the relative values of the other VAM's in terms of

their rarity.

DW: Even though VAM 25's have "exploded" in terms of population, I

think the prices on those are still holding up because they're

easy to attribute. I would guestimate that an AU58 should be

worth between $250 and $350. Maybe $200 on a bad day, and

$500 on a really good day. I would love to see one in auction.

As to trades, I would guess that quite a few people would be

interested in a trade. VAM 9's are very easy to come by, so

I would see if someone would trade you a VAM 43 or VAM 52...

At least some of the other's rated R-5 at least.

 

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a few weeks.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM-1B3,

pictured as VAM-1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

BU 1879-S Rev. of '78 wanted for trade for 1879-S VAM 25 AU58.

Contact Mike Torgrimson, mike@zeewebnet.com, if interested.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 20 -- July 5, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, a new 1878 7TF variety, results of the Spring Ultra Rarities Auction, discussion, and a major cherrypick by Ash Harrison.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

CHERRYPICK OF THE WEEK

** Ash Harrison had a major score a week ago.

I was in Raleigh for the Raleigh Coin Club Show this weekend

and while the traffic was in a lull, I decided to go over to

another dealer's table and look at his dollars. I was peering

through the Allstate case scanning the standard dates for VAMs

when I saw it. My heart either stopped or jumped, but it felt

like it was in my throat. I had stopped over the 1888-O coins,

while looking at a coin that I've never seen before--a mint state

Scar Face! Well, for a second, I thought to myself, "no way, it

has to be a big scratch," but I looked closely, and I saw it ran

through the dot between E and PLURIBUS and I knew it was the coin.

It was marked $25. I had the dealer take it out of the case and

show it to me, and I asked him "what will you take for it", and he

replied $22, but then added (knowing me) "it's probably some rare

VAM". I said "yeah, it's a rare VAM" as I was pulling out my

wallet. Well, when I got back over to my table, it took me 5

minutes to get out my TOP100 VAM booklet to check it out, because

I just knew he was going to come over and say "wait a minute",

but he didn't.

I went back over to the dealer today and thanked him profusely for

what he did, and he was super nice. I'm not sure he knows yet

what he did...

http://varslab.com/obverse2.jpg

NEW 1878 7TF VARIETY

Exciting as any new discovery is, nothing beats a new 1878-P

discovery. Collector Charles Calkins submitted this coin to

me for attribution and encapsulation, and I couldn't find it

anywhere in my photos. I showed it to Jeff Oxman, and he couldn't

find a match in his set, so I sent it to Leroy Van Allen and

it came back a new subvariety.

1878 VAM 130A - Repaired 4th right star, horizontal gouge through

bottoms of IB in LIBERTY, two die chips in Liberty's cap, one

above and one below the ribbon.

Here's a picture of the IB die gouge:

http://varslab.com/1878_130A_o1_sm.jpg

and here are the die chips:

http://varslab.com/1878_130A_o3_sa.jpg

SPRING ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION RESULTS

In brief, this was the most successful Spring Ultra Rarities

auction yet with more than 80% of all the lots sold. Advanced

Morgan collectors are still contacting me to enquire about obtaining

unsold lots at the Minimum Bid. In such cases, I need to contact

the consignor to see if he will permit the sale, but in most cases,

the consignor has agreed to the offer.

As with any auction, anything can happen and this auction was no

exception. A raw and attractive 1878 8TF VF35 sold for an astonishing

low of $45! Were bidders asleep on this one? An 1878-CC VAM 6

SEGS 50, labeled cleaned, scratched sold for $35! VG bid for any

common 1878-CC is $73 and this was a strong and scarce doubled

die obverse!

Top honors went to Lot #26, an NGC AU50 1878 7/3TF VAM 44 which

established a new record of $3350., after auction commission and

shipping. Likewise, record prices were established for a

raw MS 61PL obverse 1878 7TF VAM 169 at $333, an ANACS 45 1880

VAM 8 at $805, an NGC MS 61 1889-O VAM 17 at $431, a raw AU50

1901 VAM 5 at $736, a raw AU 1921-S VAM 1B6 "Thorn Head" for

$287, a raw AU 1923 VAM 1C for $609, and a raw XF+ 1934-D VAM 4

"The King of Peace" for $438.

For those of you who were successful bidders, congratulations!

For those of you who were underbidders, better luck next year.

For those of you who didn't participate, please consider either

consigning or acquiring rare Morgan & Peace dollar varieties

through our auction next Spring.

For further information, please contact Michael S. Fey at

Feyms@aol.com or visit http://www.rcicoins.com and click the

Spring Ultra Rarities tab, then the catalog image, and the

"prices realized" links at the next to the last page in the

online auction catalog.

THEFT AT MID-AMERICA SHOW

Dealer Fred Colombo was robbed at the Mid-America show in Rosemont,

IL. If you suspect you see any of the coins in the list at the link

below, contact Mike Golz, Rosemont Police Department, 847 823-1134

ext. 301, case number 2004-06-0554

http://www.k6az.com/forums/stolen_coins.htm

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a few weeks.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM 1B3,

pictured as VAM 1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

BU 1879-S Rev. of '78 wanted for trade for 1879-S VAM 25 AU58.

Contact Mike Torgrimson, mike@zeewebnet.com, if interested.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 21 -- July 12, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

In this issue, Rob Joyce gets closer to finishing his Thornhead set, and some recent eBay prices.

As your friendly VAM-E editor will be on the road for a couple weeks, the next issue of the VAM-E will be sent out on Monday, August 2.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

CHERRYPICK OF THE WEEK

** Rob Joyce comes one coin closer to a tough set

I just found a 21-S VAM-1B5 at the Baltimore show today so I'm

excited. Sweet! It was buried in a $10 bin from which I extracted

several other 21-P, D and D vams. The coin is AU-50 but has an

obverse scratch (not very noticeable) on the head. This does

not bother me as this is a major rarity and quite a discovery.

I now have 5 of the 8 states of the VAM-1Bx series and hope to

find them all.

VAM PRICES ON EBAY

Here's a smattering of prices realized for assorted VAMs on eBay

1890-CC VAM 4 "Tailbar" ANACS 50 $1,150.00

1878 8TF VAM 15 NGC 63 $871.11

1882-O/S VAM 5 NGC 63 $800.00

1878 8TF VAM 15 ANACS 61PL $613.78

1880-S VAM 10 "8/7" NGC 65 $575.00

1903-S VAM 2 "Micro S" VF30 $565.00

1878 VAM 118 EF40 $438.56

1880 VAM 39A ANACS Net EF45 PL $400.00

1886-O VAM 1A NGC 58 $270.00

1879-S Rev '78 VAM 43 PCGS 62 $227.50

1921-D VAM 9 MS63 $170.26

1923 VAM 1A "Whisker Jaw" ANACS 64 $167.50

1921-S VAM 1B6 EF40 $129.00

1921-D VAM 3A AU50 $100.00

1921 Morgan VAM 3Q MS61 $81.00

SEND STUFF FOR THE VAM-E

Since I'll be on the road for the next couple weeks, the next issue

of the VAM-E will be mailed out on Monday, August 2, in time for

whatever pre-pre-ANA show is that week.

THEFT AT MID-AMERICA SHOW

Dealer Fred Colombo was robbed at the Mid-America show in Rosemont,

IL. If you suspect you see any of the coins in the list at the link

below, contact Mike Golz, Rosemont Police Department, 847 823-1134

ext. 301, case number 2004-06-0554

http://www.k6az.com/forums/stolen_coins.htm

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a few weeks.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM 1B3,

pictured as VAM 1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

Low grade circ. 1901 shifted eagle (VAM 3), and an 1880 VAM 6 in AU

wanted. Please contact Michael Fey, Feyms@aol.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 22 -- August 2, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

I'm back from my vacation. This is the closest I got to anything coin-related while I was gone:

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/nickel.jpg

In this issue, Dan White will have set to show at the ANA show, some updated want lists.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

NEW DISCOVERIES

** Jack Lee shows that 1921-D is a good date for discoveries (there

have been roughly 12 new 1921-D varieties discovered since Rob

Joyce's book came out last November.) Also, George Powell has

a new 1887 discovery.

1921-D VAM 1AV - Thin, diagonal die gouge from the middle of the outside

of the loop of the D to the top of the O in DOLLAR.

1921-D VAM 1AW - Several thin, horizontal die gouges among ITE of

UNITED.

1887 VAM 22 - Doubled 3rd right and 3rd left stars without date

digits in denticles.

FINEST 8TF SHORT SET AT ANA

Dan White will be exhibiting the finest certified short set of 1878

8TF dollars at the SSDC meeting in conjunction wiht the ANA Money

Show in Pittsburgh. The short set consists of VAMs 1 through 14, 14.1

through 14.5, and 15 through 23, omitting the ultra rarities.

THEFT AT MID-AMERICA SHOW

Dealer Fred Colombo was robbed at the Mid-America show in Rosemont,

IL. If you suspect you see any of the coins in the list at the link

below, contact Mike Golz, Rosemont Police Department, 847 823-1134

ext. 301, case number 2004-06-0554

http://www.k6az.com/forums/stolen_coins.htm

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a few weeks.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM 1B3,

pictured as VAM 1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

Low grade circ. 1901 shifted eagle (VAM 3), and an 1880 VAM 6 in AU

wanted. Please contact Michael Fey, Feyms@aol.com

1923 VAM 1C, VAM 1E and 1924 VAM 1C wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 23 -- August 9, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, Jeff Oxman has an article about 8-TF Morgans and John Coxe shares his PL Morgan varieties.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

A FEAST FOR THE SENSES

** by Jeff Oxman, President, SSDC

From rather humble beginnings in the mid-1960s, VAM collecting

has recently developed into one of the most exciting areas in all

of numismatics. Indeed, if market prices are a reflection of

the strengthening of collector interest, then the current

astronomical prices for high-demand VAMs is proof of the

sky-rocketing popularity of Morgan & Peace dollar varieties.

And one of the most thrilling areas of VAM collecting today

is the 1878 8-TF set of 41 varieties. Considered by many to

be the "caviar" of Morgan dollars, this set has some easily

obtainable varieties, yet it contains more than a dozen major

rarities. Indeed, it represents the ultimate numismatic

challenge for many silver dollar collectors. Clint Eastwood

may have made "Make My Day" famous, but often, those who've

cherry-picked one of these 8-TF ultra-rarities have said

it's "Made Their Year!"

8-TF varieties have low mintages. In fact, they have

minuscule mintages, as the total 8-TF mintage is speculated

to be no more than 750,000. That number would put it near

the top of the heap in terms of low mintage for all individual

dates in the Morgan dollar series. But consider this: That

total of 750,000 is for all 41 different varieties. Who

could argue? These are extremely RARE coins. In fact,

I believe that some specific varieties had a total original

mintage of less than 1,000.

And talk about beauty! The 8-TF Morgan is widely regarded

as a "feast for the senses." Why? The low individual mintages

for each variety meant a large percentage of the specimens

were struck with stunning proof-like surfaces. After all, the

original mintage of some of the 8-TF varieties may have been

so low that ALL of the coins struck from that die pair were

proof-like. And that's precisely the case for more than a

half dozen of these varieties, where only proof-like (and DMPL)

specimens are known.

The high-relief aspect of the original Morgan dollar design

also adds to the coin's eye appeal. Few collectors realize

that the 8-TF dies were prepared by Mint personnel so that

the design was in higher-than-normal relief. The result gives

a dramatic aspect to the frosty devices and highly reflective

fields. Simply put, the first Morgan dollars looked spectacular.

Need convincing? Check out the reverse of the VAM 14-4,

where the deep-dish proof-like surfaces create a mirror effect

capable of reflecting light across the room!

And lastly, I believe most, if not all, the 8-TF dies were

pieced together from a number of different hubs. The result

is that some of the most incredible design doubling found in

the Morgan dollar series can be seen on 8-TF specimens. Each

die was individually touched up and polished, and collectors

have spent decades researching and collecting the specific die

varieties based on these features. Get bored easily? There's

enough to keep most collectors interested for a life-time in

the 8-TF set.

So the question is what's the best way to collect the 8-TF

set? There are a number of different avenues, but most

specialists travel down one of two different roads. The VAMs

beginning with VAM 14-6 and ending with VAM 14-20 are so rare,

that only two collectors have been able to assemble a complete

set of all the 8-TF varieties.

The other approach is to collect what we've termed the "Short

Set." This set consists of VAMs 1 through 14.4 and VAMs 15-23.

All are obtainable, yet are extremely desirable. The investment

of time and money in a Short Set is considerable, but the rewards

are a set that's complete and the satisfaction of putting

together a major VAM set. And there is the added benefit that

the expertise gained in collecting the Short Set often enables

a collector to locate some of the ultra-rarities found in the

8-TF Full Set. It's sort of like finding the Lost Dutchman

Mine while searching for a local Arizona gold strike!

To facilitate both ways of collecting the 8-TF series, the VAM

Registry found on VAMLINK.com will soon incorporate BOTH the 8-TF

Short Set and the Full Set. This gives everyone an oppor-

tunity to complete one of the two sets, depending on their time

and financial resources. In terms of numbers, at least eight

complete Short Sets have already been reported to the VAMLINK

site, and as I've stated, two full Complete Sets are known.

If it's true that the thrill-of-the-hunt is the engine that drives

variety collecting, the search for 8-TF varieties will soon be

able to shift into an even higher gear, as there are now TWO

major approaches to completing an 8-TF set.

Interested in seeing the finest known 8-TF Short Set in person?

It's amazing! Come to the SSDC meeting at the upcoming ANA Show

in Pittsburgh. The meeting is on Friday, August 20, 2004, at

1 pm in Room 317, and Dan White has agreed to bring his entire

Short Set to the meeting. For those who haven't seen that many

high grade 8-TF specimens in one place, this is an exciting

opportunity that you just can't afford to miss!

To conclude, let me direct your attention to something that

Ernest Hemingway once wrote. When he was young, he spent some

time in Paris as a struggling writer, and looking back he wrote:

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young

man, then wherever you go the rest of your life, it stays with

you, for Paris is a moveable feast." It was true of writing

for Hemingway. And it's true of the "moveable feast" of VAM

collecting today, as I believe the story behind each coin in

your collection, the appreciated values, your adventures in

the hobby, and most importantly, the friendships made, will

last a life-time.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2004. Jeff Oxman

NGC REGISTRY OF PL VAMs

** John Coxe shares his PL NGC registry set and welcomes comments

I am a long time collector and have been specializing in DMPL

Morgan varieties for some time. Anyway, if you are maintaining

(or know who is) a condition census for VAMs, you might want to

check out my NGC registry set at Collectors' Society

(http://www.collectors-society.com, then join or log in and go to

collection #5673 or this link: http://www.collectors-society.com/registry/coins/set_detail.asp?PeopleSetID=5673).

Every coin has a photo and description

and most are attributed by VAM. A few VAMs are tough calls and

might represent post VAM book discoveries or unknown ones.

Nonetheless, many are top of the condition census and rare in

PL/DMPL. Check out the 1880-P in particular. It is a VAM-18.

But a gouge is evidenced, giving a characteristic eye spike

as well. It is tiny, and I might be able to send you a detail

scan at the eye. But have you run across this before?

Anyway, I thought you might like the collection, which is probably

one of the better DMPL variety sets out there. I write a lot in

many of the descriptions. If you note errors or things better

stated differently, I am open to such criticism.

TOP 100 INSIGHTS & VALUE GUIDE: A SURPRISE

** Michael Fey has an announcement regarding the Summer Top 100

Insights

Unfortunately, the ANA Convention in Pittsburg is a couple of weeks

late this year, which will push back compiling and mailing the

Summer issue of Top 100 Insights & Value Guide into late August.

I am trying to include information that comes out at the ANA

Convention in the Summer issue rather than waiting until the Fall

issue in order to keep everyone informed about what happened at

the Convention.

This issue will be worth your wait as there will also be a surprise

in both Top 100 Insights and the Value Guide.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM 1B3,

pictured as VAM 1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

Low grade circ. 1901 shifted eagle (VAM 3), and an 1880 VAM 6 in AU

wanted. Please contact Michael Fey, Feyms@aol.com

1923 VAM 1C, VAM 1E and 1924 VAM 1C wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 24 -- August 16, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, Leroy Van Allen shares an article about denticles, an announcement about the ANA show, Jeff Oxman finishes the 8TF set, and the VAMming Olympics.

The VAM-E will be on a two week hiatus after this issue while I'm away for business. Expect the next issue on Labor Day.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

VAMMING OLYMPICS

The Olympic Games are now in progress, and I am pleased to

announce the First Games of the VAMming Olympiad! The games

will be played at bourse floors, auctions, and over the internet

between now and Labor Day weekend.

Events are as follows:

- Cherrypicking for Dollars: Winner will have cherrypicked a coin

worth the most amount of money over the amount paid between now

and Labor Day weekend.

- Top 100 Dash: Winner will have filled in the most holes in a

Top 100 set between now and labor day weekend.

- Floor Exercise: Winner will have the best group of cherrypicks

from one session on a bourse floor between now and Labor Day

weekend (degree of difficulty and artistic impression points judged

by your editor).

There are probably some other events that I haven't thought of yet.

If you want to suggest one and submit your entry, go ahead.

In the spirit of the ancient Olympic games, no medals will awarded.

The winners will be welcome to fashion a laurel wreath out of some

branches from the corkscrew willow in my back yard. In the spirit

of the modern Olympic games, I ask that you do not compete while

naked. In the spirit of something good to read, please send in your

entries. Good luck!

DENTICLE MANIA

** by Leroy Van Allen

Few collectors give the denticles on the Morgan dollar a second

thought. It's regular saw-tooth design is rather uninteresting

compared to the detailed Liberty head and spread eagle. However,

in recent years some pretty spectacular die varieties have been

reported that involve the denticles. These include die breaks on

the rim that extend through the denticles to the field, damaged

denticles and denticle impressions on the coin.

Rim die breaks, or so-called rim cuds, are fairly common and are

not listed for that reason. Only die breaks that extend through

the denticles and into the coin field near the peripheral lettering

and stars are listed. These are very visible, spectacular looking

and quite rare. The largest rim cud known at present is a 1921 D

VAM 1X where the break is at E.P on the obverse and extends into

the tops of the letters. It was reported by Jeff Oxman in October

2001 and is a really amazing gigantic die break! Early die states

are known where the die crack thru E.P matches the eventual die

break.

Another reporting of a large rim cud is the 1921 D VAM 1AQ where

the break is between the BU in PLURIBUS and extends from the rim

through the denticles to the field above letters. This was reported

by Rob Joyce in March 2004 who compiled the book on the 1921 D

die breaks but is still finding new ones!

A very unusual denticle variety is a damaged one of 1921 D VAM 1G

revised, which has the small die break in the second S in STATES.

George Powell reported in June 2004 of some peculiar looking

circular depressions next to the denticle spaces above IBU on the

obverse. After much head scratching and study of the coin, it is

thought that these depressions were caused by damage to the

denticle edges. Apparently the denticle edges were pushed in on

the die at the IBU segment. This caused the denticle spaces to

become longer into the coin field. And it also caused the denticle

space edges near the field to be pushed up on the die. This

resulted in the coins being struck with circular depressions at

the end of the denticle spaces next to the field. A really different

type of die variety!

A related die variety to the damaged denticles is a 1921 S VAM 5A

that has very shallow denticles on the left side of the obverse.

It was reported by John Baumgart in April 2004. There are extensive

polishing lines on the obverse fields in an attempt to remove some

heavy die cracks, but the Mint went too far and caused some very

shallow denticles.

One of the more spectacular denticle varieties is where the denticle

design has been impressed into the central design. In December 2001,

John Roberts reported an 1878 S VAM 17A that had raised lumps in

lines thru OLL of DOLLAR, below OL and below the left tail feathers.

Their spacing and shape matched those of denticles. So somehow the

edge of another die was impressed several times against this reverse

die. How such a thing could happen is open to conjecture -- was

another die accidently dropped onto it, repeatedly? Did a die become

loose and cocked in a press die holder and clash against the

opposing die? The answer isn't clear at this time.

A second case of denticle impressions was reported by Bill Fivaz in

March 2004 for a 1921 P VAM 40A. There are five raised triangles

below the left tail feathers. The spacings between the raised

triangles matches the denticle spacings and the shape could have

been made by the outside of the denticles when impressed at an angle.

There are some really interesting and spectacular die varieties

related to the mundane denticles, if you know what to look for!

"VAM QUEST" SSDC MEETING AT ANA SHOW

The Annual Meeting of the SSDC will be Friday, August 20, 2004,

at 1:00 pm in Room 317 at the Pittsburgh ANA show. Everyone is

encouraged to attend.

The meeting will be a little over an hour in length and will include

information about the restructuring and reorganizing of the SSDC,

an exhibit of Dan White's finest known 8TF Short Set, the state of

VAM collecting today, development of an SSDC web site, disemmination

of cutting edge VAM information, and questions from anyone in

attendance.

JEFF OXMAN COMPLETES FULL SET OF 8TF DOLLARS

** by Michael Fey

On August 4th, 2004, Jeff Oxman became only the second Morgan dollar

specialist to assemble a complete set of all 41 different 1878 VAMs

with the eagle on the reverse displaying 8 tail feathers. The last

"ultra rare" specimen obtained was the elusive VAM 14.20 with only

three specimens known.

http://varslab.com/jeffslastcoin.jpg

Purchased from veteran dealer, Larry Briggs, for a high four figure

price, the VAM 14.20 sits atop the Want Lists of hundreds, if not

thousands, of VAM collectors around the country. Oxman was quoted

as saying, "This completes not only an 8-TF set, but fulfills a

dream I've pursued for the last 25 years -- to have a specimen of

every known variety of the most tantalizing set in numismatics."

The set of 1878 varieties with 8-TF reverse, considered the "Holy

Grail" among many advanced Morgan dollar collectors, includes a

few common VAMs, many scarce varieties, and 15 "ultra rarities"

with only a handful of specimens known in all grades according to

Oxman. In fact, the Oxman/Hartnett guidebook, The 1878 Morgan

Dollar 8-TF Attribution Guide, lists at least five other 8-TF

varieties with less than 10 specimens known. One of these recently

traded hands for over $6500 in Extremely Fine condition, surpassing

even the highly regarded 1893-S Morgan dollar key date in the same

grade.

Michael Fey, who co-authored the Top 100 Morgan dollar book with

Mr. Oxman in 1997, and was the first to complete the set about a

year ago. "Jeff is to be congratulated for such a tremendous

numismatic accomplishment, reaching a mountain top where only two

of us have arrived so far," Fey said.

All 1878 8-TFs, using a design created by George T. Morgan, were

minted in the first three weeks of Morgan dollar production. They

had a higher relief than all other Morgan dollars to follow, and

when found with a cameo deep mirror proof-like appearance are

among the most beautiful of Morgan dollars ever minted.

The reason that so many varieties struck from Morgan's new dies

are so rare is that many of the dies couldn't stand up to the

intense striking pressure of the coining presses. Consequently,

short die life resulted in many "ultra rare" varieties with beautiful

one- or two-sided cameo proof-like surfaces. In such cases, even

deep mirror proof-like specimens show spectacular die breaks, a

sure indication that the die broke within the first few hundred

strikes.

VAM is an acronym for Leroy Van Allen and A. George Mallis who were

first to catalog individual varieties of obverse and reverse dies

by VAM number. The first Morgan dollar they cataloged is the 8-TF

VAM 1, the second VAM 2 and so on for 1878 and each subsequent year

of Morgan dollar production. VAMs 5, 9, 14.11 and 15 are "Top 100"

coins and command a large premium in all grades. For instance, an

NGC MS63 VAM 9, the "First Morgan" silver dollar variety struck,

just traded hands in a R.M. Smythe auction for nearly $10,000.

Veteran 8-TF collectors are quick to point out that VAMs 14.5

through VAMs 14.20 are also expensive and especially tough to find

in any grade. The first VAM 14.20 to be sold was auctioned on eBay

in 2003 for over $4000 and it graded Net Very Fine with AU details.

The total mintage of 1878 8-TF silver dollars is estimated to be

less than 750,000, and that number includes all 41 different

varieties. With so many "ultra rare" VAMs in the set, the upshot

is that completing a set of the fascinating varieties is a nearly

impossible feat. Yet, it is the thrill of the hunt that keeps

VAM specialists on the road to completing an 8-TF Morgan dollar set.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM 1B3,

pictured as VAM 1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

Low grade circ. 1901 shifted eagle (VAM 3), and an 1880 VAM 6 in AU

wanted. Please contact Michael Fey, Feyms@aol.com

1923 VAM 1C, VAM 1E and 1924 VAM 1C wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1921 Peace VAM 1D

& VAM 4; 1922 VAM 1K; 1922-D VAM 1F, 2I(AU/better), 2S, 2T, 2U;

1923 VAM 1Z; 1923-D VAM 1Z; 1924 VAM 1I; 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

 

Vol. 1, Issue 25 -- September 6, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, Michael Fey gives his take on the ANA show, some interesting new varieties, the results of the first VAMming Olympics, and an update from the membership secretary.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

VAMMING OLYMPICS

Much as the Greeks had a hard time filling seats at the Olympics

this summer, I didn't receive many entries for the VAMming Olympics.

Here are the results. All winners are eligible to take some branches

out of my corkscrew willow and fashion a laurel wreath that can be

worn with pride to the next show you attend.

----

FLOOR EXERCISE - ROB JOYCE

My first day at the ANA (Thursday) was all about hitting the floor

to find 1921-D varieties: my passion. I started around the bourse

and kept being told the 21-D coins were scanned the day before by

other VAMers. I wasn't finding much, confirming these rumors. This

is the down side of writing a book on a specialty area and

educating others. However, I take it as a great sign that others

have caught 1921-D fever!

My luck picked up mid-morning as I found an ANACS holder MS-63

unattributed VAM-1G Late die state. The late die states are a

tough find. Sweet!

I found another table where they told me their 21-Ds were already

checked. I looked anyway and had a good conversation with the

dealer. "Ta-da" a box of coins in flips appeared with more 1921-Ds.

It's amazing what is lurking behind the tables of some booths.

"Nobody looked at these." Music to my ears. Inside I found a

VAM-1T Die break E LDS in AU55 and a VAM-1S die gouge "ED" of

UNITED also AU-55. The final coin of interest had a die break on

the D of UNITED that appears to be a new variety. The dealer was

genuinely interested in my cracked and gouged 21-D die stories

and admired the finds with me.

From there I "reexamined" a lot of 21-Ds following in the footsteps

of others with no success. I looked at a lot of 21-S coins along

with the 21-Ds. I did find a 21-S VAM-1A die gouge in the BU of

PLURIBUS. This is readily available and can be found with a

little hunting. It is a nice large and deep die gouge so I like

the variety. Larry Briggs had shown me one earlier in the day

that had a "phantom S" mint mark. This coin was also missing the

mint mark. It appears some die state of the VAM-1A has a filled

mint mark. Although I looked at a lot of 21-S coins, I didn't see

a single thorn head variety. These are the VAM-1B1 through VAM-1B7

coins that have an amazing series of gouges inflicted on the die

and then polished away. I can usually find the most common variety,

the 1921-S VAM-1B6, but I came up dry on all thornhead stages at

the ANA. If you are curious about the thornheads, check out more

details here:

http://www.rjrc.com/1921_s_vam1b.htm

My 21-D and D finds were all made before lunch and I was finding

nothing as the day went on. I gave up, feeling pretty tired and

decided to look at something else. I began digging in a large junk

box of circ Morgans. Half way though there was nothing of interest.

I finally found an 88-O Oval O and was so happy to find any variety

after all the work. I put it aside even though it was cleaned.

Sometimes I just can't bear to put back a cherrypick even if it

is a problem coin. VAMing is a sickness ;-) Things got much better

in the next few minutes. I pulled out an 1887 VAM-1A Donkey Tail

die break! It was a very nice original XF coin with a late die state

break. Unfortunately the reverse has a couple rim hits, evidently

from being tumbled into this junk box as they are nice and fresh,

not slightly toned like the rest of the coin. In any event it

was a keeper! I continued rummaging through the box and found

another die break... An 1880P VAM-1A knobbed 8. It too was a late

die state with a nice knob coming off the 8. This was also an XF

coin with no problems.

I continued to walk the floor and checked some peace dollars. My

streak continued and I discovered a 1924 VAM-5A wing break. The

coin is low end MS with some hairlines.

I had an amazing day at the ANA and my best -by far- cherry

picking session ever!

----

TOP 100 DASH - MARK COOPER

Mark Cooper gets to lop off some branches in the "Top 100 dash"

category, having seemingly handicapped himself by attempting this

event at an antique mall, but going home with an 1878-S VAM 27 (B1

reverse) G, an 1887-S VAM 2 (S/S) EF, and an 1886 VAM 21 AU55.

----

CHERRYPICKING FOR DOLLARS - CLAYTON CHRISTENSEN

I just got back from ANACS an 1878 VAM 9 graded Unc. details, net

AU-50 cleaned. It was purchased unattributed raw for $76.99.

NEW 1921 INFREQUENT REEDING AND OTHER DISCOVERIES

** Leroy Van Allen reports a significant discovery for this variety.

A 1921-P Infrequently Reeded new variety, VAM 44, (appropriate

notorious number!) has just been reported by Ash Harrison with the

later D2 reverse. Up to this time the 7 known varieties have only

been listed with the earlier D1 reverse. The I.R. variety was first

reported by Dr. Wolfson in Dec 23, 1964 issue of Coin World. 7 die

varieties with D1 reverse were reported by James Baxter in 1978 & 79.

This is the most significant new die-collar combination to be

reported since the 1992 VAM book was published!!

Ash also has reported a new reverse design for the 1900 S, the first

die combo with C4 reverse and first new variety,VAM 18, for that

date since 1992 VAM book was published. It comes with a very near

date obverse.

And while he was at it, Ash reported a spectacular doubled eyelid

and hair above ear for 1901 S that is unlisted and a new VAM 10.

Again, it is the first new variety for that date since the 1992 VAM

book was published!

ANA CONVENTION REPORT

** Michael Fey gives his recap of the ANA Convention

As I sit here on Monday morning digging out from all my activities

at the Pittsburgh ANA Convention, I though a quick recap of the

convention might be helpful to those of you who couldn't make it.

It's getting harder to cherrypick Morgan & Peace dollar varieties

[your editor implores the reader to view Rob Joyce's floor

exercise performance above as an anomoly]. Dealers are becoming

more educated, and collectors are capitalizing on fresh deals before

coins even make it to the show. However, new information and

discoveries about rare Morgan & Peace dollar varieties are allowing

advanced collectors to stay one step ahead of most dealers. Such

was the case with information shared by those in attendance at the

2nd annual Society of Silver Dollar Collectors (SSDC) meeting, and

information given in a talk given by Michael Fey, Jeff Oxman, Mark

Kimpton, David Wang, and Rob Joyce titled "Understanding the

Advanced Silver Dollar Market". Knowledge is King!

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/2004ana.jpg

(left to right: David Wang, Rob Joyce, Jeff Oxman, Michael Fey,

Mark Kimpton).

At the meeting, veteran dealer Larry Briggs displayed one of the

two known sets of 1879s Reverse of 1878 varieties, including two

new coins recently discovered. Dan White display one of the finest

short sets of 1878 8TF dollars, missing only a few of the more

difficult 8TF ultra rarities. Just seeing these coins and noting

the telltale characteristics and features of the dies that struck

them is priceless and certainly worth the trip. The next SSDC

meeting will be at FUN in January. Now is the time to plan your trip.

Some great coins were found at the show, and information of the

existence of others were discussed. These include the possibility

of another Specimen of the VAM 9, and an 8TF XF VAM 14.20. We are

currently investigating the possibility of another low grade VAM

14.20 found at the show. At the show, I learned that an 1888-O

VAM 1B Scarface in ANACS MS 63 sold privately for an astonishing

$6300, and that the 1890-CC Tailbar variety in MS 64 is now trading

in the $7500-$8500 range.

I'm sure Jeff will have a few good things to say about the SSDC

meeting, and I am hopeful that more of you who attended the show

will provide some updates on your perspective of the show and the

advanced silver dollar market.

NEW WEBSITE

** Ash Harrison gives a status report on his VAM website.

I have completed another milestone in the update to the VAM Update

page. I want to thank Leroy Van Allen for allowing me to do this

in this format. Please go to www.ashmore.com and click on the link

to VAM UPDATE. This will take you to a page that describes the

current state of the site. I currently have all the descriptions

from 1992 to 2003 online and all the pictures from 2001-2004 online.

As you can see, that is not a completed site at this point, but it

is significantly updated from where we were. I'll link pics and

descriptions soon. I also hope to get the earlier pictures scanned.

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR CHECK?

** Your editor is often asked about membership checks that have

never been cashed. Ash Harrison provides an explanation.

I'm in the process of sorting out all the applications for membership

that Jeff has received for the last 5 years. I'm going to be

contacting all the folks I can from the applications.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM 1B3,

pictured as VAM 1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

Low grade circ. 1901 shifted eagle (VAM 3), and an 1880 VAM 6 in AU

wanted. Please contact Michael Fey, Feyms@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1921 Peace VAM 1D

& VAM 4; 1922 VAM 1K; 1922-D VAM 1F, 2I(AU/better), 2S, 2T, 2U;

1923 VAM 1Z; 1923-D VAM 1Z; 1924 VAM 1I; 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 26 -- September 20, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, Ash Harrison finishes his 1921 I.R. set, interesting denticles on an 1883-O Morgan, and the VAM Discoverers Hall of Fame.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

SHOW REPORT - ROCKFORD (IL) AREA COIN CLUB

Your editor paid a short visit to the Rockford Area Coin Club

semi-annual show on Sunday, September 19, knowing many of the

dealers, fresh from the three day Illinois Numismatic Association

show in Countryside, IL, were probably rather picked-over. Being

a small club show, however, there are some dealers that only set

up at local shows a couple times a year. This show is now in a

room twice the size it was a year ago, which makes it much more

enjoyable to get around. Unfortunately, it's still just as dark

as it's ever been. I did manage to get an uncirculated 1890-O

VAM 10 "Comet" for my collection, and I found an 1888 with doubled

ear and partial clashed 'n' on the obverse that doesn't appear to

be any of the ones listed in the updates through 2003.

** Please submit show reports for shows you attend, even if they're

small, seeminly inconsequential ones.

1921 INFREQUENT REEDING SET

Ash Harrison has completed the set of 1921 Infrequent Reeding

Morgans. There are 9 different coins in the set, all struck

from collars having 157 reeds instead of 189 reeds as was normal

for 1921. All except for the recently discovered VAM 44 are

from the D1 (17 berry) reverse. The coins in the set are VAM 4,

13, 25, 26, 27, 27A, 28, 29, and 44. Pictures of the diagnostics

are available in the 2002 and 2003 VAM book supplements available

from Leroy Van Allen.

VAM HALL OF FAME

Leroy Van Allen has compiled a list of the VAM Discoverers Hall of

Fame, which lists all varieties discovered from 1992 to 2004. This

list is available for review on Ash Harrison's website,

http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/hof.htm

INTERESTING 1883-O DENTICLES

** Ed Malinowski has an interesting 1883-O and would like to know

what you think caused the effect seen on the obverse denticles

above PLURIBUS and on the lower reverse. Send your thoughts to

me and I'll put them in a future VAM-E.

Obverse top

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_o1.jpg

Reverse bottom

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_r1.jpg

Reverse close-up

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_r2.jpg

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM 1B3,

pictured as VAM 1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

Low grade circ. 1901 shifted eagle (VAM 3), and an 1880 VAM 6 in AU

wanted. Please contact Michael Fey, Feyms@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1921 Peace VAM 1D

& VAM 4; 1922 VAM 1K; 1922-D VAM 1F, 2I(AU/better), 2S, 2T, 2U;

1923 VAM 1Z; 1923-D VAM 1Z; 1924 VAM 1I; 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 27 -- September 27, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, an article about "Oval O" VAMs, a new 1878 7TF discovery, and one opinion of the 1883-O mystery denticles.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

NEW 1878 7TF DISCOVERY

** Leroy Van Allen reports on a new 1878 7TF variety discovered

by Ed Malinowski.

Edward Malinowski has just reported a new 78 P 7TF variety,

assigned VAM 134. Has normal B2a rev but same II 7 obv as VAM 197

which was reported by Bill Van Note in July 2004. My reference

VAM 197 has same obv die as new VAM 134 but different rev die.

II 7 obv has slightly dbld UR-BUS UNU towards coin center with

die marker of fine horizontal polishing line through top right

wheat leaf. New 78 P 7TF varieties aren't reported very often

these days!!

THE AMAZING "OVAL O" VARIETIES OF 1888 & 1889

by Jeff Oxman, SSDC President

As I put together the first draft of the VAMLINK Registry for

1888-O and 1889-O "Oval O" mintmark varieties, I thought I would

bring SSDC members up-to-date on an important recent development.

After all, that's the reason for VAM-E communications -- to keep

our members abreast of what's happening in our segment of the hobby!

Most silver dollar collectors are aware that the "Oval O" mintmark

punch was first used on Morgan dollars produced at the New Orleans

Branch Mint beginning in 1879. This initial year of striking

coins in the Crescent City was notable not only for the "Oval O"

mintmarks, but also the "Large O" mintmarks. But the Medium

"Oval O" would prevail for the next five years, and become the

standard mintmark on all silver dollars until 1884, when it was

replaced by a Medium "Round O." The "Round O" would then be the

primary New Orleans mintmark for the rest of the Morgan dollar

series through 1904.

It should be noted that all mintmarks for Branch Mint coinage

were applied to the dies in the Arts & Medals room of the

Philadelphia Mint, and then shipped to the respective Branch Mints.

So, the guilty culprit for any and all mintmark varieties is

the Philadelphia Mint! Nevertheless, an interesting anomaly

occurred in 1888 and 1889. For unexplained reasons, less than ten

dies were produced that had the "Oval O" mintmark, which had been

discontinued in 1884. At this point, seven different die pairs

dated 1888 are known to have had the "Oval O" mintmark (For you

specialists, they are VAMs 2, 5, 6, 17, 18, 21 and 24.) All are

very scarce in circulated grades and ultra-rare to unknown in BU

condition. In fact, finding a BU specimen of any 1888 or 1889

"Oval O" specimen is a landmark event!

Because of the desirability and rarity of these "Oval O"

varieties, they were key inclusions in the TOP 100 book listings.

Proceeding to the following year, only two "Oval O" varieties

dated 1889 are known. First was the VAM 2 and later in the 1980's

the VAM 17 was added. The news: ("a drum roll, please") it now

appears that the VAM 17 and the VAM 2 were struck by the same di

pair! Yes, the VAM 17 shows a die chip on the right side of the

first "8" in the date and is double clashed, but these features

only indicate a later die state, not a different die.

Upon examining a number of specimens of both varieties, I came

to the conclusion that the VAM 17 was, indeed, a later die state

of the VAM 2. I then sent the coins to Leroy Van Allen for his

opinion, and he concurred, re-assigning the VAM 17 as the new

VAM 2A. The upshot is that there is now only one recognized

pair of 1889 dies known with an "Oval O" reverse. (Unique always

has a special ring to it!) So, for all you VAM sleuths out there,

check your 1889-O "Oval O" varieties to verify if this is true.

And should you find a different die pair, prepare to have your

name inscribed in the VAM Hall of Fame!

LARRY BRIGGS ON 1878-S

It's no secret that veteran VAM dealer Larry Briggs sees more

1878 dollars than perhaps anyone else in numismatics. Consequently,

he has developed quite an appreciation, expertise, and collection

of 1878-S Morgan dollar varieties, a new and still yet

underexploited frontier in advanced Morgan dollar collecting.

Larry will share some of his secrets of the 1878-S "rarities" in

the Fall issue of Top 100 Insights.

For further information on Top 100 Insights and Value Guide,

please visit http://www.rcicoins.com

INTERESTING 1883-O DENTICLES

** Mark Cooper opines on the interesting denticles seen on Ed

Malinowski's 1883-O Morgan.

Obverse top

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_o1.jpg

Reverse bottom

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_r1.jpg

Reverse close-up

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_r2.jpg

MC: Okay, if you took another set of denticles and impressed

them onto the first set, only you shifted one set about half

a denticle, would that not create a shape similar to what is

seen on these denticles?

The V shape would correspond to the "shoulder" of the denticle.

** Your editor tends to agree that it's double-struck. Any other

opinions welcome as well.

THANKS, MIKE ANDREWS

** Open thank you to Mike Andrews from Dana Russo

I would like to send a special thanks to Mike Andrews, for his help

in my acquiring a VAM 14.8 in ANACS XF-40. So far this is one of

my most big time 8TF coins. Thanks. -- Dana Russo

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1921-S Thorn Head die gouge wanted for purchase or trade (VAM 1B3,

pictured as VAM 1B in the big VAM book). Contact Rob Joyce,

rob@rjrc.com if you know of one available.

Low grade circ. 1901 shifted eagle (VAM 3), and an 1880 VAM 6 in AU

wanted. Please contact Michael Fey, Feyms@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1921 Peace VAM 1D

& VAM 4; 1922 VAM 1K; 1922-D VAM 1F, 2I(AU/better), 2S, 2T, 2U;

1923 VAM 1Z; 1923-D VAM 1Z; 1924 VAM 1I; 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

 

Vol. 1, Issue 28 -- October 4, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, the plot thickens on the 1883-O mystery denticles.

A couple questions about a Top 100 coin and registry sets, and an updated wanted list.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

INFO ABOUT 1880 VAM 1A AND VAM REGISTRY REQUESTED

** Mark Lawson would like some information about a Top 100 VAM...

I wanted to know if there is some history to this coin. I just

bought a "1880 KNOB 8 VAM 1A" 2 days ago, from what am reading this

coin is one of the hardest {R-7 / R-8} to find. It seems that the

man I bought this from claims it is the 3rd best [NGC EF45], do you

have any info on this coin it would be great to have.

** ...and VAM registries

How do I get my sets in SSDC registry? I have a 8 TF set started

and also am about 1/4 of the way to a complete TOP 100 along with

TOP 50.

CALLING SAN DIEGO AREA MEMBERS

** Mark Lawson is interested in getting in contact with anyone in

the San Diego area that may want to get together sometime. You

may contact him at salbug@cox.net.

THAT 1883-O VAM 4 AGAIN

** Two weeks ago, I posted pictures of Ed Malinowski's 1883-O VAM 4

(again included below), which showed strange artifacts on the

denticles. Last week, Mark Cooper suggested, and I concurred,

that the coin appeared to have been double struck on the denticles.

A few days later, I received the following e-mail from Ash Harrison.

AH: I have a ROLL of 1883-O VAM 4 O/O TOP 100 coins and over half

of them are like Ed Malinowski's 83-O VAM 4. This appears to

be common on the coin, but I think it should be VAM 4A.

JB: If it's a striking error, it won't get a separate designation.

AH: What if it's a RIM CLASH?

** Then I did what I should have done earlier. I found my 1883-O VAM 4

which, being MS63 DMPL, is likely an early die state. Same

denticles as Ed's coin. If you have an 1883-O VAM 4, you may

want to pull it out at this time (along with your favorite

magnifier) and follow along.

To review, there appears to be an extra set of denticles atop the

main denticles on the obverse at K1 (above BU), and a stronger set

on the reverse at about K5 (below LL). Upon closer examination, it

was clear this was not a striking error, since it didn't exhibit

the smashed, shelf-like doubling seen on strike doubled coins. To

the contrary, both sets of denticles were well-formed, especially

below the LL in DOLLAR. Was it a rim clash, as suggested by Ash?

A simple clash results in a negative image appearing on the surface

of the coin. Had the dies clashed each other in the denticles (ouch),

the high parts of the dies, which are the spaces between the

denticles, would have been transferred to the opposite dies on their

high points. You would see spaces between denticles transferred to

the spaces between denticles, not extra denticles on top of the

denticles.

The next step was to call Jeff Oxman and get his opinion. His coin

(MS65, but not DMPL) showed the extra denticles only on the reverse,

where they were the strongest on mine. It's possible that die

erosion could have removed the obverse denticle artifacts. Since

die erosion is strongest near the rims, any details on the denticles

would be lost shortly after the dies lost their prooflike surfaces.

Jeff and I discussed and ruled out machine doubling and clash marks

for reasons already mentioned. Production of working dies has the

potential to produce doubled denticles, but you would see the extra

denticles in what is supposed to be the spaces between denticles,

not on top of the denticles. The most likely part of the die

manufacturing process that could produce an effect such as that seen

is the creation of a working hub. The problem is that while it may

be possible to have this happen on one hub, the likelihood of it

happening in exactly the opposite spot on another hub, and then

having those hubs produce only one pair of dies that would eventually

be sent to New Orleans and used together is approximately nil.

So the question remained where these marks originated. We then

discussed the "red-headed, retarded stepchild" of dies -- the collar

die. Suppose that during setup of the press, the obverse and

reverse dies were out of alignment, not with each other, but with

the collar. If the dies clash, the first thing they will hit is the

collar die, and with the full force of the press concentrated on

the collar die, a very nice set of denticles would be imparted on

the collar. Suppose further that it was enough of a jolt to loosen

or rotate the obverse and reverse dies just a little bit and the

dies make contact with the the collar again. The denticles on the

collar are now split in half (more or less) by the second impact

of the dies upon it. A third impact on the collar die, this time

without another alignment shift, could result in the collar die

acting as a hub, driving the "split denticles" into the denticles of

both the obverse and reverse dies, leaving the design seen.

Leaving the denticles for the moment, move 180 degrees around the

edge to the 18 in the date on the VAM 4, where there is a raised lump

at the denticles below the 18. Recalling my supposition that the

dies loosened upon impacting the edge of the collar, a loosened

obverse die could have tilted slightly and bumped into the reverse

die, acquiring the bruise seen below the 18. An easy way to check

this is to look for a corresponding raised area on the reverse,

above the first T in STATES. Unfortunately, there's nothing there

that looks like an impact -- or so it seems. On my specimen (DMPL

early die state), this T is quite shallow compared to lettering

further from it. The denticles are also not as strong. The reason

there is no raised area seen above the T could be that the damaged

area was polished down, making the T shallower in the process.

Is any of this conclusive evidence of what happened back in 1883?

Not really. It's also not easy for me to attempt to reproduce

this as I don't have the appropriate coining equipment in my

basement. (Just to clarify, I don't have any coining equipment

in my basement.) Since I don't have any evidence of a 19th century

die-steel-eating rat, the above explanation seems most plausible

to me. What do YOU think?

Obverse top

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_o1.jpg

Reverse bottom

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_r1.jpg

Reverse close-up

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o_r2.jpg

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1921 Peace VAM 1D

& VAM 4; 1922 VAM 1K; 1922-D VAM 1F, 2I(AU/better), 2S, 2T, 2U;

1923 VAM 1Z; 1923-D VAM 1Z; 1924 VAM 1I; 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1921-D VAMs wanted, raw or certified. Mint State VAMs 1D, 1E, 1J, 1R,

1T, 1W, 8A. Any 1A, 1B2, 1S, 1U, 1X, 1AA, 1AC, 1AI, 2B, 7, 12A.

Contact Jack Lee, jlee2027@yahoo.com

1879-S Reverse of '78 VAMs 23 and 25 wanted in AU53-55. Contact

Phil Perdue, phil@perduenumismatics.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 29 -- October 18, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, something interesting on another "Top 100" Morgan, and Jeff Oxman's review of the Pittsburgh ANA show.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

NEW DISCOVERIES

1921-D DEVELOPMENT

Over the past two years, there have been many discoveries on 1921-D

Morgans. There's no doubt that Rob Joyce's book, "Fun in 1921,"

has a lot of people looking at a lot of coins. For quite some time,

the only 1921-D people cared much about was the VAM 1A, or "Tru-t,"

variety, since it was on the Top 100 list.

In "Fun in 1921," another variety, the VAM 1AB is mentioned as being

a tough coin to spot, with a single gouge between the eagle's legs

being its only diagnostic. Since the book was released, other VAM 1AB

specimens have been located with a second gouge through the 'od' of

"God," although it can be difficult to see. This was pointed out to

me by Jack Lee.

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/1ab.jpg

Last week, John Kohut showed me an ANACS slabbed 1921-D VAM 1A he

acquired and pointed out the same gouge between the legs as is on the

VAM 1AB, and with no gouge through "od." Thinking it may be a different

coin than the VAM 1A, I checked my VAM 1A and it also has the gouge

between the legs as is on the VAM 1AB.

This makes three different die progressions for either the VAM 1A or

VAM 1AB. One with the gouge between the legs, one with the filled 's'

in trust, and one without the filled 's,' but with a new gouge through

'od.'

Was the die gouge hiding on the VAM 1A all this time? Check your

specimens of the 1921-D VAM 1A and see if you see a horizontal die

gouge between the eagle's legs. Let me know what you have, and I'll

put a follow-up in a future VAM-E. If you have both a VAM 1A and

a VAM 1AB without the die gouge through "od," see if you can figure

out which is the earliest die state.

INFO ABOUT 1880 VAM 1A

** Previously, Mark Lawson asked about the condition census of

the 1880 VAM 1A.

ML: I wanted to know if there is some history to this coin. I just

bought a "1880 KNOB 8 VAM 1A" 2 days ago, from what am reading this

coin is one of the hardest {R-7 / R-8} to find. It seems that the

man I bought this from claims it is the 3rd best [NGC EF45], do you

have any info on this coin it would be great to have.

The seller of this coin is using the condition census information in

the 1996 edition of the Top 100 book. More, but not many, specimens

of this variety have been found in AU, but this variety remains very

elusive in all grades.

HERITAGE NOVEMBER AUCTION ALERT

John Wilson alerted me to the upcoming Heritage 2004 November Palm

Beach Florida Signature Sale. There is an amazing number of Top 100

and Hot 50 Morgans being offered from the Rafael Romero collection,

from the 1878 VAM 44 to those on the want lists below. Happy hunting!

ANA SHOW RECOLLECTIONS

** Jeff Oxman takes time to reminisce about the Pittsburgh ANA show.

2004 Pittsburgh ANA Report

by Jeff Oxman, SSDC President

For those attending the recent ANA Show in Pittsburgh, it was a bit

like showing up on New Year's Eve in Times Square -- Large crowds,

late nights and lots of excitement! Indeed, there was much to

be excited about for VAM enthusiasts, as more collectors, dealers,

investors and specialists than ever before combined to energize

the VAM market. The only down side was the intense competition

for the most popular Morgan and Peace dollar varieties, which in

many cases made deep pockets mandatory.

Need proof? Here are a few prime examples: An 1878-P VAM 118

in XF sold for $1000. An 1878-P VAM 166 in AU traded hands at

$1500. Of course, these two varieties represent two of the

keys to the 7-TF Set, but such prices are multiples of what

would be expected using conventional wisdom.

A specimen of the newly discovered 1879-S Rev78 VAM 34B

in VF, an 1878-S VAM 11 in Fine (Yup, this isn't a misprint...

Leroy confirmed the existence of the enigmatic 78-S VAM 11!),

and a low grade example of the latest 79-S Rev78 discovery,

the VAM 56, were all bundled together by Larry Briggs for

$1500.

Bill Fivaz, the master cherry-picker, brought several circulated

1921-S VAM 1B's with him, along with the newly discovered

1921-P VAM 41 (a variety with what appears to be reeding marks

on the lower reverse), and together, the coins brought $900.

Michael Fey, VAMmer extraordinaire, just happened to have a

circulated 1878-P VAM 14.15 with him. And Jim Susack, Mike

Lucyk, Al Simmons, Lloyd Gabbert, Brian Raines, and Dan White

all successfully scoured the bourse floor for varieties without

resorting to fistfights and brawling.

Ash Harrison, the new SSDC Secretary/Treasurer, made his presence

felt by offering for sale an accumulation of VAMs he had put

together over a long period of time.

The ANA sponsored a VAM Presentation consisting of Mike Fey,

myself, Mark Kimpton, Rob Joyce and Dave Wang. I opened and

Mike closed, with each presenter discussing his own specialty.

Mark outlined his upcoming book about clashing varieties in

the Morgan dollar series, Rob talked about 1921-D varieties,

and Dave offered his insight into the 1879-S Rev78 set of 17

coins. The audience was quite receptive.

And lastly, the SSDC topped off the week with an officially

sanctioned Meeting on Friday at 1 pm. I'll save for next week's

VAM-E a more complete discussion about the SSDC Meeting, but let

me say here that most of the VAM collectors who attended the ANA

Show congregated at the SSDC gathering. And it was immediately

apparent that the excitement level for VAM collecting is at an

all-time high. The gist of the meeting was that helping to

sustain that "high" should be the goal of the new SSDC. With

its group of Regional Directors now in place, with its

one-of-a-kind weekly VAM-E communication the envy of other

numismatic clubs, and with it's reorganization officially

underway, we believe the Society of Society Silver Dollar

Collectors will be at the forefront of the VAM Revolution!

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1921 Peace VAM 1D

& VAM 4; 1922 VAM 1K; 1922-D VAM 1F, 2I(AU/better), 2S, 2T, 2U;

1923 VAM 1Z; 1923-D VAM 1Z; 1924 VAM 1I; 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1921-D VAMs wanted, raw or certified. Mint State VAMs 1D, 1E, 1J, 1R,

1T, 1W, 8A. Any 1A, 1B2, 1S, 1U, 1X, 1AA, 1AC, 1AI, 2B, 7, 12A.

Contact Jack Lee, jlee2027@yahoo.com

1879-S Reverse of '78 VAMs 23 and 25 wanted in AU53-55. Contact

Phil Perdue, phil@perduenumismatics.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 30 -- October 25, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, more about the 1921-D VAM 1A/1AB, and some announcements.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

1921-D DEVELOPMENT

** Last weeks, I wrote about the 1921-D VAM 1A and 1AB, and how they

might be the same coin. Needless to say, I got a few responses.

From John Wilson:

After reading the latest VAM-E, I checked my VAM 1A as listed above

and also discovered that the coin also had the "Pierced Tail

Feathers" as listed as a VAM-1AB. There was no die gouge in the "O"

of God. It is a very well struck high grade coin.

From Rob Joyce:

What a cool find! Looking at my samples of the coins, it appears

that VAM-1A is the earliest die state. It is sometimes found

proof-like and has no major die cracks but does include the

tailfeather gouge of the VAM-1AB as described. Next comes the

VAM-1AB without the GOD gouge. The VAM-1AB has a die crack

across the Eagle's wing. In the VAM-1AB with the GOD gouge that

Jack Lee reported, the die cracks are even more pronounced, making

this the later die state. I continue to be amazed at the 21-D

discoveries! Good hunting everyone!

HERITAGE TO AUCTION SEVERAL "WORLD CLASS" MORGAN DOLLAR VARIETIES

** Michael Fey has an announcement regarding the upcoming Heritage

auction.

This is to provide advanced notice of The Rafael Romero Registry

Collection of Morgan Dollars at the Palm Beach, FL, Signature Sale

on November 4th-6th.

I will be preparing a description of some of the highlights of the

auction later this week. Meanwhile, you can view lots at:

http://www.heritagecoin.com/common/auction/catalog.php?SaleNo=358

Good luck in the sale!

2ND ANNUAL SSDC VAM THING AT FUN

This is just a reminder that we will be having the 2nd Annual SSDC

VAM Thing at the FUN show. Plan now to join us January 13-16th,

2005, at the Broward County Convention Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Meet with fellow collectors, buy, sell, trade and learn first hand

from the most advanced silver dollar experts in the world. Make

friends, have fun, and enjoy. The VAMaster and Terry Armstrong

Memorial awards will be presented to well deserving collectors.

The VAM Thing will be held on Friday, January 14, at 4:00 pm.

TOP 100 INSIGHTS & VALUE GUIDE

** Michael Fey has an announcment regarding the Top 100 Insights

This is to advise readers that I'm currently working on the Fall,

2004, issue of Top 100 Insights and Value Guide. I hope to have it

out to subscribers some time next week. For further information,

please contact me at Feyms@aol.com

HALLOWEEN VAM SPECIALS

** Michael Fey has a special for VAM-E readers

I've posted a few VAM goodies for the Fall Halloween Season

privately for "SSDC VAM-E readers only" prior to posting to my web

site at http://www.rcicoins.com

http://rcicoins.com/HotPress/HalloweenSpecials10-2004.pdf

I hope you have a Happy Halloween!

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1921 Peace VAM 1D

& VAM 4; 1922 VAM 1K; 1922-D VAM 1F, 2I(AU/better), 2S, 2T, 2U;

1923 VAM 1Z; 1923-D VAM 1Z; 1924 VAM 1I; 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1921-D VAMs wanted, raw or certified. Mint State VAMs 1D, 1E, 1J, 1R,

1T, 1W, 8A. Any 1A, 1B2, 1S, 1U, 1X, 1AA, 1AC, 1AI, 2B, 7, 12A.

Contact Jack Lee, jlee2027@yahoo.com

1879-S Reverse of '78 VAMs 23 and 25 wanted in AU53-55. Contact

Phil Perdue, phil@perduenumismatics.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 31 -- November 1, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, a write-up about the upcoming Heritage auction.

Send me your questions, stories, new discoveries, and show reports for next time.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

RAFAEL ROMERO COLLECTION FOR SALE THIS WEEK

** Micahel Fey writes about the upcoming Rafael Romero auction

Rafael Romero's "World Class" Morgan Dollar Variety Collection

by Michael S. Fey, Ph.D.

Advanced Morgan dollar collectors are just biding their time until

November 4th-6th, when Heritage will auction the Rafael Romero

Registry collection of Morgan silver dollars, and Morgan silver

dollar varieties at their Palm Beach, FL, Signature Sale.

Beyond the attractive and appealing high grade Morgan dollar date

and mintmark variations, proofs, and patterns are the little

known "diamonds in the rough" that many astute collectors and

investors who have ventured beyond their quest for a date set

now target. They are known as the Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties:

The VAM Keys and the Hot 50.

VAM is an acronym for the authors of The Comprehensive Catalog &

Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars by Leroy Van Allen & A.

George Mallis, who cataloged more than 2000 different die pairs

that were used to strike the Morgan dollar series. Because each

obverse and reverse die was hand made, variations called die

varieties were created and given a VAM number to identify them.

Some of these varieties are quite rare and spectacular, far

exceeding the rarity of the famed 1893-S Morgan dollar in nearly

all grades. The rarer, more popular varieties are fully

pictured and described in the small, but revolutionary Top 100

pocket book by Fey and Oxman (1997), and the Hot 50 by Oxman (2000).

In the world of rare die varieties, it's rarity and popularity

that count, and in many cases Mint State specimens may not even

exist. Circulated specimens of some varieties are considered

numismatic prizes. Such is the case with the Ultra Rare 1878

8 Tail Feather (8TF) VAM 14.11 with "Wild Eye Spikes". With less

than 15 known specimens in all grades by all services, this Top

100 as well as 1878 8TF set "key" variety in ANACS VF30 grade

is sure to attract bidding attention. Expect it to exceed $2500!

Even in ANACS XF 40 grade, the 1878 7/3 TF VAM 44, the "King"

of Morgan dollar varieties with strongly "Tripled Cotton Blossoms

and Leaves" is likely to surpass the $1500 mark. The second

rarest 7/8 TF variety, an NGC MS63PL VAM 32 will likely do

the same. Collectors are still only just beginning to realize

the rarity of these Top 100 varieties.

Ever try to find an 1878-S B1 reverse variety with a long center

arrow shaft (long nock)? They're as rare as hen's teeth and

when found are usually in very low grade. There are currently

8 different varieties known with less than 150 specimens of

all the B1 reverse varieties in all grades. That's an average

of only 19 coins known per variety! Romero's ANACS AU58 specimen

is considered "Condition Census" in a numismatic world where only

a few Mint State specimens are known. One was the Louis Eliasberg

"Presentation Specimen" that was engraved as "one of the first

ten coined." There's a detailed account of the striking ceremony

in San Francisco in 1878. These B1 reverse dies started breaking

soon after striking began, indicating that the new dies for the

new silver dollars of San Francisco were still untested and unready

for mass scale production.

Other "World Class" Morgan dollar variety highlights include an

ANACS MS62 1879 O/Horizontal O VAM 28, an ANACS AU55 1887 Donkey

Tail reverse die break, and an ANACS AU58 1900-O VAM 29A with

die break at the date. And, there are dozens more.

For those of you who like classic "Redbook" varieties, a tied for

second Finest Known PCGS AU58 1888-O VAM 4 "Hotlips," a PCGS MS64

1890-CC "Tailbar" variety, and a tied for second Finest Known

PCGS AU58 1901 "Shifted Eagle" doubled die reverse are sure to

offer an unprecedented opportunity to acquire what I consider to

be the Top 10 of the Top 100.

However, among my favorite picks and those listed in Q. David Bowers'

new Official Red Book of Morgan Silver Dollars, the PCGS EF40 1896-O,

PCGS VF35 1900-O, and PCGS VF20 1902-O "Micro O" varieties.

With no Mint State specimens known of any of these varieties, I

expect these very rare and desirable lower grade circulated specimens

to sell at bargain prices in the $500-$2000 range.

With prices for many "Morgan Dollar VAMs Going Ballistic" (CoinValues

Supplement to Coin World; November 1, 2004), one thing is for sure.

The Raphael Romero collection of "World Class" Morgan Dollar

varieties is sure to attract spirited bidding among advanced

Morgan dollar collectors.

VAM UPDATES ONLINE

Ash Harrison has compiled the new VAM discoveries through October

of this year on his website, http://www.ashmore.com. No pictures at

this time, but lots of new coins, especially in 1878-S and 1921 P and

D. Anyone want to guess when the 1878-S VAM 100 will be discovered?

Be sure to visit Ash's site for VAM updates and other goodies. For

a printed copy of the annual VAM updates and pictures, contact Leroy

Van Allen directly (see info at bottom).

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1921 Peace VAM 1D

& VAM 4; 1922 VAM 1K; 1922-D VAM 1F, 2I(AU/better), 2S, 2T, 2U;

1923 VAM 1Z; 1923-D VAM 1Z; 1924 VAM 1I; 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1921-D VAMs wanted, raw or certified. Mint State VAMs 1D, 1E, 1J, 1R,

1T, 1W, 8A. Any 1A, 1B2, 1S, 1U, 1X, 1AA, 1AC, 1AI, 2B, 7, 12A.

Contact Jack Lee, jlee2027@yahoo.com

1879-S Reverse of '78 VAMs 23 and 25 wanted in AU53-55. Contact

Phil Perdue, phil@perduenumismatics.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 32 -- November 15, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, a couple new 1878 discoveries, an update on the 1921-D VAM 1A/1AB, and a follow-up on the Romero auction.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

1921-D VAM 1A/1AB EPILOGUE

** A few issues ago, there were some articles about the 1921-D

VAM 1A ("Tru-t"), a Top 100 VAM, and the 1921-D VAM 1AB. It

was discovered that both coins had the same die gouge between

the eagle's legs, and that there was a later die state of the

VAM 1AB that also had a gouge through the 'o' of "God." Rob

Joyce recently sent all three coins to Leroy Van Allen for

inspection. Here is Leroy's response.

All have pierced TF between legs. Coin 1 has late stage of die

fill that matches outline of photo for VAM-1A in Top 100 booklet.

All 3 have same obv and rev dies. Die Life order is 1-2-3 so die

fill occurred fairly early in die lifetime. Coin 3 has die scratch

in od (of God). Had to keep die fill as 1A since has been known

and listed since Apr 1968 when reported by Hal Justice. But isn't

a die variety -- only a striking error. Probably never should

have listed it but too late now!! All 3 same as 1AB so made 1AB

new 1A1 and 1A Trut new 1A2 since only few specimens have die fill.

That requires eliminating 1AB. Haven't seen a die fill Tru-t coin

since 1968 so never noticed the die scratch. Don't have 35mm neg

anymore for VAM 1A shown in VAM book, so can't double check if it

has TF die scratch. Existing photo not detailed enough. So based

new listings on your coins and Top 100 book photo. Thanks to you

folks for straightening this out!

NEW 1878 7TF COINS

I recently got a new discovery on the 1878 Rev. of '79. The

VAM 229.1 features a type II obverse, designated II 8, with doubling

on the top of the Phrygian cap, the right wheat leaf, the cotton

leaves, LIBERTY.

http://varslab.com/229-1.jpg

** Mike Andrew shares some information on the new 1878 VAM 134 and

compares it to the VAM 197.

VAM 134 Obverse:

1. This is the basic VAM 131 Obverse

a. with Broken Point on 4th star to the right of the date

b. and raised blob of metal on the top right serif of E in E PLURIBUS

2. The key marker is the doubling on the surface of the middle curve

of the "S" in PLURIBUS. It is a well-defined, raised curved line

that follows the actual curve of the "S," about a quarter of the

way up the width of the letter.

3. A Die scratch runs from the cap to the right most wheat stalk.

4. LIBERTY across the bonnet is very lightly doubled on the left

edges of the letters, but is noticeable primarily on early die

state specimens.

5. The inside crossbar of the "R" in PLURIBUS is lightly doubled

along the bottom edge.

6. The top serifs of the second "U" in PLURIBUS and the first "U"

in UNUM show slight doubling under the top crossbars.

7. On all but the earliest die states, there is a die crack that runs

from the point of the vee of Liberty's neck to the lower right

point of the first star to the left of the date.

VAM 134 Reverse:

1. This is the basic B2a Reverse, with no significant doubling on

the design features, no break in the "r" of TRUST, no break in the

"o" of GOD, and no overpolishing of the area where the right wing

(viewer's left) joins the eagle's body.

2. The bottom edge of the "D" in DOLLAR shows a hint of doubling on

the lower right, but is not dramatic.

3. STATES is slightly doubled on the horizontal portions of the

letters along the bottom edges, particularly on the second "S".

4. On all but the earliest die states, the die cracks on the VAM 134

are an important diagnostic. One die crack runs through the tops

of "IT" in UNITED and then on to the "E" where it veers upward to

the rim. (The VAM 197 shows a different die crack pattern.)

In contrast, the VAM 197 shares the same obverse, but has a different

reverse.

VAM 197 Obverse:

1. The VAM 197 has the same Obverse as the VAM 134, but is a later

die stage.

2. There is a light die crack that runs from the 4th to the 5th star

to the right of the date on all specimens seen.

VAM 197 Reverse:

1. The junction of the eagle's right wing and the body has been

polished away, leaving a wide gap between the wing and the eagle's leg.

2. The lower right surface of the "D" in DOLLAR shows doubling.

3. The die cracks on this Reverse distinguish it from the VAM 134.

Here, the die cracked along the tops of "NITE" of UNITED and then

the crack proceeded down across the middle of the "D" and into

the eagle's wing.

4. On high grade specimens, a raised diagonal mark in visible on the

lower right surface of the "O" in DOLLAR.

RECORDS FALL AT HERITAGE AUCTION

** Michael Fey writes about the prices seen at the Heritage auction of

the Rafael Romero collection

Numerous Top 100 record sales were established at Heritage's Palm Beach

auction of the Raphael Romero collection of Top 100 Morgan Dollars on

Friday, November 5th, 2004.

"Prices for better Top 100 Morgan dollar varieties, still exploding

under a blistering pace from this past summer, simply went through the

roof in this auction," claimed Michael S. Fey, co-author of the Top

100 book, and publisher of the Top 100 Value Guide quarterly.

"To my knowledge, this is the first time that Heritage, the largest

and one of the most well respected numismatic auction house in the

country, offered a Top 100 collection for sale," according to Fey.

"There were 23 new record prices, with at least 40 coins at or higher

than prices given in the Top 100 Value Guide and approximately 40 of

the more common Top 100 coins selling lower."

Highlights of the sale include remarkable record prices for: An

ANACS XF40 1878 7/3 TF VAM 44 (The King!) at $2587; an ANACS MS62

1879 O/Horizontal O VAM 28 for $1181; an ANACS MS 62 1880/79-O VAM 23

for $2070; a PCGS MS67 1880-S 8/7 VAM 9 for $4370; a PCGS AU58

1888-O VAM 4 "Hotlips" for $8912, a PCGS AU58 1901 VAM 3 "Shifted

Eagle" for $6612; and $2990, $2645 and $2070 for an 1896-O PCGS EF40

VAM 4 "Micro O", a PCGS VF35 1900-O VAM 5 "Micro O", and PCGS VF20

1902-O VAM 3 "Micro O", respectively. In addition, a PCGS AU50

1903-S "Small S" sold for a record $2645.

Additional pricing records as well as adjustments both upward and

downward will appear in the Winter, 2004 issue of the Top 100

Value guide.

1878-S VARIETIES

The Fall, 2004 issue of Top 100 Insights and Value Guide featured

veteran dealer Larry Briggs on rare and desirable 1878-s Morgan

dollar varieties. The 1878-S Morgan dollars remain one of the

last great frontiers of variety collecting. No one has more

experience with these dollars than Larry Briggs, who has looked at

more than 30,000 such coins over his many years experience as a

coin dealer, founder and grader for the SEGS grading service.

"If you like die gouges as markers, you'll think you 've died and

gone to heaven or something like that with 1878-S Morgan dollars"

claimed Briggs. Briggs shared information and images on several

different premium varieties worth acquiring. These included such

whimsical names as 1878-S "Spaghetti Wings", "Dragon Scales",

"Tail Gouges", "Eye Spikes", and the more popular Top 100 B1

(Long Nock) reverse varieties.

The Society of Silver Dollar Collectors (SSDC) also provided a

complementary copy of its first Top 50 Peace Dollar Varieties: Value

Guide of certified coins for subscribers to Top 100 Insights.

Record prices were recorded for an 1878 8TF NGC 63 VAM 14.10 at $865,

and NGC MS 62 1880-S VAM 10 at $395, a PCGS AU55 1901 VAM 3 "Shifted

Eagle" doubled die reverse at $2600, and an ANACS AU 50 1903-S

"Micro S" VAM 2 for $1775 [which has since been superceded by a coin

sold at the Romero auction above -- Editor].

For further information, please contact Michael S. Fey, Ph.D., at

RCI, P.O. Box 9157, Morris Plains, NJ 07590 or call (973) 252-4000;

FAX (973) 252-0481; E-Mail: Feyms@aol.com Information on Top 100

pricing can be found in RCI's quarterly newsletter, Top 100 Insights

& Value Guide at http://www.rcicoins.com

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 116, 203A, 229,

230.3. 7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1879-O VAM 28, 1887 VAM 1B,

1889 VAM 23A, 1896-S VAM 5, 1900-O/CC VAM 10A. Contact Logan

McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1879-S Reverse of '78 VAM 25 wanted in AU53-55. Contact Phil

Perdue, phil@perduenumismatics.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 33 -- November 22, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, information about 1889 doubled ear varieties, a
question from a new collector, and cherrypicking GSA flat packs.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

1889 DOUBLED EARS

** Logan McKechnie shares one of his specialties.

When Jeff Oxman published his official guide to the ‘Hot 50 Morgan
Dollar Varieties’ in 2000, he listed the 1889 ‘Doubled Ear’ varieties
as part of the collection. At that time, Oxman specifically identified
VAMs 16, 18 and 20 and mentioned VAMs 21, 27, 28 and 30.

Since the publication of the book, the identification of 1889 double
ears has been expanded to a total of 21, with the discovery last month
of VAM 40A. The newest doubled ear -- an R-6 -- is described by Leroy Van
Allen as, "Doubled Ear, Far Date, Clashed Obv n, st. Clashed die
with faint double incuse n of In from reverse next to Liberty head
neck and faint partial incuse st of Trust from reverse showing in right
hair vee of lower hair edge."

As far as I know, I am the only collector with a complete set of the
1889 doubled ears. Since 1889 is such a common date, it is a
collection that will tax the most accomplished collector, but won't
cost an arm and a leg to cherrypick. I believe the most difficult
coins to obtain are the 28A which is a R-7, the 40A at R-6 and,
surprisingly the 38 which is a R-5.

Any collector who wants to take on the search for these coins must
obtain a copy of Mr. Van Allen's ‘1889 P Doubled Ear Morgan Dollar
Attribution Guide’ which was revised in December 2003.

This is a difficult, but fun set. Of course, I am prejudiced as
most of the coins are ones that I have ‘discovered.’

VAMs in GSA FLAT PACKS

** Lewis Rosenbaum has been finding VAMs in circulated GSA Flat Packs

There are VAMs in the GSA circulated flat pack dollars. Here are two
I have come across recently. The first is a noticeable die-crack
on a 22-D. I looked at the latest VAM update text and from the
description I think the 22-D is a VAM 2H. I could not locate an
image for VAM-2H to make a further check. Does anyone have an
image of 22-D VAM 2H they could send me? Lewis Rosenbaum
rosenbaumL@mindspring.com. The second is an 83-O that has
overlapping reeding. There are three locations so it first appears
to be 83-O VAM 50. However, the locations are not the same
listed for VAM-50. My locations are 8 segments at 12:00 and two
5-6 segments at 6:00 and 10:30.

QUESTIONS FROM A NEW COLLECTOR

** Norman Salter has recently started VAM collecting and has some
questions.

I recently received my first VAM-E newsletter. The more literature
I read, the more it seems there is to learn! The newsletter has
some great information and I look forward to future issues. I am
very new to coin collecting. Just started collecting Morgan
dollars a few months ago and find these VAM varieties fascinating.
I am trying to identify some of the coins in my small collection.
I put some scans on my internet provider's customer site

http://www.greenmountainaccess.net/~normansalter.

I would like to ask any SSDC members that have free time and an
interest to look at the pictures. Don't want to sell anything
(just yet) or start a website. I need help with VAM attribution.
I am mostly curious about a 1921-P with a filled in E T in WE TRUST.
Looks just like a 1921-D VAM-1Z, but it's a Philadelphia mint.
There's also a 1878-P 8TF. It has some feathers engraved and
doubling on the reverse. There is also what looks like a 1902-P
VAM-4.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** Testimonial from Logan McKechnie:

The "want ads" in VAM-E work. Please eliminate the following which
I was able to obtain as a result of the ad: 7TF VAMs 116 and 203A;
1879-O VAM 28; 1896-S, VAM 5; and 1900-O/CC VAM 10A.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1879-S Reverse of '78 VAM 25 wanted in AU53-55. Contact Phil
Perdue, phil@perduenumismatics.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 34 -- November 29, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, the 1921-D VAM Registry, Eric Justice shares a Peace Dollar find, and so do I. The slop from last Wednesday's snow event that caused travel times on the 16 mile stretch of I-90 from O'Hare airport to downtown Chicago to approach 3 hours is gone, as is the last of the leftover turkey.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

1921-D VAM REGISTRY

** Rob Joyce annouces the 1921-D VAM Set Registry.

Rob Joyce is assembling a registry for the finest known

1921-D VAM collections. A listing of several sets actively being

assembled is now published to the web. The registry includes

every VAM (47 different) listed in "Fun With 1921" (does not

include the JOH varieties):

VAM-1A1 (former 1AB)

VAM-1A2 (former 1A)

VAM-1B1 (former 1B)

VAM-1B2

VAM-1D

VAM-1E

VAM-1F

VAM-1G

VAM-1H

VAM-1I

VAM-1J

VAM-1K

VAM-1L

VAM-1M

VAM-1N

VAM-1'O'

VAM-1P

VAM-1Q

VAM-1R

VAM-1S

VAM-1T

VAM-1U

VAM-1V

VAM-1W

VAM-1X

VAM-1Z

VAM-1AA

(VAM-1AB now 1A1)

VAM-1AC

VAM-1AD

VAM-1AE

VAM-1AF

VAM-1AG

VAM-1AH

VAM-1AI

VAM-1AJ

VAM-1AK

VAM-1AL

VAM-2A

VAM-2B

VAM-3A

VAM-5A

VAM-7

VAM-8A

VAM-8B

VAM-9

VAM-9A

VAM-11A

VAM-12A

To date, nobody has assembled a complete set, even without the

nearly impossible VAM-1X! Can you be the first to complete a set

with or without the VAM-1X?

Please email Rob Joyce: rob@rjrc.com to register a set. To date,

five sets have been registered and three additional collections

are being inventoried and will be published shortly. You can

participate publicly with your set registered to your name or

post your holdings anonymously. Please consider joining this fun

new SSDC project!

Visit the current registry on the web at:

http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921D_registry.htm

PEACE DOLLAR FINDS

** Eric Justice shares diagonostics of overpolished 1925 Peace

dollars.

Next time you see a "Cleaned" 1925 Peace Dollar, LOOK again!

While at a local coin show, I was excited to find a 1925 Peace

dollar with extremely heavy die polish. It was so heavily

polished that I could view it better from a distance than through

a loupe. As I was admiring my new find from a dealer's inventory,

a fellow customer viewing over my shoulder exclaimed, "That's a

beauty too bad someone CLEANED her." I nodded knowing that it

was die polish, and continued to examine a mint employee's attempt

to remove all signs of heavy clash marks by severely polishing

the die! I "knew" I had found the Top 50 VAM 5 Missing Reverse

Rays in Unc! I returned home to review my treasure from the

show and discovered that I did not find a Top 50 at all. Did

you know there are TWO 1925 dies that exhibit heavy reverse die

polish? I had not found a VAM 5 at all, but I did find a very

interesting 1925 VAM 14.

Key PUP (Pick Up Point) is the ray below the eagle's tail feather.

If 1/3 of the ray is present it is a VAM 14, if the whole ray is

gone it is the TOP 50 VAM 5!

** Your editor spent a day at a show in Cleveland.

While I have yet to develop the insatiable appetite for Peace

Dollar varieties that Eric Justice and David Close have, I do

spend some time looking through Peace dollars to see what I can

find. I haven't extensively studied them to know which is which

without consulting my book, but I do know that most of the

exciting varieties, such as those in the Top 50, draw from a short

list of distinctive features -- doubling on the reverse leaves

and/or talons, "naked eye" die breaks, doubled rays, and a doubled

motto. Anything in those categories I happen to find I usually

pick up. This time, it was a nice MS63 1923 with a nice break

on the eagle's shoulder. Nothing huge, but it was there.

I didn't realize until I got home and consulted my Top 50 book

that it was a VAM 1o -- a major 1923 variety.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** Testimonial from Logan McKechnie:

The "want ads" in VAM-E work. Please eliminate the following which

I was able to obtain as a result of the ad: 7TF VAMs 116 and 203A;

1879-O VAM 28; 1896-S, VAM 5; and 1900-O/CC VAM 10A.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1879-S Reverse of '78 VAM 25 wanted in AU53-55. Contact Phil

Perdue, phil@perduenumismatics.com

1887 VAM 12 "Alligator Eye" coins wanted in NGC, PCGS, or ANACS

MS60-62. Contact Michael Fey, feyms@aol.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 35 -- December 13, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, a report on the Baltimore show, question about 8TF and Hot 50 values, 1900-O VAM 29A, and some Peace dollar discoveries.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

HONK IF YOU DIDN'T GET ISSUE 33

It has been brought to my attention by two people that they didn't

receive the Nov. 22, issue (#33) of the VAM-E. If you didn't and

would like it resent, let me know.

BALTIMORE SHOW REPORT

Your editor had the opportunity to spend a Friday at the Baltimore

show. Big bourse with no signs hanging from scaffolding made it

quite easy to locate people you may have been looking for. The

fact that Baltimore's light rail system stops a block from the

downtown convention center made it very convenient and quick to reach

from the airport, and for only $3.20 round trip. I had a chance to

meet with Rob Joyce and Jack Lee, and we all had varying amounts of

cherrypicking success that day. I came home with an 1878 VAM 122 in

AU, and Rob with an 1879-S VAM 25 in MS63. Jack Lee took "pick of

the day" award, though, by picking up a harshly cleaned VF 1878 VAM 44

and then turning down my $40 offer to double his money.

UPDATE FROM THE MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY

** Ash Harrison has an update on the SSDC Membership activities

I am working hard to verify all the members of the SSDC and the

VAM-E that would like to continue on as SSDC members. I have sent

out a letter to everyone in the database and the checks are

streaming in. I am currently getting all the paperwork and

credentials I need to open the necessary checking account to

deposit them in. Just as soon as I have all the info from Jeff,

I will make the deposits, and send out membership cards. I can't

legally accept the funds and put them into my personal account.

I'm hoping that everyone who will continue with SSDC and VAM-E will

have their membership info in before Christmas, so I can carry a

full report to the FUN show in January.

8TF AND HOT 50 VALUES

A reader asked about how to receive updated values for the "Hot 50"

Morgans and the 1878 8TF Morgans, noting the "Top 100 Insights" is

published quarterly. As I write this, the VAMLink website is being

reworked and new values will be available there a couple times a

year. In addition, value updates will be available to users of the

8TF Attribution Wizard and Hot 50 Attribution Wizard software on

a more frequent basis.

1900-O VAM 29A QUESTION

** Mark Lawson asks about 1900-O die cracks and the VAM 29A, and I

shed some light on the topic.

ML: I just got this 1900-O....it was sold as a "die break unknown",

to me it is a 29A, but upon looking at coin when it arrived I saw

that it was not excatly like pic in Top 100. The break runs from the

bottom of v in neck very faintly and gets heavier as it runs through

the "190" and stops at the last"0". Also has a die break from the

under star just left of v in neck and runs into the v in neck up

to the top of "1" where it stops.

JB: If the die breaks do not exactly match those of the 1900-O

VAM 29A, it isn't a VAM 29A. There are other "imposter" coins

that happen to have die cracks at the date, but unless they are

big enough to show pieces of the die missing (wide cracks or

chips), they won't be assigned a new VAM number.

MORE ON DIE POLISHING

** Rob Joyce responds to Eric Justice's 1925 Peace dollar with

overpolished dies.

Much like the 1925 over polished peace dollar that appeared cleaned,

I found a pair of 1921-P coins that seemed to be harshly cleaned/

scrubbed on the reverse. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that

the lines were raised above the field, not into it and it was an

unknown VAM. Leroy assigned it VAM-1G and an MS-60 example sold

for $150 on ebay last weekend (pictures in the auction):

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3944208110

These over polished dies definitely make interesting varieties!

1921-D SET REGISTRY UPDATE

Rob Joyce has been thrilled with the participation on the 1921-D VAM

registry project. Since the first announcement, participation has

grown to eight incredible registered sets. Another is being

inventoried for publication and will be posted soon. Publication of

the sets has and spurred additional cherry picking. One set owner

checked his set of finest known Morgans and found an MS-67 VAM-9.

WOW! Discoveries since the announcement include an VAM-1Q in MS-64,

VAM-1E in MS-64, VAM-1AH in MS-64, an AU-55 VAM-1B2 and many more.

Trades and sales have taken place, upgrading may of the sets since

their publications. If you wish to participate, please e-mail Rob:

rob@rjrc.com. The current registry can be viewed at:

http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921D_registry.htm

NEW PEACE DOLLAR VARIETIES

** Eric Justice shares some new Peace Dollar varieties

1922 VAM 2AJ - Shortened 2nd ray from top on eagle's left side.

1922-S VAM 1G - Filed die in top and right obverse fields.

1923 VAM 12 - Raised dot near junction of jaw and neck

1924 VAM 1o - Vertical die gouge between 1 and 9.

1925 VAM 1E - Die gouge below R in TRVST.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** Testimonial from Logan McKechnie:

The "want ads" in VAM-E work. Please eliminate the following which

I was able to obtain as a result of the ad: 7TF VAMs 116 and 203A;

1879-O VAM 28; 1896-S, VAM 5; and 1900-O/CC VAM 10A.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1879-S Reverse of '78 VAM 25 wanted in AU53-55. Contact Phil

Perdue, phil@perduenumismatics.com

1887 VAM 12 "Alligator Eye" coins wanted in NGC, PCGS, or ANACS

MS60-62. Contact Michael Fey, feyms@aol.com

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

 

Vol. 1, Issue 36 -- December 27, 2004

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, my reflections on the year, a few questions answered, a few asked, and a poll.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

A YEAR IN REVIEW

This is the final VAM-E of 2004. I'd like to start by saying it's

been an enjoyable experience to edit and send out this newsletter

every week or two. I also get to see new people being added to

the subscription list on a weekly basis, with nobody requesting

removal, which is encouraging for the VAM hobby.

I really had no idea what kinds of things I'd be including in the

newsletter, and would like to thank everyone that contributed something,

whether a feature length article or a simple question that I eventually

got around to including in the newsletter. There was some interesting

and informative stuff this year regarding such things as articles on

die clashes, overlapping reeding, new discoveries, including some in

the hot 1878, 1879-S Rev. of '78, and 1921-D series, show reports,

a web site with current VAM discovery updates, auction reports

including the Raphael Romero collection, fulfilled want-list coins,

and plenty of good cherrypicks.

Next year, as this year, I have no plans for what is going to go in

the VAM-E. I have one interesting article up my sleeve, but the

rest will come from everyone that reads the newsletter and sends

me questions, answers, news, anecdotes, or articles for publication.

I do plan on enjoying editing the VAM-E for a second year.

John Baumgart, VAM-E Editor

1888-O "HOT LIPS" POLL

** Ash Harrison wants a census of everyone's 1888-O "Hot Lips" coins

I am interested in asking the membership some questions about the

"Registry" coins we have as a group. My first question is "Please

let us know what grade 1888-O Hot Lips you have."

I will start: I have 13: 1 AU58+, 2 AU55, 1 AU53, 1 XF45, 1 XF40,

1 VF35, 1 VF30, 2 VF25, 1 F15, 1 F12, 1 G6 These coins are all raw,

but are very fairly graded.

I am working on a grading set. I'd like to know if anyone in the

group has what they feel is a true UNC coin.

1922-D VAM 2H IN FLATPACK

** Eric Justice supplies a photo of the 1922-D VAM 2H diagnostic

that Lewis Rosenbaum found in a GSA flatpack.

Here is a picture of the 1922-D VAM 2H. That is neat you found

one in a flat pack, good cherrypicking! Congratulations.

http://varslab.com/22d2h.jpg

1889 DOUBLED EAR QUESTION

** A member asks about an 1889 Doubled Ear coin he has

I have one doubled on inside of ear all the way around the inside.

Left stars doubled, date very close to Liberty's neck, die chip on

each curve on right outside of 8s. Reverse die chips at eagle's

feathers at very bottom and up the feathers a little ways. Please

help me with this VAM.

1878-S VAM 11 QUESTION

** Herb Zepke wonders about the 1878-S VAM 11

Could you give us more information about the enigmatic 1878-S

VAM 11 that was discovered by Larry Briggs? What are the diagnostic

differences between it and the 1878-S VAM 22? I understand that

Leroy Van Allen confirmed it's existence.

1900-O VAM 29A IMPOSTER

** Rob Joyce supplies some diagnostics for the 1900-O VAM 29A

and an imposter.

On the VAM-29A, check for VAM-35 imposter here:

http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1900_o_vam29a.htm

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132, 166. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1887 VAM 12 "Alligator Eye" coins wanted in NGC, PCGS, or ANACS

MS60-62. Contact Michael Fey, feyms@aol.com

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

This newsletter is copyright 2004, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors. Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature, or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted, but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

 

Vol. 2, Issue 1 -- January 3, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

Happy New Year to all VAM-E readers. This week, information about the 2nd annual VAM Thing at the FUN show, some preliminary Hot Lips poll results.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

1888-O "HOT LIPS" POLL

** Ash Harrison asked about 1888-O "Hot Lips" coins people have:

AH: I am interested in asking the membership some questions about the

"Registry" coins we have as a group. My first question is "Please

let us know what grade 1888-O Hot Lips you have."

I will start: I have 13: 1 AU58+, 2 AU55, 1 AU53, 1 XF45, 1 XF40,

1 VF35, 1 VF30, 2 VF25, 1 F15, 1 F12, 1 G6 These coins are all raw,

but are very fairly graded.

I am working on a grading set. I'd like to know if anyone in the

group has what they feel is a true UNC coin.

** Some responses so far haven't produced an UNC coin, but coins in

G6, F15, XF45, AU53. If you haven't sent in your 1888-O "Hot Lips"

descriptions yet, you may still participate. The NGC Population

report lists one certified at MS60, none higher.

VAM THING II COMING SOON AT FUN SHOW

** Only 11 more days until "VAM THING II" at the FUN show in Fort

Lauderdale, Florida. Anyone still "on the fence" about attending

the show still has time to make arrangements to be there,

especially Friday afternoon for the VAM Thing. Here's a

preliminary agenda of the meeting.

VAM THING - II

Annual FUN Show Meeting of the Society of Silver Dollar Collectors

Friday, January 14, 2005

4:00 pm Room TBA

I. Opening Welcome

Part One: Jeff Oxman, President

- Convey our excitement about VAMs

- Discuss Club Objectives for 2005

Part Two: Michael Fey, Vice-President

- Today's VAM Market

- Where do we go from here?

II. Reorganization & Revitalization of the SSDC

Ash Harrison, SSDC Membership/Finances Director

- Report on what's taking place in the Reorganization

- Update on SSDC Finances & current club balances

- Discuss SSDC Website

- Encourage participation in the SSDC

III. New Technology in VAM Collecting

Introduction of John Baumgart

- VAM-E Update

- Presentation of Computer-Assisted Attribution Technology

IV. Reports from other VAM Specialists in attendance with the

objective of presenting highlights of cutting-edge research

V. Discussion Forum for audience questions

VAM-E WANT LIST

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132, 166. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1887 VAM 12 "Alligator Eye" coins wanted in NGC, PCGS, or ANACS

MS60-62. Contact Michael Fey, feyms@aol.com

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 2 -- January 19, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, some reviews of the FUN show, and some information about the only certified 1888-O Hot Lips.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

1888-O "HOT LIPS" FOLLOW-UP

** Michael Fey comments on the only 1888-O "Hot Lips" certified

as an uncirculated coin.

I examined the NGC 60 Hotlips while in its holder and, in my

opinion, it wasn't an Unc. It had a very long hairline scratch

on the reverse the full diameter of the coin. If I were grading

it, it would have been a "no grade". The coin was subsequently

crossed to a PCGS 58 holder and still sold for big $$$$.

I have several Hotlips in my collection in various grades, some

raw, some certified. I continue to love this variety as it has

huge "eyeball noticeable" doubling. It will always be a great

ambassador for variety collecting. I have seen specimens with

nice rims cuds, minor rotations, and even PL surfaces (wow!).

The obverse is always mushy looking due to the extent of the

die doubling. I don't think a well struck specimen with well

defined hair above the ear is even possible, but if one

turned up...whoa!

VAM THING II AND FUN SHOW REPORTS

** Here are some reports from the FUN show and the 2nd annual VAM

Thing. You'll read some duplication, but it should serve to

encourage readers to consider attending next year. If you have

some FUN commentary you'd like to share, send it my way.

** From Michael Fey

More than 50 collectors attended the 2nd Annual "VAM Thing" at FUN.

The new SSDC is strong and growing with up to 6 new memberships

being received per week according to SSDC Membership Director,

Ash Harrison. There's more than $2000 in the bank, and SSDC

advertisements in coin newspapers are planned.

John Baumgart is doing an excellent job with SSDC VAM-E, which is

currently free to anyone who signs up to read it. There was

mention of the possibility that the SSDC VAM-E may be limited

to only those who are paid members of the SSDC. John gave a

demonstration of the new 1878 8TF Attribution Wizard, and

offered a new 1879-S Reverse of '78 CD-ROM Attribution Wizard.

Rob Joyce distributed handouts that gave analyses of 1921-D

Registry sets, Top 100 populations, Hot 50 populations, and

Top 50 Peace populations.

Congratulations to Jeff Oxman who was awarded the 2nd Annual

VAM Master award. Leroy Van Allen was given the very first

award last year. Jeff has carried advanced Morgan dollar

collecting on his back since the 1990's, and has contributed

more to the VAM collecting hobby than any else since Leroy

Van Allen and A. George Mallis wrote the VAM book.

Jeff also brought a draft of his new and updated 1878 8TF

Attribution Guide which is sure to be printed and released

in the very near future.

Congratulations to Rob Joyce for winning the 2nd annual Terry

Armstrong Memorial Award. Rob's tireless efforts to promote

VAM collecting, and his recent book "Fun with 1921: Die Breaks,

Die Gouges, and Filled Dies" are a huge contribution to the

advanced silver dollar market.

Dr. Mark Kimpton brought a draft of his forthcoming book on

clashed Morgan Dollar die varieties.

I reported briefly on the trend of increasing values for Top

100 Morgan dollars and VAMs since 1997, but was literally

speechless when I heard from the audience that a PCGS VF30

1902-O "micro O" had just traded hands in the Heritage auction for

a whopping $5100 including the commission.

Perhaps the cherrypick of the show was a PCI 64DMPL 1878 7/8 TF

VAM 32, although many other great coins were found. If you

attended the show and found something good, please report it

to the VAM-E.

A FUN time was had by all. At our next meeting, we will likely

have a VAM swap & shop after the meeting. I hope to see

you there.

** From Rob Joyce

Just got back from FUN and had a great time. Good coins on the

floor. At first I thought the 21-Ds were picked in advance but

I just started slow. Only got to about 75-80% of the tables!

SSDC meeting was super. Jeff O, Michael F, Ash H, John B,

Mark K, Lloyd G, Larry B, Dennis H from the PCGS board, others

(expected to see David Close, and a couple others that were not

there). I didn't count people but my 35 handouts were gone and

several didn't get them. Maybe 40 people? John updated the

8TF CD, and had the new 79S rev 78 guide. All 3 CDs (hot 50

as well) sold great. I sold some 21-D books (about 6) and had

many requests for the 2nd edition. Jeff had 10 proof copies

of the new 8TF book, I got one and many folks including John B

and Ash H were locked out. Jeff promised he had 2 more drafts

at homefor them, others would need to wait for the book (soon).

At the end we all milled around looking at coins. John B

found a die gouge in the R of LIBERTY that matched an 8TF I believed

was a possible 14.20. It is so worn most of the diagnostics

are long gone. The diagnostic is not in Jeff's new book but it

is on the new 8TF CD which has more pics. Gave it to Larry to

slab for my "worst known" 8TF set. I'll send the VAM-E a list

of my damaged but ultra rare 8TFs in the coming weeks when that

one is confirmed and returns.

I had dinner with John B and Mark K Thursday night. Attended the

FUN banquet with Michael Fey on Friday night and started the day

with the National Silver Dollar Roundtable breakfast where I sat

with Bill Fivaz. Was very nice hanging out with the VAM guys!

Found the following:

21-D VAM-1V NGC 64

21-D VAM-1A raw, at ANACS now, Randy Campbell says 61ish, maybe 60.

Got it at a table with only 1 21-D in their case. Because he was

helping another customer, I almost didn't ask to see it!

21-D VAM-1AY AU PL (first coin I saw at the show!), 21-D VAM-1AY

MS-62ish non-PL. Bought both. I also saw a NGC 64DMPL 1AY. Guy

says it is not the Heritage coin that was also a 64 DMPL. I bought

neither of these coins as one could buy a decent car for what they

go for.

Bought an 1887-S NGC 63-PL great coin. Unattributed S/S VAM-2.

If you find a PL or DMPL 87-S its usually a VAM-2. They are out

there. This is a nice coin so I upgraded.

Got a 21-P die gouge L of DOLLAR, and a pitted reverse in 63/64

both raw and I haven't looked up the VAM numbers yet. 21-P in

NGC 63 that has a very weak E of we. Not weak enough Leroy

would VAM, but very distinct. Bought a 21-D with die polish in

the wings (hairy armpits) but have not studied yet.

Also from the show: 21-D VAM-1U, VAM-1R, 1T, 1AE, 1AM. All are

at ANACS, some nicer than others. All were in MS flips. Nobody

had a 21 bucket to go through other than... Golden Eagle of

course. I didn't take the time as I had been there recently.

Bought 2 1921-Ps with different "dots" from Larry Briggs.

Saw an NGC 65 VAM-1I that was MDS with the outline but not the

full chunk out. Decided to sleep on it and never got back to

the table.

Bought a 1921-P VAM-3A spike TF from Al Johnbriar. It also has

a rim clip making it pretty neat!

Bought a VG long nock, need to VAM it, not 27, 57, or 72 from

memory. Can't do the others without my scope and notes.

Got 3 struck through coin from Silvertown. All dipped AU but

cool.

Got a 22-D with major die cracks wide enough its probably got

a VAM number. Need to research.

Sold enough at the show that I told a couple people I'm in the

market for a VAM-44 ;-) We'll see what emerges and at what price.

Looked at 1878 coins at only 1 table, with John B. When told

him I had not checked any, the dealer dropped a stack of 15 8TFs

in front of me. I was half way though when I noticed the vams

were already on the BACK of the flips. All common. Fey found

a VAM-32 in 64 DMPL! John B got some non-8TF 1878 varieties,

flipping one right at the show. Mark bought an attributed VAM-9

which was actually a VAM-9A clashed IN so he was happy.

Think that is it but in the heat of battle, who knows what lurks

in the bottom of my bag to unpack.

Everybody was buzzing about the amazing prices in the auctions.

Huge money moving into big coins still.

** From John Baumgart

The three days your editor spent at the FUN show came just as a

nasty cold front was bearing down on the VAM-E editorial offices.

Other than my family, who stayed home, few could disagree that

the timing was perfect. The bourse floor seemed bigger than last

year, although that could just be my imagination. I managed to

add some coins to my 1878 set, including an uncirculated VAM 8,

an AU 14.10, and an AU 7TF VAM 118, which is one of the 7TF keys.

I also picked up 1878 VAM 113, 141, 162 dupes and a few 1890-O

VAM 10 "Comets." When I wasn't looking for coins (and sometimes

when I was), I ran into Rob Joyce, Mark Kimpton, Jeff Oxman,

Michael Fey, Lloyd Gabbert, and Mike Andrew.

The VAM Thing seemed to pull a slightly larger crowd than last year,

and was kicked off by ANA president Gary Lewis presenting the ANA's

President's Award to Jeff Oxman. Michael Fey then presented the

"VAMMaster" award to Jeff Oxman and the Terry Armstrong Memorial

Award to Rob Joyce. Jeff and Michael presented a promising outlook

for the future of the SSDC, Ash Harrison gave a membership report,

Rob Joyce gave a good presentation on where 1921-D variety

collecting is heading, I presented the latest computer-assisted

attribution software, which I used to attribute Rob's worst

known 1878 VAM 14.20, Jeff brought some proofs of the new 8TF book,

and there was an informal "show and tell" gathering. Overall,

quite a good time.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1887 VAM 12 "Alligator Eye" coins wanted in NGC, PCGS, or ANACS

MS60-62. Contact Michael Fey, feyms@aol.com

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 3 -- February 6, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, a preview of what Jeff Oxman is working on, some

FUN cherrypicks. Also a note about membership applications.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

MORE FUN CHERRYPICKS

** From Dennis Halladay

I was able to find two PCGS MS64 1890-O VAM 10 Comets in middle/late

die state at the FUN show. Paid non-variety price for them, although

one dealer should be arrested for what he considered normal retail

price. Here's a picture of the "Comet tail" details.

http://varslab.com/comets.jpg

SPECIAL REPORT COMING

** Jeff Oxman writes about a SSDC Special Report he's working on

To start off the New Year, SSDC President Jeff Oxman is putting

the finishing touches on the next SSDC Special Report, entitled

"Looking in the Rear-View Mirror, (A Personal Perspective on the

VAM Market)." It's a long title with a short theme -- VAMs have

come a long way, and they're now red-hot!

The cornerstone for the article is the sale of the amazing Rafael

Romero VAM collection in November 2004 by Heritage Auctions. The

Palm Beach Sale was a watershed event, which offered 5,544 lots

and realized more than $12 million. Of interest to those who

generally don't travel to auctions, a significant part of this

success was internet and mail bidding, with over 2,000 bidders

submitting bids by internet or by mail.

The Rafael Romero portion of the sale, consisting of his "Top 100"

and "Hot 50" collections, brought astounding prices. And this

success forms the basis of Special Report #104. For VAM collectors,

here is a prime opportunity to see what nearly complete sets of

varieties would bring in today's market. Yes, the results were

spectacular!

Several pages of charts that have been created to quickly and

easily identify the date & mintmark, VAM number, type of variety,

grade and the price realized for the individual VAMs offered.

The information should be useful to every VAM enthusiast, who

has asked himself, "What's it worth?" in regards to coins in his

collection.

It is hoped that SSDC members will find the auction data, as well

as the overview of the development of VAM collecting, helpful

in seeing where VAMs have come from and where they are today,

in the opinion of this writer. But more than that, the

information presented will paint a vivid picture as to where

VAMs are going in the future.

TOP 100 INSIGHTS UPDATE

** Michael Fey updates us on the upcoming issue

I've been crunching pricing data for several days now in preparation

for sending the Winter, 2005 issue of Top 100 Insights and Value

Guide. I hope to have it out by late next week. There are many

RECORD breaking new prices.

If you have new information and/or pricing to report, please send

it to Feyms@aol.com ASAP.

SSDC AWARDS

At the 2nd Annual Society of Silver Dollar Collectors (SSDC)

"VAM Thing" meeting at the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) on

Friday, January 14th, Jeff Oxman was only the second person ever

to be honored with the coveted SSDC VAM Master Award.

The VAM Master award is given to recognize significant

accomplishments in advanced Morgan and Peace silver dollar

collecting. According to Michael S. Fey, co-author with Jeff

Oxman of the Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties: The VAM Keys and

Top 100 CD, "Jeff has done more for VAM collecting since Leroy

Van Allen and A. Geroge Mallis published their Comprehensive

Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars than anyone

else in the history of VAM collecting."

Jeff Oxman kept VAM collecting alive in the late 1980's when

VAM collecting declined after lack of dealer promotion. He

founded the SSDC, held several SSDC VAM auctions, and published

the Journal of the Society of Silver Dollar Collectors from

1988 to 1997, with several special issues appearing annually

to date. He co-authored The 1878 8TF Morgan Dollar Attribution

Guide with Les Hartnett, published The 1878 7/8 TF Morgan Dollar

Attribution Guide, The Hot 50 Morgan Dollar Varieties, co-authored

The Official Guide to the Top 50 Peace Dollars with Dr. David

Close, and became the first President of the newly reorganized

SSDC in 2004. Jeff also teamed up with veteran VAM collector

and software developer John Baumgart to create three coin CDs,

The 1878 8TF Morgan Dollar Attribution Wizard, the Hot 50 Morgan

Dollar Attribution Wizard, and the 1879-S Reverse of '78

Attribution Wizard.

Jeff served as Vice-President of the National Silver Dollar

Roundtable (NSDR) and received both the NSDR Presidential Award

and the coveted Man of the Year Award. At the FUN convention

this year, he received the ANA Presidential Award from ANA

President Gary Lewis.

Rob Joyce was only the second person ever to be honored with the

coveted SSDC Terry Armstrong Memorial Award.

The SSDC Terry Armstrong Memorial Award is given to those

individuals who embody the spirit and good will of Terry Armstrong,

and who contribute to advanced Morgan and Peace silver dollar

collecting. According to Michael S. Fey, Vice President of the

SSDC, "Rob Joyce has created a whole new area of Morgan dollar

collecting with his new book "Fun with 1921 -- Denver Morgan Dollars

with Die Breaks, Die Gouges, and Filled Dies." He is actively

supporting this new frontier of variety collecting with talks at

major shows, dissemination of free information, reports of

trading activity, and registry sets. The number of people

collecting 1921-D varieties has grown tremendously in the past

year.

Many Morgan dollar collectors appreciate Rob as they can now

pursue coins having relatively low price tags, in the $12.50 and

up range. Dealers are happy that collectors are now paying

attention to, and buying some of their common 1921-D Morgan

dollars. The SSDC is happy that more people are enjoying the

collecting of silver dollars.

A NOTE FROM THE MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY

** From Ash Harrison regarding membership applications.

Please note that over the last couple months, we have been in the

process of transferring the accounting over to my control. In the

process, 3 or 4 applications have been misplaced. If you have sent

an application to California OR North Carolina and have not heard

anything in return OR you did not send your email address with the

application, please contact Ash Harrison at ash@ashmore.com.

MICHAEL FEY TO RUN FOR ANA GOVERNOR

Michael S. Fey announced his intention to run for the ANA Board

of Governors at the FUN show.

This is Fey's second attempt to gain a seat on the Board. His

past bid to the ANA Board of Governors in 2002 feel short only 29

votes out of 4260, making him an alternative in the event another

Board member would have been unable to continue in that capacity.

Many know Fey as co-author, Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties: The

VAM Keys and perhaps through his quarterly newsletter Top 100

Insights & Value Guide. Others know him as President of Rare

Coin Investments (RCI) and Vice President of the Society of Silver

Dollar Collectors. He belongs to more than a dozen numismatic

organizations around the country and has been an avid collector

of various U.S. coin types as well as foreign coins, tokens and

medals. Fey is credited with discovering and published on dozens

of Morgan & Peace dollar varieties, as well as Indian cents,

Barber and Seated coinage. He was a recipient of the Glenn

Smedley Award in 2001 and the President's Award from the American

Numismatic Association in 2004.

Fey's background includes Board experience with both for-profit

and not-for-profit companies including such positions as Chairman

of the Board. He directed several successful companies as

President, and now manages a successful coin business. He

earned a Doctorate degree from Cornell University, and served

as a U.S. Army Officer during the Vietnam War era.

When questioned about why he wanted to run again for the Board,

Fey replied, "The bottom line is that I simply love collecting

and relish the wonderful relationships I've made through this

fine hobby. I would now like to offer my collective business

and numismatic experience to the ANA to build a better future

for our hobby."

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1887 VAM 12 "Alligator Eye" coins wanted in NGC, PCGS, or ANACS

MS60-62. Contact Michael Fey, feyms@aol.com

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 4 -- February 14, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week's VAM-E is bursting at the seams as William Bland completes a Top 50 Peace dollar set, Mark Kimpton writes about clashed dies, Rob Joyce announces an SSDC meeting in Baltimore, and Michael Fey talks about some of the big money being spent on Top 100 VAMs.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

WILLIAM BLAND COMPLETES QUEST FOR TOP 50 SET

** From Eric Justice

I am excited to announce the completion of William Bland's set of

Top 50 peace dollars. Bill is one of only a handful of VAMers to

complete this task.

The quest for the TOP 50 is not an easy one, and Bill has acquired

an amazing 46 of the TOP 50 in UNCIRCULATED condition. Including

an Ultra Rare 1934-D VAM 4 Dbld Die Micro D in 62, a 1922 VAM 2E

Wing Break in a census topper GEM 65, a 1928-S Dbld DIe Obverse

VAM 3 in Gem 65 and the highly sought after 1923 Tail O in 58!

Congratulations Bill, on building an awesome complete set of TOP

50 peace dollars. Bill is in process of submitting his set as

a SSDC VAM Registry Set.

Are you close or have you completed the quest for the TOP 50 set?

I would love to hear about your finest or needed? Contact Eric

Justice at ehjustice@aol.com

Bill comments on his favorite VAMs from his set below:

The 1922 VAM 2E in MS65 is not only a rare coin but a beautiful

one as well, lightly toned around the rims. My favorite Top 50

visual coin is my NGC 1925 VAM 5 Missing Ray . . . which is an

incredible mauve...and after that the 1934D VAM 3 NGC MS65

(which should be 66) and 1926 VAM 2 SEGS MS66 - both of these

coins are silken and milky.

1921 VAM 3 PCGS MS65 (not attributed on holder) Re-engraved Reverse

L

1922 VAM 1A NGC MS64 Whisker Jaw

VAM 1F ANACS MS60 Die Break rev DOLLAR

VAM 2A SEGS MS63 Ear Ring

VAM 2C ANACS MS64 Extra Hair

VAM 2E ANACS MS65 Wing Break

VAM 2F ANACS MS63 Die Gouge Rays

VAM 4 ANACS MS64 Dbl Die

VAM 5 ANACS MS63 Dbl Die

VAM 5A ANACS MS61 (in a 2G holder) Scar Face

VAM 6 w. obv. lamination SEGS MS63 Dbl Die

VAM 7 ANACS MS63 Dbl Die

VAM 8 NGC MS64 (not attributed on holder) Dbl Die

VAM 12A ANACS MS64 Moustache

1922-D VAM 3 ANACS MS63 Dbl Die

VAM 4 NGC VF35 Dbl Die

VAM 7 NGC AU58 Dbl Die

1922-S VAM 3 ANACS AU55 Dbl Die

1923 VAM 1A ANACS MS63 Whisker Jaw

VAM 1B ANACS MS64 Extra Hair

VAM 1C NGC AU 58 EDS Tail O

VAM 1D NGC MS62 LDS Whisker Cheek

VAM 1E ANACS MS64 Wing Break

VAM 1F SEGS MS65 Chin Bar

VAM 1'O' ANACS MS64 Die Break Wing

VAM 2 ANACS MS63 Dbl Die

VAM 3 ANACS MS65 Dbl Die

1923-D VAM 2 NGC MS61 Dbl Die

1923-S VAM 1C SEGS MS63 Pitted Reverse

1924 VAM 1A ANACS MS64 Bar D

VAM 1C ICG MS65 EDS Extra Hair

VAM 2 ANACS MS62 Dbl Die

VAM 5A ANACS MS64 Wing Break

1924-S VAM 3 ANACS AU50 Dbl Die

1925 VAM 1A NGC MS65 Die Gouge Rays

VAM 3 SEGS MS63 Dbl Die

VAM 5 NGC MS64 Missing Ray

1925-S VAM 2 ANACS MS63 Dbl Die

VAM 3 ANACS MS63 Dbl Die

1926 VAM 2 SEGS MS66 Dbl Die

1926-S VAM 4 ANACS MS62 Extra Berry

VAM 5 ANACS MS63 Dbl Die

1927 VAM 2 SEGS MS63 Dbl Die

1927-D VAM 2 NGC MS64 Dbl Die

1927-S VAM 3 NGC MS64 Dbl Die

1928-S VAM 3 ANACS MS65 Dbl Die

1934-D VAM 3 NGC MS65 Dbl Die Obverse Medium D

VAM 4 ANACS MS62 Micro D Doubled Obverse

1935-S VAM 4 ANACS EF40 Extra Ray, Dbl Die

2004 VAM SUPPLEMENT AVAILABLE

** Leroy Van Allen has the annual VAM book addendum ready

2004 VAM Supplement is finally available after I made some

corrections & additions! Xerox copies are 141 pages with

descriptive listings covering 1992 thru Dec 2004 and 472 photos

for 2004 only. Price is $14 plus $3 p&h.

2003 VAM Supplement photos only is also available in Xerox form

with 336 photos in 63 pages for $7 plus $2 p&h. These and other

Supplements and documents are still available from me.

Leroy Van Allen

P. O. Box 196

Sidney, OH 45365

SSDC MEETING IN BALTIMORE

** Rob Joyce will be holding an SSDC meeting in Baltimore

There will be a Society of Silver Dollar Collector's meeting at the

Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention on Saturday, March 12th.

Open to everyone, silver dollar variety enthusiasts will meet

from 2PM to 3PM in Room 301. Rob Joyce will host, presenting some

VAM attribution hints and sharing some new 1921 Morgan VAM

information. Plenty of time will be reserved for show and tell

(bring your new or favorite finds!) as well as VAM help where others

can assist in identifying tough varieties. Come out and meet your

fellow VAM enthusiasts! Questions or have something to present?

Email Rob: rob@rjrc.com

THE SUPER CD (CLASHED DIE) COLLECTION

** Mark Kimpton writes about his specialty -- clashed dies

Clashed Coins in a Class by Themselves

In 1997 there were well over 2000 varieties in the Morgan dollar

series. Since that time even more have been found. With so much

to choose from collectors were unfocused as to which varieties to

pursue. The advanced collector did not want to waste their time

sorting through the insignificant or common. What they were

looking for was the incredible. It was this concept that brought

forth the elite collections of the TOP 100 and HOT 50 varieties.

These were examples that had extraordinary interest and/or extreme

rarity. This often led to tremendous value. The ability to find

extraordinary coins frequently at common prices fueled the

revolution that brought VAM collecting into the mainstream.

Along with the explosion of popularity, the TOP 100 and HOT 50

lists inspired the next generation of new and exciting discoveries.

One coin in particular sparked a wave of exploration with the

possibility of what else may be found. That coin was the 1889 P

VAM 23A. For over 100 years the only clashed letter type of

variety known on a Morgan dollar was the "E" reverse. That all

changed with the discovery of the 89 P VAM 23A. This coin had

some of the deepest clashed letter transfer of ANY Morgan dollar

variety. While this alone was impressive, the truly amazing part

of the discovery was the letters "I,n" and later "s,t" found

clashed onto the front of the coin. Never before had anything

like it been found.

If the "E" reverse was not the only type of letter that could be

found clashed onto a Morgan dollar, what else might exist? The

pursuit of that question resulted in several new types of clashing

being found as well as over 100 new discoveries! A whole new

frontier of VAM collecting was born. With such explosive growth

in such a short period of time it left a gap between what new VAMs

were known to exist and how many people knew about them. Then

there was the old difficulty of trying to separate the common from

the incredible. This has led to the introduction of the SUPER CD

collection. These are clashed die varieties that are in a class

by themselves.

Much like the TOP 100 and HOT 50 collections, the SUPER CD

collection in comprised by the most extraordinary varieties known

to exist. While the SUPER CD's only include clashed varieties,

they encompass the entire Morgan dollar series with examples being

taken from the very first year of production, in 1878, through to

the last year of production, in 1921. There are numerous varieties

from various dates between 1878 and 1921 as well as examples from

every mint except the Denver mint included in the SUPER CD collection.

Clashed varieties are no longer limited to simply the "E" reverse

types. There are reverse motto, mint mark, designer initial,

reverse legend, as well as die break types of examples included

in the SUPER CD's. While there has been over 150 examples of

clashed die varieties found, only 25 have been included into the

SUPER CD collection. As this is a growing field there may be

further additions to this list if the varieties warrant it. What

the future holds will be interesting to see.

THE SUPER CD (Clashed Die) COLLECTION

1. 1878 P VAM 2A

2. 1878 P VAM 41C

3. 1878 P VAM 42A

4. 1878 P VAM 84A

5. 1878 S VAM 17A

6. 1880 P VAM 24A

7. 1880 P VAM 32A

8. 1880 CC VAM 3A

9. 1882 O VAM 29A

10. 1883 O VAM 22A

11. 1885 P VAM 4A

12. 1885 P VAM 9A

13. 1885 P VAM 23A

14. 1887 P VAM 3A

15. 1887 O VAM 30A

16. 1888 S VAM 3A

17. 1890 O VAM 1B

18. 1890 O VAM 4A

19. 1901 O VAM 1A LDS

20. 1901 O VAM 25A

21. 1901 O VAM 39A

22. 1902 O VAM 26A

23. 1904 O VAM 4B

24. 1904 O VAM 28A

25. 1921 P VAM 40A

QUESTION ABOUT 1878 8TF VAM 14.2

** Ed Malinowski has a question about the 1878 VAM 14.2

I was wondering how many of the members have a 1878 VAM 14.2 early

die state and what grade? The early die state has no die cracks

on the obverse behind the head and no die clashes front or back

and with no die cracks behind head. I have one example in PCGS 61PL.

WINTER 2005 TOP 100 INSIGHTS FEATURES SOME TOUGH ONES

** Michael Fey has a preview of the Winter 2005, Top 100 Insights

The Winter, 2005 issue of Top 100 Insights and Value Guide featured

the real tough Top 100 Morgan dollar varieties to find, and tips on

how to spot them. Morgan dollar varieties were classified as Ultra

Rare, or nearly impossible to find, Extremely Rare, difficult to

find yet obtainable, and Very Rare, obtainable but rare and in

limited availability due to high demand.

Michael Fey, author of the newsletter claimed, "the advanced Morgan

silver dollar variety market is RED HOT!" With PCGS starting to

grade Top 100 coins, auction houses such as Heritage (ie. Raphael

Romero Collection) starting to recognize Top 100 coins in their

catalogs, and a seemingly insatiable demand to have the best of

these rare Morgan dollar varieties, prices are going sky high.

Record prices were recorded for numerous varieties, some absolutely

incredible. Below is a listing of these new records along with

their common price counterpart.

1878 7TF VAM 215 PCGS PR 64; formerly $24K, now $155,000.

1878 7TF Rev '79 VAM 223; common $100, sold for $1322

1879-S Rev '78 Var. PCGS 65PL; common $150, sold for $10,975.

1879-CC VAM 3 Capped Die PCGS65 DMPL sold for $37,375 .

1880 "80/79" VAM 23 ANACS 62;, common $25, now $2070.

1880-CC Rev '78 "80/79" VAM 4 PCGS 65 DMPL; common $5250, now $17,250.

1880-S "80/79" VAM 8 PCGS 68 sold for $5060.

1882-O/S VAM 5 EDS NGC 61 DMPL; common under $100, sold for $4025.

1888-O VAM 4 Hotlips PCGS 58; common $20, two sold: $8912 and $6600

1892-S VAM 2 PCGS 61 DMPL; unattributed in Heritage's Platinum auction

$74,750 -- A highlight!

1896-O VAM 4 Micro "O" PCGS 40; common $15, sold for $2990.

1899-O Micro "O" Variety PCGS 62; common $25, sold for $948.

1900-O Micro "O" VAM 5 PCGS 35; common $15, sold for $2645.

1901 VAM 3 Doubled Die Reverse PCGS 58; common $500, sold for $6612

1902-O Micro "O" VAM 3 PCGS 30; common $15, sold for $5100.

1903-S Small S VAM 2 NGC 62; formerly unknown, common $4000, now $10,201.

In addition, an 8TF VAM 14.9 ultra rarity in ANACS 63 DMPL sold

for $7800 ($350 common), an 8TF VAM 14.13 in NGC 62PL sold for

$6500 ($200 common), and an AU+ VAM 14.5 sold for $1725 ($75 common).

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1887 VAM 12 "Alligator Eye" coins wanted in NGC, PCGS, or ANACS

MS60-62. Contact Michael Fey, feyms@aol.com

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 5 -- February 28, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week's VAM-E features an article about 1880-O overdates by Jeff Oxman, some 1878 questions and answers.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

THE 1880-O OVERDATE DIE STATE VARIETIES

by Jeff Oxman

One of the cutting-edge areas of Morgan dollar variety collecting

is collecting by sub-variety. It's not something that appeals to

everyone, but the sub-varieties of the major sets can be quite

challenging. For instance, the 1880-O Overdates presently consist

of the VAM 4, 5, 6, 6A, 6B (49), 6C, 16, 17, 21, 25 and 55. But

few collectors, up to this point, have looked at the die state

sub-varieties and put together a set based on where a variety

was struck in the life of the die.

I'm currently doing research in such die state varieties in order

to list them separately on the VAMLINK Set Registry. Here are my

initial notes:

VAM 4 EDS (PL or DMPL)

VAM 4 Non PL

VAM 5 EDS (PL or DMPL)

VAM 5 Non PL

VAM 6 1 Clash on Obv

VAM 6A No Clashes

VAM 6A 1 Clash

VAM 6B 1 Clash Obv/O Clash Rev

VAM 6C 2 Clashes Obv/1 Clash Rev

VAM 16 No Clashes

VAM 17 No Clashes

VAM 17 1 Clash

VAM 21 No Clash Obv/1 Clash Rev

VAM 25 No Clashes

VAM 55 1 Clash Obv/No Clashes Rev

I might also mention that one potential use of such research is

determining the striking sequence of related varieties. As most

of our readers know, VAMs 6, 6A, 6B, 6C and 25 all share the

same obverse die. Therefore, an obverse with no evidence of

clashing would presumably have been used in the coining press

before a die showing one clash mark. And so on.

In the case of the VAM 6 sequence, a preliminary guess would be

that the VAM 25 came first (no clashing), and was followed by

VAM 6A (no clashing on some specimens and one clash on others).

Dies for VAMs 6 and 6B all show one clash, so they were next.

And last was the VAM 6C with its 2 obverse clashes and one

reverse clash.

Die state information can also be useful in attributions. If

it's true that all VAM 16's show no clashing, then it stands

to reason that a coin showing obverse clashing is not the VAM

16. This would lead the specialist to then look at the VAM 55

diagnostics.

For some collectors, the above information may prove especially

useful. In any case, as always, information is the key!

QUESTION ABOUT 1878 "BROKEN N&M" VAMs

** Rich Jepeal asks about the 1878 7TF VAMs with Broken N & M

How do you tell the difference between these VAMs?

Does the 110 have a intact "r" in trust?

Does the 145 and 162 have a broken "r" or completely missing "r"?

If the above is true, how do you tell between a 145 and 162?

** My response

VAM 110 - neither the 'o' in God nor the 'r' in trust is broken

VAM 145 - open 'o' in God

VAM 162 - broken 'r' in trust

In addition, two of the 1878 "7/8" VAMs, the VAM 40 and VAM 31

were also struck with this obverse.

RESPONSES TO 1878 8TF VAM 14.2 QUESTION

** Ed Malinowski had asked a question about the 1878 VAM 14.2

I was wondering how many of the members have a 1878 VAM 14.2 early

die state and what grade? The early die state has no die cracks

on the obverse behind the head and no die clashes front or back

and with no die cracks behind head. I have one example in PCGS 61PL.

** Clayton Christiansen responds:

I have an EDS 1878 VAM 14.2, NGC MS63PL in my set.

** Dan W. responds:

I have, from the "Webster" collection, (1)PCGS MS63PL, (1)ANACS MS63PL.

2004 VAM SUPPLEMENT AVAILABLE

** Leroy Van Allen has the annual VAM book addendum ready

2004 VAM Supplement is finally available after I made some

corrections & additions! Xerox copies are 141 pages with

descriptive listings covering 1992 thru Dec 2004 and 472 photos

for 2004 only. Price is $14 plus $3 p&h.

2003 VAM Supplement photos only is also available in Xerox form

with 336 photos in 63 pages for $7 plus $2 p&h. These and other

Supplements and documents are still available from me.

Leroy Van Allen

P. O. Box 196

Sidney, OH 45365

SSDC MEETING IN BALTIMORE

** Rob Joyce will be holding an SSDC meeting in Baltimore

There will be a Society of Silver Dollar Collector's meeting at the

Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention on Saturday, March 12th.

Open to everyone, silver dollar variety enthusiasts will meet

from 2PM to 3PM in Room 301. Rob Joyce will host, presenting some

VAM attribution hints and sharing some new 1921 Morgan VAM

information. Plenty of time will be reserved for show and tell

(bring your new or favorite finds!) as well as VAM help where others

can assist in identifying tough varieties. Come out and meet your

fellow VAM enthusiasts! Questions or have something to present?

Email Rob: rob@rjrc.com

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

1887 VAM 12 "Alligator Eye" coins wanted in NGC, PCGS, or ANACS

MS60-62. Contact Michael Fey, feyms@aol.com

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 6 -- March 11, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week's VAM-E features a guest article about what happens to dies as they break, and an article about the 1921 Zerbe proof dies.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

Today marked the 127th anniversary of the first striking of the

Morgan dollar. I would like to say that at 3:15 p.m. EST today

I stopped what I was doing, faced Philadelphia and contemplated

the 1878 VAM 9, but I was in a project planning meeting. Next

year's event, being a power-of-two anniversary significant to those

of us who earn our coin collecting budgets in the software industry,

should prove to be more ceremonious. It will even fall on a Saturday.

HOW DIES DIE

** I was recently involved in a thread in the rec.collecting.coins

newsgroup about die cracks and breaks that started with someone

asking about a large, radial crack on a proof Sacagewea dollar

(which, I suppose, marginally counts as a silver dollar variety).

The following is a posting by Sean Moffatt, an Operations Manager

at the Hoffman Mint, being used with his permission. I thought

it was some interesting reading and figured it might be of

interest here.

A die crack can turn from un-noticable to a broken die within a few

strokes. I was running a 200 ton press at 200/minute when there was

an odd pop and the press stopped due to a collar problem. Typically,

this is an off center strike or a clipped blank of some type. What

I found was a small chunk of the outer edge of the ram (hammer) die

missing. I had the catch bin right there and did a search and found

only 7 coins (tokens) that had any sign of a crack before the break.

This was the fastest instance of a crack actually becoming a break

that I have run. It is very cool to see the crack go from nothing

getting larger with each strike until it broke on the progression

set. I kept the progression set with the die. I added it to an

educational display of minting errors that I take to area coin

shows, (the next one being the WESTS token jamboree March 19-20

in Dublin, CA). I have had others die crack into die breaks with

a visible crack range of 50 pieces or so.

Something to consider is with presses running anywhere from 175 - 750+

coins per minute, this doesn't give the operator much of a chance

to find, identify, and catch a problem like this, especially if

he is watching multiple presses. Proof presses run slower and

finished coins are examined under greater scrutiny than business

strikes, and yet some still get through. I have also seen cracked

dies that have lasted for thousands of strikes without a problem.

I have also had dies break in a single strike, (typically this is

to a brockage of some kind).

A lot of what causes a die to crack or break has to do with the

die steel, tempering of that steel, etc. S7 steel will deform

before it cracks, D2 steel will crack before it deforms (with the

steels at the same hardness). I could go on for days on this

subject. I have never seen a die explode like a hand grenade.

I have a D2 steel Chuck-e-Cheese die that blew into 4 pieces during

a brockage, but the parts just kind of fell around the collar area

and did not go flying. Typically when a die does break it sounds

a lot like a .45 going off, POW! That sound is a pretty good

indication there is a die damage problem. I have heard of an

instance from a colleague where someone was striking a 3 or 4 inch

medallion in an open die set and the die exploded like a hand grenade.

I'm told that chunks of the die are still buried in the wall of the

facility where it happened. So it is possible. Modern coin presses

are all enclosed and if a die "blows up" the fragments will be

contained inside the enclosure. 25-30 years ago the Bliss and

Columbia type presses were running with open die areas which

could pose a shrapnel hazard when a die break happened. Modern

power press safety standards do not allow for this anymore.

Not all die cracks are on the coining surface. I have found dies with

cracks running down the neck, that only had a little nick on the

extreme outside of the border that would indicate there was a crack at

all to the operator. Dies like this can blow with no visible

warnings at all.

Die image design has a lot to do with cracking potiential, as

does the sharpness of corners in the image, and how sharp the image

rolls into the fields. Many die cutters know a bunch of little

tricks to minimize these problems, many of which are not visible

to the naked eye, but are quite apparent under a microscope if

you know what to look for.

The greater shrapnel hazard is to the hubbing press operators. Those

suckers can blow up. Modern hobbing presses have the squeeze area

behind metal doors with polycarbonate (bullet proof glass) windows.

I mounted 1/2" thick polycarb on all the openings of our hubbing

press. Even then, procedure is to stand to the side with some

press frame between the operator and dies while hubbing, just in case.

Sean Moffatt

Operations Manager

Hoffman Mint

WILL THE REAL 1921 PROOF DIES PLEASE STAND UP!

** Leroy Van Allen writes about his findings on the Zerbe proofs

and 1921 Peace dollar proof dies.

by Leroy Van Allen

The hobby had a fortunate coincidence in January and February 2005!

The dies used to strike the 1921-P Morgan dollar so-called Zerbe

"Proof" coins were positively identified with clear die markers.

At the same time, the dies used to strike the 1921 Peace dollar

Matte and Satin proofs were also positively identified. Thus,

collectors now have clear die markers to identify the business

coins struck with these 1921 proof dies.

The so-called Zerbe "Proof" dies business strikes have been

promoted and sold over the past 15-20 years based on the often

wrong diagnostics that applied to many 1921-P D1 reverse dies.

Last January, Bill Van Note sent a 1921-P with D1 type reverse

for examination that appeared to have a key diagnostic that Walter

Breen had described for the Zerbe obverse die. It was listed as

VAM 47 with quadrupled right stars and doubled left stars and

possible Zerbe dies. After examining that coin ANACS confirmed

in February 2005, that it was indeed struck with Zerbe dies which

matched their diagnostics and that VAM 47 would be assigned to

future Zerbe die coins.

The diagnostic die markers for 1921 Zerbe "Proof" dies VAM 47 are:

OBVERSE - Quadrupled right stars, doubled left stars

- Thin die scratch up to right from left tip of serif

of left upright of second U in UNUM (Breen's die marker)

REVERSE - Prominent horizontal polishing line between eagle's legs

- Short double lines on fourth inner feather from bottom

of eagle's left wing next to body

- Extensive die polishing lines within wreath bow and to

right and left outsides

- D1 reverse type: Top arrow feather meets olive branch

at middle talon of eagle's right claw with weak olive

branch there (D2 reverse type top arrow feather meets

olive branch between right & center talons of eagle's

right claw with full olive branch there. Note: All D1

reverse dies have lines in top arrow head)

Die markers for the 1921 Matte and Satin proof Peace dollars were

identified by David Close while examining those proof coins for

sale at the FUN show of January 2003. In February 2005, David

forwarded business strikes of dies used to strike the 1921 Matte

and Satin proofs, plus a third coin with the obverse of a Matte

proof die mated to a different reverse die. VAM numbers were

assigned to these coins and photos were taken of diagnostic die

markers. None of the dies have significant die doubling, but all

have die polishing lines. The key diagnostic die markers for the

dies are as follows:

1921 Matte proof dies VAM 1F:

OBVERSE - Polishing lines around WE with two short horizontal

spikes from neck just below jaw

- Fine hooked vertical line bent to right at top of

right diagonal bar of V in TRVST

REVERSE - Light polishing line thru top of E in ONE parallel

to ray above it

- Double vertical polishing line up from middle of right

side of A in DOLLAR

1921 Matte obverse die VAM 1G:

OBVERSE - (Same as VAM 1F)

REVERSE - Different non-proof die

- Heavy diagonal polishing line to right of lowermost

olive leaf

- Heavy oblique polishing line to right of lower hill

right end

1921 Satin proof dies VAM 1H:

OBVERSE - Numerous tight elliptical polishing lines below jaw

and just below bottom of hair bun

REVERSE - Numerous horizontal die polishing lines between last S

in STATES and O in OF

- Die chip at top end of fourth ray down below eagle's

tail feathers

Collectors now have die markers to identify the business strikes

of the Morgan dollar Zerbe and Peace dollar Matte and Satin proof

dies. Good hunting!!

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, faraone@columbus.rr.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 7 -- March 25, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week's VAM-E features a couple show reports from Baltimore, a question about an 1878 8TF obverse, and some questions about Peace dollars.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

SHOW REPORT FROM BALTIMORE

** VAM collectors and 1921-D junkies Rob Joyce and Jack Lee

give their report of the recent show in Baltimore.

From Rob Joyce:

Lots of VAMmers in attendance. Kyle Aber, Michael Fey, Ash

Harrison, Rob Joyce, Mark Kimpton, Jack Lee, Brian Raines

and others The SSDC meeting was a small, intimate group of 7

people that pulled up chairs and shared variety information.

Rob Joyce led off with a handout identifying the 9 VAMs of

the 1921-S VAM 1B series. Of the 9 coins, he had 7 examples

there for people to study. He also had some 1921-D cherrypicks

from the show including a few new finest-known examples. Ash

Harrison wowed everyone with his hotlips grading set. I didn't

count but he easily had over 20 hotlips examples ranging in

grade from AG to AU-58 with three AU coins there. In addition

to a wide range of rare VAMs, Ash showed a pile of VAMs he won

in the Bowers and Merena auction including some micro Os, 1891

VAM 2A Moustache, 1880-O VAM 43, 1880 VAM 1A die break through

date, some clashed E reverses, and many, many more. He got

some incredible deals including a lot of 7 1878 8TF coins for

a total price of $104 including fees! Also contributing greatly

to the SSDC show and tell was Mark Kimpton who had a large pile

of.... you guessed it, clashed die coins. Cool examples of

obverse and reverse design transfers as well as multiple clashes.

Kyle Aber pulled out his show cherrypick... a beautiful mint

state 1878 VAM 14.8 8TF rarity. All-in-all, the SSDC session was

a great exchange with an awesome amount of VAM knowledge in one room.

From Jack Lee:

On the way in, met Rob Joyce right as the Friday morning opening

bell rang and was introduced to Ash Harrison, a very nice guy.

It was a pleasure to finally meet him and Ash is doing an

incredible job with the SSDC and his website. The show crowd

was relatively sparse, although much dealer-to-dealer business

was going in. I thought that was great news for vammers until

I heard the show had been cherry-picked for 1921-D coins (I am

a 21-D fanatic) on Dealer Day by a well-known expert. Bummer!

I found this to be true, as 21-D coins were very tough to find

all day. Finally it was time to get down to business.

My best morning finds were a pleasing 1921-D VAM 1AY in MS63

(Die scratch ICA) and a no-problem 1878 7TF AU VAM 171, Tripled R,

Top 100 coin. I also wasted $40 on a mysterious 7/8 TF coin that

looked partially double-struck but which ANACS identified as a

victim of highly aggressive whizzing. Now I've seen whizzed

coins before, but never like this. The coin doctor must have

been on steroids or related to Arnold as the letters were a good

1/16 of an inch apart on both sides. I considered it a lesson

learned and moved on. I purchased a tough 1878 VAM 115 from Al

Johnbrier at a great price. Right before noon, I located another

weakly clashed 1883-P VAM 11A, a variety I discovered late last

year; then met Rob for lunch. Rob had found an outstanding

1884-O/O, VAM 6, in MS65 and scored heavily in the 1921-D area

as well. I must admit I was feeling a little jealous. After we

inhaled some Whoppers at the local Burger King it was back to

the show.

My most intriguing find in the afternoon was an 1878 reverse 79

coin with strong doubling in parts of the obverse motto, which

I thought initially was a VAM 220. However, it didn't match my

VAM 171 or anything else I could locate so I'll be sending this

off to Leroy Van Allen soon for attribution. I had also brought

with me another new find to the show, a 1900-O Morgan that had

the Very Near Date and identical Micro O gouges near UNUM, but

a VAM 3 (O mintmark tilted right) reverse. So eerily similar

to a Micro O. Mike Fahey of ANACS examined the coin and determined

it was genuine. If confirmed by Mr. Van Allen, I believe this

would be the first time a Micro O die (except for the 1899 Micro

O's) obverse or reverse has been found on a non-Micro O coin.

Kind of cool! Also ran into Mark Kimpton at the ANACS table

and got some great information on clashed dies. These varieties

are hot. I can't wait for his book to come out.

As the afternoon wore on into evening, Rob and I hooked up and

did the last two aisles together. I was actually feeling a

little disappointed, as I had been unable to find a coin from a

client's extensive want list, striking out on 8TF and other

coins. As we approached the last tables, by chance I asked to

see an 1887-S coin in PCGS MS65. The first one I picked up all

day and I had to blink twice while looking through my loupe.

The VAM 4, doubled date variety, was confirmed by Rob as he

painstakingly checked every photo in the Hot 50 book. I couldn't

believe my luck, and this coin in MS65 makes it a finest known

for this scarce vam. After they declined to lower the price

any more, I got them to throw in an autographed book from Dave

Bowers on US Type Coins and shake the man's hand. In summary,

this purchase made my show.

Rob & I then went to the Heritage auction dinner, where we parted

shortly afterwards. I was unable to return Saturday for more

goodies but had a great time and can't wait for the next show to

arrive!

1882-CC DOUBLED LIPS?

** Greg Dolan asks about a possible doubled lips 1882-CC, and Top 100

VAMs can be found in GSA holders.

GD: I recently purchased an 1882-CC in a old Photo-Certified Coin

Institute holder MS-61 which has a double front of the top lip.

I can't find any information on this variety. Any suggestions?

I am thinking of sending it to NGC, but don't know if they will

give it a variety designation. Also, I have several GSA CC

varieties (1878-CC VAM 11 NGC 63 & 1880-CC VAM 6 NGC 62).

JB: I don't see anything in the book or supplements about doubled

lips on an 82-CC. You might want to send it to Leroy Van Allen

to see if he calls it a new variety, but make sure it's not

strike doubling you're seeing first. If you do send it to him,

send the coin along with money for insured or registered return

postage to Leroy Van Allen, P.O. Box 196, Sidney, OH 45365.

Include an explanation of what you see.

Without being assigned a VAM number, NGC won't call it anything

other than an 1882-CC dollar, and I don't know if they include

varieties for coins other than the Top 100, Hot 50, and 8TF

varieties at this time. ANACS and SEGS will confirm the

attribution of any VAM. If you send it to Leroy and he assigns

it a new number, send the letter and photo Leroy includes with

the coin and they'll put the VAM number on the holder and notate

it as a discovery coin.

MYSTERY 8TF OBVERSE

** Dan White asks about an interesting die chip on an 1878 8TF

I recently obtained a certified MS-63 8TF which has all of the

standard diagnostics of a VAM 7, PLUS the obverse die chip noted

as a key identifier of VAM 14.19, with no other 14.19 markers

evident. I have an NGC MS-65 VAM 7 for comparison which shows

no evidence of the obverse die chip. Can someone provide feedback

which will help attribute the MS-63 coin?

WHAT ABOUT 1922 HIGH RELIEF PEACE DOLLARS?

** John Crawford asks about 1922 high relief Peace dollars.

JC: Since the 1922 Peace Dollar's also have a high relief, what is the

best way to tell the difference between the two varieties of the

1922 Peace Dollars.

JB: The are two versions of 1922 proofs -- matte proof high relief

and satin proof normal relief. There were probably no

more than 30 made of the combination of the two. Leroy hasn't

made any determinations of die markers on those that may match

business strike coins as of yet. In the back of the "Top 50

Peace Dollar" book, there is a picture of a 1922 high relief

business strike. The Redbook indicates that some 35,000 were

made and melted down, but apparently at least one was missed.

The best way to tell the 1922 high relief business strike

from the low relief is to compare the appearance of the date

digits. The 9 in the high relief is much fatter than the one

in the normal business strike. The base of the 2 is more

curled in the high relief. On the reverse, there are 8 rays

between the tailfeathers and rock on the high relief, but only

6 on the low relief. If you are lucky enough to find another

high-relief 1922 Peace dollar in a junk box, you would be the

envy of legions of Peace dollar collectors.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 8 -- April 8, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week's VAM-E features an article about an interesting 1878 die clash, NGC's VAM policy, an answer about a "doubled lip" 1882-CC Morgan, announcements from Michael Fey and Leroy Van Allen.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

THE MYSTERY OF THE 1878 VAM 17A

by John Baumgart, SSDC

Morgan dollar clashed dies with letter transfers have enjoyed

increasing popularity lately. One of the key contributors to

this is the research on the topic done by Mark Kimpton. As

a result of that research, more people are looking for these

clashes, which has led to more new clashed letter transfers

being discovered.

One of the more interesting letter clashes is the 'In' clash on

the 1878 VAM 42A. It's not a spectacular clash like the 1889

VAM 23A, but it does tell an interesting story about another

coin that should exist. The VAM 42A is always found with a

pristine, prooflike reverse -- no sign of the clash on the

reverse. The earlier state of the obverse die of the VAM 42A,

a 7/8 TF variety, is the VAM 17, which is an 8TF variety with

no letter transfer clash on the obverse.

If the VAM 42A reverse shows no clash, and the VAM 17 obverse

shows no clash, the question remains as to when the clash

happened. One possibility is that the reverse die of the

VAM 42A was polished to a prooflike state after the clash,

but this can be dismissed since polishing a die to remove a

clash doesn't result in a prooflike die. It results in a

shallower die with polishing lines visible, especially in the

area of the clash. The other possibility is that the clash

on the obverse of a VAM 42A is from the reverse of the VAM 17.

Fortunately, there are more differences between an 8TF

reverse and a 7/8 TF reverse than just the tailfeathers. One

of these differences is in the positioning of the word "In"

with respect to the eagle's right wing. The 8TF reverse has

the letter 'I' much closer to the wing than the 7/8 TF reverse

does. The clash on the obverse can be inspected to determine

if it was clashed with an 8TF reverse or not.

To make it easier to determine the origin of the clash, I took

photos of the word "In" from a VAM 17 and from a VAM 42A, then

made a mirror image of them as they would appear on a clash

and overlaid them onto the clash on the VAM 42A obverse.

First is a picture of the die clash on the obverse of the VAM 42A.

The edge of the wing and the word "In" are clearly visible.

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/42obv.jpg

Next are the reverses of the 1878 VAM 42 and VAM 17

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/42rev.jpg

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/17rev.jpg

Finally, there are the composite pictures of the reverses mirrored

onto the clash on the obverse. In both cases, I lined up the word

"In" on the reverse with the clash. The yellow lines indicate

where the clash is seen on the obverse. The difference is visible

in the placement of the edge of the eagle's wing.

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/42obv-42rev.jpg

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/42obv-17rev.jpg

The clash does not line up with a 7/8 TF reverse, but matches

quite well with an 8TF reverse. This confirms that the VAM 42A

has a clash mark on the obverse from an 8TF reverse. This implies

there should be a sample of the VAM 17 that shows the obverse

clash in an earlier state as well as a pretty spectacular clash

on the reverse die that caused press operators to replace that

die. Neither the VAM 17 nor the VAM 42A is a scarce variety,

but the coin that would be the "VAM 17A," if it exists, has

thus far evaded VAM collectors. Happy hunting!

LAST CALL FOR CONSIGNMENTS TO THE SPRING, 2005 ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION

This is the last call for consignments to the 5th Annual Spring,

2005 Ultra Rarities auction. The deadline for submission is

Friday, April 15, 2005. The auction, to be conducted by Rare

Coin Investments (RCI), will close on Wednesday, June 15th,

2005. Consignment forms can be downloaded at RCI's website

at http://www.rcicoins.com by following links to the Spring

Ultra Rarities auction.

The Ultra Rarities Auction has already received hundreds of coins,

including a nice AU specimen of the so-called "King of Morgan

Dollar Varieties", an 1878 7/3 TF VAM 44.

ANSWER ON THE 1882-CC "DOUBLED LIP"

** John Roberts responds to Greg Dolan's question about a doubled

lip on an 1882-CC Morgan.

The 82-CC you described with a doubled upper lip is a VAM 2 with

a counterclash. I sent an example to Leroy Van Allen last year.

He declined to list the die state based only on the doubling on

the lip, which is caused by successive clashes. Now if your example

shows any letter transfer clashing as well, you may get a new listing.

REVISED 1878 7TF GUIDE AVAILABLE

Leroy Van Allen has finished revising his 1878 7TF Guide. The guide

is available directly from him for $10 + $2 postage and handling.

Ordering information on this plus other guides of his is available

by following the link for VAM updates at the bottom of this newsletter.

NGC VAM POLICY

** Jay Turner clarifies NGC's current policy on VAMs

Hello I am the person currently doing VAM attributions for NGC.

I want to clear up some misconceptions and inform people about

NGC's current policy with VAMs. Currently NGC will only do the

following VAMs:

Top-100 Morgan VAMs

Hot-50 Morgan VAMs

Top-50 Peace VAMs

1878 8TF VAMs

1878 7/8TF and 1878 B1 Reverse VAMs

1879-S Reverse of 78 VAMs

1900-O/CC VAMs

Those are the VAMs we currently recognize under NGC's Variety Plus

Service.

I also wanted to inform people that NGC now has registry sets geared

towards VAMs. The following registry sets are now available for use.

Top-100 Morgan VAMs

Top-50 Peace VAMs

1878 8TF

1878 7/8TF

1878 B1 Reverse.

These sets and others can be found at

http://www.collectors-society.com/registry/coins/recent_sets.asp

I hope this explains NGC's current policy and I look forward to seeing

you around.

Jay Turner

NGC Grader and Attributer

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 116, 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 9 -- April 18, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week's VAM-E features a comment about early die state Peace dollars, big money for 1921-D VAMs, Brian Raines' VAM windfall, and a new 1921-S.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

THEY'RE STILL OUT THERE

** Brian Raines has cherrypicked quite the collection of VAMs at

assorted shows:

1878 VAM 2A BU

1878 VAM 114A BU

1878 VAM 115 XF

1878 VAM 118 VF25

1878 VAM 160 XF

1878-S VAM 18 AU

1878-S VAM 27 scratched

1878-S VAM 41 BU

1879 VAM 44 BU

1880 VAM 6C BU

1882-O VAM 17 BU

1884-O VAM 25 BU

1886-O Clashed n, st AU

1886-O VAM 7 ANACS AU55

1887/6 BU

1888 VAM 4 EDS BU

1888 VAM 4A BU

1891-O VAM 1B AU scratched

1901 VAM 3 VF20

1921-D VAM 1G ANACS MS62

1921-D VAM 1Q AU58

1923 VAM 1o NGC MS64, NGC MS65

1923-D VAM 1o AU55

1926-S DDR

** He promises he left some for the rest of us.

RARE 1921-D VAMs BRING BIG MONEY

** Rob Joyce has an update on a recent 1921-D transaction

Two weeks ago, a rare 1921-D sold on eBay, surpassing everyone's

expectations for the hammer price. The coin was a VAM-1AT,

"Jet O" with a die break on the O of ONE reminiscent of the 1887

VAM 1A "Donkey Tail." This is the third example ever found and

the second finest known (high-end AU). The break is large and

easily visible to the naked eye. Since none were discovered before

the printing of "Fun With 1921", and only 3 have surfaced since

the VAM hoards started checking their 1921-Ds carefully this coin

is believed to be exceptionally rare. The first ever VAM-1AT sold

at public auction, it brought $449.44 for an AU coin that was

cherry-picked for $17. That is quite a good return on investment!

REVISED 1878 7TF GUIDE AVAILABLE

Leroy Van Allen has finished revising his 1878 7TF Guide. The 42 page

guide is available directly from him for $10 + $2 postage and handling.

Ordering information on this plus other guides of his is available

by following the link for VAM updates at the bottom of this newsletter.

1921 PROOF DOLLAR GUIDE AVAILABLE

A few weeks ago, the VAM-E ran an article by Leroy Van Allen about

die markers on 1921 Proof dies. Leroy now has this 9 page monograph

available for purchase, including all diagnostic photos, for $5 + $1

postage and handling. Ordering information for this plus other

references is at the bottom of this newsletter.

VALUING PEACE DOLLAR VAMS AND DIE STATES

** Jeff Oxman has addressed some important issues about early

die state Peace dollar varieties in an e-mail he sent to those

involved in the SSDC Peace dollar value guide. His thoughts

might be of interest to others in the club, so it is published

here.

In terms of pricing and desirability, early die state specimens

of Top 50 Peace dollar varieties are interesting for die

progression studies, but do not represent the listed LDS varieties.

The same issue came to light when the Top 100 Morgans was

published in 1996, in regards to the extremely popular 1888-O

VAM 1B "Scarface" variety. Only the late die state "Scarface"

stages should be worthy of the astronomical prices produced by

that variety, and the litmus test is that the die break must

reach Liberty's cheek and then be visible on the cheek, in order

for the specimen to be a "Scarface" variety. Yes, all the preceding

stages (crack to dot, break into the field, break splitting in

the field, etc.) are the same VAM 1B die pair, but are certainly

not worth a couple of thousand dollars in BU.

The same is true in the Peace dollar series. The "big ticket"

die break varieties obviously have early die states, both with

and without the actual die breaks, and the individual dies can

be identified. But only the LATE DIE STATE specimens should

have the listed values. I agree with Eric Justice that something

should be done about the unscrupulous practice of selling for big

premiums EDS specimens of the die break varieties without the

actual die breaks. However, the proposal for listing them in

the value-guide only gives them legitimacy. I tried that in

the original Top 100 Morgans, when we listed the 91-CC "Spitting

Eagle" variety to specifically address dealers selling it at

a premium to unsuspecting novice collectors. The text said that

more than half of all 91-CC's were this particular variety, and

consequently it should never be worth a premium. Today, I see

the variety sold on Ebay with the caption of being a super rare

VAM listed in the TOP 100 book!

The solution, as always, is to educate the public. For instance,

when you sell on Ebay, you might simply mention in the text that

"this is the valuable late die state, and not the early die

state, which has little or no premium". Gentlemen, together

we can clarify the issues and shape the way Peace dollar varieties

are sold well into the future.

NEWS 1921-S DISCOVERED

** John Wilson shares this new discovery.

1921-S VAM 1L - Raised lines from denticle edges into field above

STATES due to die wear and slightly tilted die.

Named "Rain Over STATES" by its discoverer, Leroy Van Allen thinks

the reverse die was slightly out of level and tilted towards

STATES, causing metal flow toward the center of the coin when the

denticles were struck earlier than the rest of the coin. In contrast,

the denticles by "DOLLAR" are not fully struck. While die erosion

isn't normally cause for a VAM listing, Leroy indicates that this

coin "is so different that it is an unusual case visible to [the]

naked eye and needs to be listed!"

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 8TF VAM 9 and 1880-O VAM 4 wanted. Contact Garry Naples,

thenaples@hotmail.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 10 -- April 30, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

The big breaking story this week is the nature of the 1896-O, 1900-O and 1902-O Micro O VAM varieties. Both the SSDC President and Vice-President have responded to the controversy in this issue, which could be called the "Micro O Survival Guide."

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

1896, 1900 AND 1902 MICRO O's FOUND TO BE COUNTERFEIT

PCGS announced earlier this week that they will no longer grade

the 1896-O, 1900-O, and 1902-O Micro "o" varieties as they believe

they are contemporary counterfeits.

The full text of the article is given in the attached link.

http://www.pcgs.com/articles/article_view.chtml?artid=4400&universeid=313

Below are articles written by both Michael Fey and Jeff Oxman

about these Top 100 Morgan dollar varieties. Now, we would like

to hear from you.

1. What do you think about the 1896, 1900 and 1902 Micro "o"

varieties?

2. Do you feel that these should remain a part of the Top 100

or be deleted?

3. Do you feel that these coins are still collectable as

varieties even though their authenticity is doubtful?

4. What do you think this will do to the value (i.e., demand)

for these varieties both near term and long term?

5. Are there any other comments you would like to share with the group?

Send your comments, concerns, or questions to vam-e@varslab.com

THE MORGAN DOLLAR 1896, 1900 AND 1902 MICRO O VAMs

by Jeff Oxman, SSDC President

If it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, is it really

a duck? Apparently not, when it comes to three Morgan dollar

varieties, the 1896-O VAM 4, the 1900-O VAM 5 and the 1902-O

VAM 3. All have been part and parcel of VAM collecting since

the earliest days of the 1960s, but for the past decade a number

of VAM experts have been considering the possibility that these

three varieties may have been struck outside the mint. The end

point of such analysis, if warranted, is that they are contemporary

counterfeits.

A little VAM history might set the stage for the current controversy.

The New Orleans branch mint struck silver dollars from 1879

through 1904, and a total of four different mintmark punches

were used during that time. In 1879 two different mintmarks were

used, a "Medium Oval O" mintmark and a "Large Oval O" mintmark.

(It should be noted that all obverse and reverse dies were produced

at the Philadelphia mint, and then shipped to the respective branch

mints, in this case, the New Orleans mint.)

In 1880 the "Medium Oval O" continued in use, while the "Large Oval

O" mintmark was retired in favor of what has been called the

"Micro O." Then, in the following year the "Micro O" was dropped,

and only the "Medium Oval O" was used. This remained the case

until 1884, when an entirely new mintmark was introduced, the

"Medium Round O." This new mintmark shared usage in 1884 with

the "Medium Oval O," but starting in 1885 it became the primary

New Orleans mintmark for the rest of the Morgan dollar series.

Why is this important? The "Micro O" mintmark reappeared in 1899.

Whether it was intentional or inadvertent, there is no way to

know for sure, but the fact remains, there were at least five

dies produced in 1899 that exhibit the "Micro O" mintmark. Without

question, these are legitimate "Micro O" varieties.

However, some time before 1963, collectors became aware of three

other dates in the Morgan dollar series where each had an example

of a "Micro O" mintmark. These consisted of the 1896-O, 1900-O

and 1902-O. When it became clear that all three were extremely

rare, their popularity dramatically increased to the point that

they became part of the 250 or so most popular Morgan dollar varieties.

And so the story goes until some higher grade specimens came to

light. The surfaces of all three varieties tended to be "mushy,"

the luster was unusually dull (even on AU specimens), and some

troubling depressions on the coin surfaces raised a "red flag"

as to their authenticity. Five years ago, the staff at NGC

studied the three questionable varieties, and came to the

conclusion that they were struck outside the mint.

Now, PCGS has studied the three varieties and has come down on

the side of "contemporary counterfeits." In terms of evidence,

is there a smoking gun? Possibly not, but it turns out that all

three varieties dated 1896, 1900 and 1902 have the same reverse.

This, in itself, would be highly unlikely. And there are other

questionable aspects of these three varieties.

So, where does that leave all those who own these three related

varieties? It is unclear how the grading services will react to

this latest information, but collectors have staunchly supported

the 1896, 1900 and 1902 "Micro O" varieties. As the news is

breaking now, no one can predict the future for these three VAMs,

but they may well retain collector interest. After all,

historically important, but non-mint specimens of other coin

series, have brought large sums at auction.

Indeed, this is what makes numismatics so fascinating. If continued

research can shine new light on even our most cherished assumptions,

then the future is guaranteed to be an exciting blend of old

theories and new discoveries.

A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE REGARDING 1896-O, 1900-O AND 1902-O MICRO "o" COUNTERFEIT MORGAN DOLLARS.

by Michael Fey, SSDC Vice President

As you may know, there are several different dates of Morgan

dollars with Micro "o" mint marks. The 1880-O has many different

Micro "o" mint mark varieties. It is actually considered as a

common mint mark along with oval "o" mint marks for that year.

Five of these Micro "o" varieties are in the Top 100, the

1880-O VAM 1A (die gouge reverse), the 1880-O VAM 4 (80/79 overdate),

the 1880-O VAMs 6 and 6A (8/7 overdates) and the 6B (8/7 overdate

plus Hangnail Eagle reverse).

There are five known 1899 o Micro "o" mint mark varieties (VAMs 4,

5, 6, 31 and 32). These are all in the Top 100.

Finally, there are three known Micro "o" mint mark varieties

from 1896, 1900 and 1902, listed as VAMs 4, 5 and 3 respectively.

The earliest listing of these was in 1963 by F. X. Klaes in his

book "Die Varieties of Morgan Silver Dollars". They were later

listed in all of Leroy Van Allen and A. George Mallis editions of

"The Comprehensive Catalog & Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars"

up to and including the latest 4th edition.

There is no doubt that the 1896-O, 1900-O and 1902-O Micro "o"

are both rare and desirable and were highly sought after by

VAM collectors from as early as the 1980s, and continued to

date. That's why they were included in the Top 100 book.

These were often found in low grades indicating that they were

accepted in general circulation and commerce for quite some

time, and they were certified as such by the various grading

services.

In 1998, while working as a grader and attributer at one of

the grading services, Skip Fazzari was the first to refuse to

grade one of these Micro "o"s, claiming that he believed it

was counterfeit.

In the year 2000, I and Mr. Fazzari did some investigative work

together at NGC to determine the authenticity of the 1896, 1900

and 1902 o Micro "o" varieties, but the results were still

inconclusive, at least not conclusive enough to alarm the market

that they were definite counterfeits. Nevertheless, NGC decided

to air on the safe side and not certify any more of these varieties.

Meanwhile, every other grading service continued to certify

these coins as genuine.

In the Feature Article of the CDN Monthly Supplement of the Coin

Dealer Newsletter on February 13th, 2004, I wrote about Micro

"o" Mintmarks of the 1896, 1900, and 1902 Micro "o" varieties.

"There has been some discussion as to whether these latter

three dates were struck from non-mint produced dies, and although

this has not been substantiated by laboratory analysis, debate

continues".

The issue appears to have come to a head in January 2005, when NGC

declined to certify as genuine one of these Micro "o" varieties.

News about their questionable authenticity spread fast among

variety collectors on the internet and at shows.

This concern did not go unnoticed by Leroy Van Allen. Mr. Van Allen

began conducting an independent and detailed study of these Micro

"o" varieties in collaboration with me, Jeff Oxman and several

other individuals, and was preparing an in-depth report for the

market. His report confirmed PCGS findings, but went into far

more detail as to the origin of the reverse dies on these coins,

as well as their methods of manufacture.

The only item remaining to complete the story was to get the U.S.

Mint's historical perspective, comments and analysis of the

three Micro "o"s in questions. Under consultation and agreement

from Leroy Van Allen and Jeff Oxman last week, I was preparing

to mail these coins to the Secret Service (U.S. Treasury) for

their review and analysis. I even E-mailed Beth Deisher earlier

this week for an address or contact on where to send the coins.

As you know, PCGS made their announcement on April 25, 2005.

In my opinion, the story on these rare, strange and interesting

Morgan dollar varieties is still not complete without gaining

the insight that the U.S. Mint might share. Did the U.S. Mint

know about these? When did they first learn about them? Did

these circulate with other coins around the turn of the Century?

Were they produced by a Foreign Mint to demonstrate to the U.S.

Mint how to make coins less expensively? Were they U.S. Mint

die trials?

While I'm not certain as to where we go from here, I am sure of

one thing. There will be much talk in the newspapers and on

the SSDC VAM-E about these amazing Morgan silver dollars over

the next few weeks. The fact that these coins have managed so

well to fool almost everyone in numismatics over the past 100+

years will likely guarantee their place in numismatic history.

The full story of these coins has yet to be told.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 8TF VAM 9 and 1880-O VAM 4 wanted. Contact Garry Naples,

thenaples@hotmail.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 11 -- May 9, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

Quite a bit of response to the previous issue regarding the 1896-O, 1900-O, and 1902-O Micro O varieties. Keep your thoughts on this subject coming!

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

MICRO O, MACRO EXCITEMENT

Initial reaction to finding out that three of the most elusive

"Top 100" coins are counterfeit could be one of, "Oh, crap!

VAM collecting is doomed!" I don't think this is the case.

These three "coins" have generated much excitement on the

online message boards and mailing lists, and none of the

excitement was in the form of bilious "nyah-nyahs" thrown

at the VAM collecting hobby. People had a thirst for as much

in-depth information as they could get, requesting copies of

the VAM-E as soon as they knew what was in it. News that

Leroy Van Allen has released a research report (see below)

will probably be met with a similar response. It could be

that these three coins actually create in increase in VAM

collecting due to the amount and quality of the research

available, as well as the speed at which it was made available.

Add to that a presence by VAM collectors on the message boards

to help explain things to non-VAM collectors, and you have

a pretty effective "VAM outreach" program before the numismatic

press has a chance to release articles about the counterfeits.

In a hobby where many people still do their accounting and

inventory with sharpened pencils and spiral notebooks, the

Micro O story and reactions to it were "old news" by the

Central States show in St. Louis last weekend.

I considered some "what if" scenarios regarding these coins.

What if the counterfeiter had grabbed a high-grade S-mint coin

that may have been available for the reverse instead of an O-mint

coin? Would the more obvious deficiency in strike have condemned

these as counterfeits much earlier? Will someone try making

counterfeit counterfeits by adding a Micro O to genuine 1896,

1900, and 1902 coins? By altering "normal O" coins? Are there

other counterfeits with the same counterfeit obverse dies and

different reverse dies yet to be found? Will the 1896, 1900,

and 1902 VAMs that were the hosts for the counterfeit become

collectible?

I thought about what to do with the "Top 100" status of these

coins. A recent Heritage mailing now refers to the "Top 97"

in context to these, but only as a catchy headline to an article

about them. Since technically these aren't silver dollars, I

think they should be dropped from the Top 100, even though their

popularity (and notoriety) will likely remain high. There

are many more rare and interesting varieties that could be

added, many of which may have been discovered since the Top

100 book was release in 1996. I'd encourage Jeff Oxman and

Michael Fey to present a list of 10 candidates and have SSDC

members vote for their favorite three in a non-binding referendum.

Fun stuff to think about. Send in your thoughts.

ANY FEEDBACK FROM GRADING SERVICES GUARANTEES?

Have any collectors on this list turned any of the 1896, 1900

or 1902 Micro O coins into any of the grading services for

remuneration? If so, please tell the rest of us about your

experience (i.e., grade and compensation).

Also, did the grading service return your coin or keep? If they

kept it, do you know what they intend to do with it?

QUESTIONS ASKED, QUESTIONS ANSWERED

** Last time, Michael Fey posed a handful of questions

for everyone to answer. I'll repeat the questions here with

the responses received thus far, and invite readers to continue

to respond to these questions.

THE QUESTIONS:

1. What do you think about the 1896, 1900 and 1902 Micro "o"

varieties?

2. Do you feel that these should remain a part of the Top 100

or be deleted?

3. Do you feel that these coins are still collectable as

varieties even though their authenticity is doubtful?

4. What do you think this will do to the value (i.e., demand)

for these varieties both near term and long term?

5. Are there any other comments you would like to share with the group?

SOME RESPONSES:

From Mike Emswiler:

I only have the 96-O in good and after looking at it very closely

there are many holes in the surface and believe mine is a

counterfeit. I think all of the newly labeled counterfeits should

be removed and possibly have an SSDC vote or recommendations

from members about 3 new varieties that we all can vote on to

take their place.

From Jack Lee:

As far as the Micro O's, I think they will continue to be

collectable, should stay as Top 100 coins and if they remain in

PCGS holders, they will increase in value. Raw they may be a

tough sell, but we'll have to see. The market is surprisingly

stable at the moment. I guess the reaction could be because

few were surprised they were/are counterfeit.

Not sure what PCGS is doing...in my phone call to customer

support they indicated they would give you a check, but keep

the coin. I told them to forget mine at that point.

De-slabbed coins + a check I would consider, but not the

loss of the coin.

From William Van Note:

I believe that the micro O's should remain in the Top 100 and

be slabbed. If people want to put counterfeit on the slab,

so be it. The fact there was really no question about the coins

until around 2000 makes it much more interesting as a variety.

Truthfully, I believe that they are even more interesting as a

collectible coin because they are counterfeits and went so long

undetected. The muled quarter and Saint Anthony dollar, the

1913 liberty nickel, were all minted by mint employees as was

the 1933 Gold piece from the Farouk collection. They, as the

micro O's, are oddities and therefore very rare and very collectible.

From Marc Serafine:

1. Very surprised and sorry to see it, but I think they are

undeniably bogus.

2. They should be deleted from the Top 100 if not "real" coins.

3. They are collectable, yes. Not as varieties though and

they should be treated as any other counterfeit.

4. This will kill value all down the line. They'll be a

curiosity at some point, so demand may (probably will) be there.

5. I would want to know the actual legal status for these

three coins, if they can be legally sold or treated like

any other counterfeit piece. How would the "Hobby

Protection Act" play out here? Also curious to know what

collectors with certified specimens will do and what kind

of recovery they will get from PCGS, SEGS, ANACS, PCI

(et al) under their respective authenticity guarantee(s).

Obviously, THEY will determine what "fair market value" is.

From Joe Clossey:

A little background on myself. I'm registered at the

National Archives & Records Admin. as a researcher

specializing in the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia records

(archives.gov/research room/independent researchers

(Mid-Atlantic Region)). In a little over a year, I've barely

scratched the surface on different projects. The amount of

information available is unbelievable. I'm a collector at

heart with an interest in finding out the history behind

the coins we enjoy. I've been in touch with David Hall at

PCGS and offered my services to see if there is anything

in the Mint's records regarding these Morgans. In my mind

there is the possibility of a die theft because the three

years share a common reverse. He thinks it is a cast copy.

If a theft did occur, I might find correspondence. If this

is an outside-the-Mint product, I'm looking in the wrong place.

It's possible that somewhere in the last 50 years there may

be a letter or two, but that's a needle in the haystack

project. My neighbor is an FBI agent and a cousin is a U.S.

Treasury agent working in Customs. Both are stationed in

Philadelphia. If I can be of any assistance regarding their

contact please let me know.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

** Brian Raines, VAM collector and dealer, reflects on the

Micro O counterfeits

In 1997 I cherrypicked a XF+ 1902-O micro O and had questions

about it then but who was I? The coin exhibited the worst

luster, strike and appearance of any Morgan I had seen. Same

went for the 1896-O micro O in VF+. They looked unlike any

genuine Morgan I had seen. I have told people for years, all

of the micro O's (1896-O, 1900-O ,1902-O) except for the 1899-O's

looked counterfeit. I am not surprised at the findings of

NGC and PCGS. These mysterious indentations on the reverse

of each coin point clearly to a counterfeit (when one considers

the strike, luster, and overall appearance). I have been told

that the 1900-O and 1902-O micro O obverse dies have been seen

mated with non-micro O reverse dies. Some use this as evidence

that they are genuine. To me, that in and of itself, is not

conclusive evidence of a genuine product. This could suggest

whoever produced these coins used a good obverse as a copy.

some suggest the reverse die marks do not mean they are

counterfeit. The die could have been used again and again.

I highly doubt this. Four years after it's initial use, and

then two years later?

We who are (considered) experts in the field of errors and

varieties are usually the first to catch these fakes. Because

we are so familiar with the genuine article is why we are able

to spot something out of the ordinary. How did we fall for

this one so long?

I am glad to part of a group of people who are honestly

searching and researching, while passing on their knowledge

to others. Let's examine all areas of what we do and see if

there any other that need challenging. Remember Pete Bishal's

article regarding the 7/8 tail feathers? He showed we were

wrong. I had come to the same conclusion long before he put

out his article. Studying doubling on the arrows and leaves

of the 8TF, led me to compare them to 7TF. A quick study showed

me what was what. Actually, I saw the "A2/A1's as the real

8/7's. that's right, 8/7. Pete agreed. However, he told me

to promise to tell no-one until his article was published.

I had some fun with Jeff at an SSDC meeting a few years ago.

I showed him 2 1878s VAM 6's with different die breaks in the

ball of the cap. He was shocked and amazed. Same die, different

die breaks on 2 coins, coming out of the ball of the cap. I

showed him more! Impossible, he said. I brought them to challenge

our thoughts on the 8TF dies. It seems the die cracks had been

polished off after cracking, however, they cracked again, and

were polished off again. Soon enough, they cracked again. I

wonder if this could have happened to any 8TF dies? I haven't

seen any where the breaks were shallow enough to polish out

but maybe we should look long and hard.

In closing, I found an 1878 VAM 160 without the repaired 'r'

reverse. It has a fully broken 'r'. The eagle's right wing where

it joins the body is different, too. I have 3 1878 VAM 118s

left, so I want to study them. I want to prove the 'repaired

r' really is just that. I have seen 2 different 'S' mint dies

and at least 2 'P' mints. Help me find a 'CC' too. Some say

the 'r' in trust is just a die chip. I believe the r was

repaired by hand. Please help me solve this once and for all.

LEROY VAN ALLEN RELEASES MICRO O RESEARCH REPORT

Leroy Van Allen has a research report available, called "Micro O

Mint Mark on Morgan Dollars (Are they all for REAL?)" This

32 page report analyzes, in detail, all micro O Morgans

(including 1880 and 1899), shows the varieties of the host

coins used for some of the counterfeits, and contains many

close-up pictures of all micro O VAMs.

This report is available from Leroy Van Allen directly for $7,

plus $2 postage and handling.

Leroy Van Allen

P. O. Box 196

Sidney, OH 45365

 

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 8TF VAM 9 and 1880-O VAM 4 wanted. Contact Garry Naples,

thenaples@hotmail.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 12 -- May 23, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, a poll

Quite a bit of response to the previous issue regarding the 1896-O, 1900-O, and 1902-O Micro O varieties. Keep your thoughts on this subject coming!

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

MICRO O POLL: WHAT WOULD YOU PICK?

** Marc Serafine writes:

I like the idea of the 3 Micro-o coins being deleted from the

Top 100 and the membership voting on the 3 to replace them.

I agree that since the TOP 100 is the conception and property

of Michael & Jeff, if they want to they could pick their

favorite 10 candidates and have SSDC members vote for their

favorite three. I say if they want to because with some of

the impressive finds over the past 9 years, picking even 10

might be difficult! An alternative might be members submitting

their top 10 picks to Michael & Jeff and going forward

from there?

** So I'm going to start a poll:

Assume for the moment that the 1896-O, 1900-O, and 1902-O

micro O varieties are going to be dropped from the Top 100 in

favor of including three other varieties. If you were to

be able to choose their replacements, which varieties would you

choose, and why? While the poll results are unlikely to have

any bearing on the actual outcome of the Top 100 list, share

your thoughts with the VAM-E.

ANACS MICRO O COUNTERFEIT POLICY

** Don Hansen sends ANACS' counterfeit Micro O buyback policy

I contacted ANACS today about their policy on the counterfeit dollars.

1. I have to send the coins.

2. The pay-out is what I paid for them. I must show my cost

by receipt and date.

3. No receipt, no value.

4. They keep the coins.

ICG ON MICRO O MORGAN DOLLARS

** Michael Fey shares the ICG Counterfeit Micro O policy

I received a call from James Taylor, Director of Marketing

for the ICG service a few days ago. On behalf of ICG, James

offered to buy several of my ICG graded Micro "o" Morgan

dollar ICG certifications for current market value. He

offered to pay this for the "tag and holders" only, and was

not interested in getting the coins. Needless to say, I

returned my holders for these coins to ICG. I couldn't bear

to part with my coins! I thought everyone on this list

should be aware that ICG is a reputable firm that stands

by its grading guarantee.

1878 VAM 14.13 DEVELOPMENT

** A reader shares some details of the 1878 VAM 14.13

Upon closer examination of this recent discovery, in addition

to the spectacular horizontal die crack seen running through the

tops of the date numerals, I've also found TWO other fascinating

die crack markers on obverse. (A) runs from a space between

denticles into top right serif of "I" in PLURIBUS, extends

again from bottom right serif of "I" into right upper side of

tip of wheat leaf between wheat stalks. The segment of die

crack from denticles to top serif of "I" is advanced

significantly enough to show metal flow similar to that seen

on the 1880-P VAM 1A!! (B) runs from top front edge of LIBERTY

headband (just below wheat leaf) in a vertical direction parallel

to hair, then through hair below left base of "U" in PLURIBUS,

arcing once again until ending at hair below right lower serif

of "L" in PLURIBUS. Can't believe I missed this earlier, but

it's just like discovering the coin all over again!!

UNDERCOVER 1878 VAM 14.6 ON TELETRADE

** Rob Joyce noticed this on a recent Teletrade auction:

On May 18, an 1878 VAM 14.6 sold on Teletrade for what looks

to be a great price. This PCGS MS63 example was unattributed

in the auction but at least three folks seemed to be in

competition. I didn't win and in hindsight would have paid

what it went for! Hammer price was $1,950 for this super

example. Someone got a good deal.

http://www.teletrade.com/coins/lot.asp?auction=2041&lot=1489&imagetype=j2

** Not to mention a consignor who got a pleasant surprise.

1889 DOUBLED EAR QUESTION

Jeff Rex recently asked if all of the 1889 Doubled Ear varieties

are considered part of the Hot 50.

According to Jeff Oxman, any one of the many known (or unknown)

1889 Doubled Ears will count as a Hot 50 coin, but no matter how

many you have, it still only counts as one. Exercise caution

when looking for these, since there are many 1889 Morgan Dollars

that exhibit strike doubling that can look like die doubling at

first glance.

VAMs IN THE NON-CC GSA DOLLARS

** Lewis Rosenbaum updates us on his quest for 7/8TF GSA Morgans

In the VAM-E Volume 1, Issue 11 (April 12, 2004) I wrote about

the 1878-P 7/8TF in the non-CC GSA dollars. Basically the article

indicated that all of the 7/8TF known in the non-CC GSA were VAM 37.

In the last year or so I became aware that there might be another

7/8TF VAM variety in the non-CC GSA. This VAM was in the non-CC

GSA flat pack cellophane holder and was indicated to be a VAM-41A.

Since then I have heard of several more VAM-41A, and recently I

was able to look at one of them. It indeed is a VAM-41A. It is

uncirculated and has a lot of face abrasions -- I would guess it

would grade as MS61.

Nothing astounding or earthshaking that a second 7/8TF VAM in the

non-CC GSA dollars has been identified -- it is really more

interesting and intriguing! Are there more 7/8TF VAMs in the

non-CC GSA? It is certainly possible. The pursuit will continue.

CHANGE IN TOPIC FOR TOP 100 INSIGHTS

** Michael Fey writes about the next Top 100 Insights

In the last issue of Top 100 Insights, I promised to update

the Top 100 Condition Census in the forthcoming Spring, 2005

issue. However, with all the interest and discussion taking

place regarding PCGS' recent announcement of the 1896, 1900,

and 1902-O Micro "o"s being counterfeit, I thought it more

timely and more appropriate to talk about various aspects of

these Top 100 coins. I will prepare a new Top 100 Condition

Census in the Summer, 2005 issue.

UPDATE ON THE SPRING, 2005 ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION

** Michael Fey updates us on the Spring 2005 Auction

The 44 page Spring, 2005 Ultra Rarities auction catalog was

sent to the printer on May 5th. I hope to have the online

catalog along with nearly 800 coin scans (395 lots) active

through the Spring Ultra Rarities Auction link at

http://rcicoins.com later this week.

I am targeting the week of May 23rd for mailing both the Spring

2005 issue of Top 100 Insights and the Spring, 2005 Ultra

Rarities auction catalog to all current subscribers of

Top 100 Insights. You may still obtain a printed copy of

the catalog by sending $10 postage paid to RCI, P.O. Box 9157,

Morris Plains, NJ 07950.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 13 -- June 4, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, some early responses to the Top 100 poll, a surprise from Long Beach, and the Spring Ultra Rarities Auction is about to begin.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

MICRO O POLL: WHAT WOULD YOU PICK?

I haven't received many responses to my poll as to which three

coins you'd pick to replace the counterfeit micro Os in the Top

100 were the decision to do so yours, but here are a couple.

Read through these, then come up with your response to my poll

and send it in. I'll include it in a future edition of the VAM-E.

** From Rob Joyce:

Jack Lee and I discussed what we would insert into the Top 100 if

asked. It was tough as there are so many under appreciated VAMs

that are not already highlighted. We condensed down to these three

cool varieties:

1878-S "Spaghetti Wings" VAM-18. This coin has a series of really

unusual spaghetti-looking or worm-like die gouges in the eagle's

armpits. (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1878s_vam18.htm) These are major

gouges unlike anything else in the morgan series. If you would

like to make it a grouping of 78-S coins you could add VAM-16 and

VAM-36 as "altered wing" 1878-S coins

http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1878s_vam15.htm

http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1878s_vam36.htm

1921-S "Thornheads", VAM-1Bx coins. This short series is an unusual

progression of die gouges and repairs. The original "thornhead"

VAM-1B3 was discovered in October 1978, and it wasn't until March

2002 that serious attention was focused on this die and 7 other

states came to light. The VAM-1B6 late die state is tough to find

but achievable. Some of the other states are almost impossible

to find. The gouge in the cap is a naked-eye variety and the

"find the gouges" elsewhere on the coin make them fun to attribute.

1921-D VAM-3A "Streamer Wing" As a final coin we would recommend

a 1921-D (of course!). The VAM-3A has a pair of interesting features.

It has a huge die break emerging from the wingti as well as a large

dot under the eagle's wing. Experts debate the origin of these dots

and they can be found on multiple 1921 and 1922 coins making them an

interesting feature. (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921d_vam3a.htm)

** From John Coxe:

I believe it would be irresponsible not to delete the micro-o

counterfeits from the Top-100. Here are my suggestions for

consideration. Except for the 1880-O, these dates are not

represented at all in the Top-100 or Hot-50.

My suggestions, since we are taking a poll.

1880-O VAM-2A Impaled Eagle : This is a just plain interesting one

to cherry pick and not at all common. Do they even exist? I

on't have one and I see none in my ANACS pop report. Perhaps

a bit politically incorrect on a few levels too.

1892-CC VAM-4 CC/CC : Very nice overmintmark and also tough.

1900-S VAM-3A S/S : A dramatic S/S that should be easy enough to

cherrypick. Another one I haven't seen and not sure if it is

really out there and in what numbers.

Also worth consideration:

1902-O VAM-21 TDO+C4/C3rev: This just a neat variety. Not especially

rare, but fun.

1904 VAM-4 Doubled Date: Strong doubling on the date and a doubled

profile. Visible on even worn examples. I believe this one's

rarity is understated.

1921-S VAM-1B DGO: Overall a good cherrypicking variety I guess,

if there are any out there. I haven't run across one.

There are plenty of newer finds. However, I discourage including

them in the Top-100 as that excludes a lot of non-specialists who

rely primarily on early print editions of the VAM guide. If the

1880-O VAM-2A, 1900-S VAM-3A and 1921-S VAM-1B can be validated,

they should make decent candidates that are interesting and

distinctive enough.

SOMETHING WILD AT THE SUMMER 2005 LONG BEACH SHOW

By Jeff Oxman, SSDC President

** Just when you thought you've heard everything...

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! And here's the story. At the

Long Beach Show this past week, I was shown a coin, which I think

is worth reporting. Heck, I think it warrants a banner headline!

Amidst the bustling bourse activity of a busy Friday afternoon,

I was handed a low grade Morgan dollar that had seen lots of

circulation, but otherwise looked O.K. "Jeff, what do you think?"

After a quick glance, the truth was I couldn?t think. I was

amazed. This wasn?t just any old circ, it was a 1901-O with a

Micro O reverse. Yup, you heard me right. A 1901-O Micro O!

Of course, you don't believe it? I wouldn't either, had I not

seen it for myself. The coin graded Fine or so, and when I

examined it, the reverse looked just like the 1896-O, 1900-O

and 1902-O Micro O varieties. Some might say, "Like four peas

in a pod." The strike was a bit mushy, but in such a well

circulated grade the coin looked presentable. The planchet

had the "ring" of a genuine silver alloy, and the Micro O

mintmark was strongly tilted to the right. Sound familiar?

Too bad this specimen wasn?t discovered five years ago. The owner

of a 1901-O Micro O could have demanded a king's ransom. Or a

chateau in the South of France. But in light of the current

Micro O controversy, this fascinating discovery will probably

be relegated to a footnote in the annals of VAM collecting.

Too bad. The discoverer should be rewarded for his amazing find,

but instead, finds himself "a day late and a dollar short."

Regardless, it's still an astounding discovery!

Let me make a prediction. I would say that the 1901 Micro O,

whether counterfeit or a genuine Mint product, will instantly

move up to the top of many VAM "Hit Lists." After all, I'd

like to find one myself. The question is who will be next to

add his name to the VAM discovery honor-roll? Now, let the

race begin!

MORE DISCOVERIES ON THE MICRO O COUNTERFEITS

** Leroy Van Allen has had a chance to examine and comment on

more coins related to the micro O counterfeits. Rob Joyce had

sent him some 1900-O VAM 22 coins and here is the result.

A follow-up on your two 1900 O VAM 22? counterfeits -- thanks

for sending them!! Rev of one matches O m/m of VAM 22 that I

saw and listed of Jack Lee's coin last March with O m/m tilted

slightly to rt. Has C3 rev. 181 reeds. 1.490 diameter.

Other coin has same obv with lines above M but rev has high

O m/m set to rt. Fine raised pits on rev. Has C4 rev which wasn't

used on 1900-O dies. So counterfeiters used wrong rev design

type on this die combo as they did for 1902-O micro O. 181 reeds.

Diameter varied from 1.491 to 1.497, the widest range I've seen

on a Morgan $. Reeding wasn't banged up either.

These two die combos were made using cast counterfeit dies,

like micro Os. So that makes one collar used on 1896-O, 1900-O

and 1902-O micro Os, one collar for 1900-O VAM 22 and one collar used

for 1900 high O m/m. Counterfeiters could have struck a lot of

coins-- tens or hundreds of thousands of counterfeit coins with

three collars, five known rev dies and three known obv dies!! May

be more counterfeit die struck coins to be discovered out there.

Would likely be circ coins as these are.

This must have been a large counterfeiting operation-- maybe

we have only discovered a few die combos of a larger number that

they used. Would have to search thru circ coins to find more of

them though as counterfeiters apparently placed all of their

coins into circulation to make them hard to detect.

Incidentally, 1879-S VAM 45 is also a counterfeit from cast

dies. Have been telling collectors this since last Feb. when was

sent some of them to examine. Has rough left wreath with missing

portions. Raised dots all over rev field. Round date digits.

Rough edges of cap. Crudely made compared to micro O counterfeits!

NEAT DIE CLASH VISUALIZATION TOOL

Terry Forfa has developed a neat tool for visualizing Morgan

dollar die clashes and rotations. It's two rotating discs of

acrylic, upon which are drawn the obverse and reverse of a

Morgan dollar, as well as rotation alignment guides. You can

use this tool to visualize just what you're seeing on a coin

with die clashes. For more information on this tool, contact

Terry at tj4fa@hotmail.com.

WILLIAM BLAND "TOP 50" PEACE DOLLAR COLLECTION FOR AUCTION

** Eric Justice writes about a historic auction of a complete Top

50 Peace dollar set.

I invite you all to participate in Peace Dollar VAM history, as

a complete registry set of Peace Top 50 Silver Dollars is being

offered by Heritage Long Beach Bullet Auction. It is the William

Bland Collection of VAM Top 50 Peace Dollars. This is the first

time a complete offering of the VAM Top 50 has ever been offered

for public auction. Lots can be viewed at www.HeritageCoins.com

Bidding ends June 6th. Good Luck! in the auction. -- Eric Justice

Many finest knowns for the Top 50 set are being offered, a few

items I selected are listed below, but remember an entire set is

being offered. Fill the hole on your want list!:

1921 VAM 3 PCGS MS-65 Lot #1643 Re Engraved Ray

1922 VAM 1F ANACS MS-60 Lot #1650 Die Break Field

1922 VAM 5A ANACS MS-61 Lot #1654 Scar Face

1922 VAM 2A ANACS MS-63 Lot #1644 Ear Ring

1922 VAM 2C ANACS MS-64 Lot #1645 Extra Hair

1922 VAM 12A ANACS MS-64 Lot #1655 Moustache

1922 VAM 2E ANACS MS-65 Lot #1646 Finest Wing Break

1922-D VAM 4 NGC VF-35 Lot # 1657 Double Die

1923 VAM 1D NGC-62 Lot # 1663 Whisker Cheek

1923 VAM 2 "Armstrong Collection" ANACS MS-63 Lot #1667 Double Rays Obv

1923 VAM 1B NGC MS-64 Lot #1661 Extra Hair

1924 VAM 5A ANACS MS-64 Lot #1674 Wing Break

1924 VAM 1C (8A) ICG MS-65 Lot # 1672 Extra Hair

1925 VAM 1A NGC MS-65 Lot # 1677 Die Gouge Obverse Rays

1928-S VAM 3 ANACS MS-65 Lot #1688 Double Die Obverse

1934-D VAM 4 ANACS MS-62 Lot #1690 Double Die w/ Micro D reverse!

2005 June Long Beach Bullet Auction

Internet Only Auction

May 27 - Jun 6

Auction #377

 

http://www.heritagecoins.com/common/search_items.php?Sale_No=377&Consignor_No=69

UPDATE ON THE SPRING, 2005 ULTRA RARITIES AUCTION

** Michael Fey updates us on the Spring 2005 Auction

Rare Coin Investments (RCI) will be conducting its 6th Mail Bid

auction of rare Morgan and Peace silver dollar varieties with

the mailing of its Spring, 2005 issue of Top 100 Insights and

Value Guide during the week of May 23, 2005. To view auction

lots, please visit RCI's website at http://www.rcicoins.com and

follow click-through links to the Spring, 2005 Ultra Rarities

Auction (Adobe Acrobat 7.0 preferred to activate all click through

links, see: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html).

Hard copy of the 44 page auction catalog which includes close-up

images of variety features is available from RCI for $10 to cover

shipping & handling. The auction closes on Wednesday, June 15th

at 9 PM EST.

For further information on the Spring, 2005 Ultra Rarities Auction,

or to become a subscriber to Top 100 Insights and the Top 100 Value

Guide (and receive a free auction catalog), contact Michael S. Fey

at (973) 252-4000; FAX (973) 252-0481; E-Mail: Feyms@aol.com, or

visit http: //www.rcicoins.com

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 14 -- June 20, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, some more responses to the Top 100 poll, another Long Beach show report, an 1878 VAM 32 question, and information about the 1889 "Barwing" varieties.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

MICRO O POLL: WHAT WOULD YOU PICK?

A few more responses this week to my poll as to which three

coins you'd pick to replace the counterfeit micro Os in the Top

100 were the decision to do so yours (which it's not).

** From Ed Malinowski, who likes his 1878 varieties:

1878 VAM 142 - tripled/quadrupled date (http://babyurl.com/wy92d2)

1878 VAM 168 - "Jefferson Steps" (http://babyurl.com/1hkWR3)

1878 VAM 196

** Another reader responds with his picks:

I believe the three alternatives for the Top 100 should be the

1921-S thornheads, regardless of the die state, rarer states more

money, due to the fact they are extremely hard to find. My second

choice is the 1880 VAM 32A that has numerous clashes, only three

slabbed by ANACS, as of March 2004. The third coin is an 1880 VAM 44

which I discovered, that has a doubled lower ear and a nice doubled

eyelid. It is extremely obvious but it's wasn't found till recently

so I consider it very rare.

** From Marc Serafine:

I think the 1921-S "Thornhead" is an interesting series and a good

candidate as well as the 1878-S "Spaghetti Wings".

I'm biased, but I also think the 1884 VAM 13 could be a candidate.

It has a strongly repunched 1, which may rival the repunching on

the 1887-O VAM 2 and 1887-S VAM 4. It's also a Far Date and has

a nice die gouge at the 1st U (UNUM).

** From Brian Raines:

I think there are several 1878-S varieties that would make great

candidates to replace the micro O's. the VAM 18 is awesome and tough

to find but is available, VAM 15 is neat but fairly plentiful in

any grade, VAM 36 is neat but I've seen lots of them, VAM 49 is

another acid wing that is findable, but VAM 50 or 76 triple eyelid

and acid wing -- there's my candidate. The 1921-S VAM 1B's are

another candidate. The new 1901-S doubled eye, ear discovered by Ash

Harrison is another one. 1880 VAM 32A is a must -- monster clash.

Can't count out some of the 7TF either: 116, 123, 166, 167, 188.

As for the 1880-O impaled eagle, I doubt it's authenticity. Terry

Armstrong and I talked about this one many times. We never saw one

before he died and I still don't know anyone that has.

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I would recommend deleting the 3 counterfeit micro "o" dollars

from the Top 100 list. Here are a few candidates that may be worthy.

1921-S VAM 1Bx DGO; Thornhead varieties. So much has been written

about this tough variety and various die states the last few years

that they should easily claim a TOP 100 slot.

1878 VAM 189; engraved wing feather. Although a relatively recent

discovery, it is the only known Philadelphia mint 7TF dollar with

an added engraved feather, that also has a scarce B2c reverse.

These are very tough to come by in any grade and almost never

offered for sale.

1878-S VAM 18; Spaghetti wings. This is truly one of the most

interesting 1878-S varieties with its engraved wing feathers.

1878 VAM 188; Washed out L. This has the same obverse as the TOP

100 VAM 223 with the C reverse, but the VAM 188 with the B2c is by

far harder to come by especially in grades above XF.

1878-S VAM 18; Spaghetti wings. This is truly one of the most

interesting 1878-S varieties with its uniquely engraved wing feathers.

LONG BEACH REPORT FROM BRIAN RAINES

** Brian Raines reports on his luck at the Long Beach show:

I found a nice AU58 1879-S Rev.78 VAM 6, 1878 VAM 116 Ch AU, 4

1921-D's with die break in wreath (can't VAM it, someone swiped my

1921-D book) various AU58-MS63, 1921-D VAM 7 AU58, 1922-S missing

rays reverse but not still shows clash marks where the rays used

to be, 1921-D die break diagonally from a(states) to rim Ch AU,

1885 strong dash under 8 AU55, some toned dollars, 36 foreign

doubled dies, some super cameos at bid, and a few other US

varieties. Found a 1878 VAM 14.15 in AU at the Columbus, Ohio

show 2 weeks ago!

1878 VAM 32 QUESTION

** Jack Lee has a question about an 1878 VAM 32 he recently cherrypicked.

I found an 1878 7/8 VAM 32 with pitted reverse. I posted a thread

on the PCGS board but didn't get any helpful responses. Maybe the

VAM-E could help me as well. I'd like to see if anyone else with

an 1878 VAM 32 could check their coins as well and confirm this!

http://home.comcast.net/~jlee2027/1878_VAM-32_pitting.jpg

PREVIOUS RECORDS SHATTERED AT WILLIAM BLAND "TOP 50" PEACE DOLLAR AUCTION

** Eric Justice writes about a historic auction of a complete Top

50 Peace dollar set.

The William Bland collection made Peace Dollar VAM history, as it

was the first to publicly auction a complete set of Peace Top 50

Silver Dollars. This auction was conducted by Heritage, via The

Heritage Long Beach Bullet Auction.

Everyone expected a bidding fury for Top 50 census Peace Dollar

die breaks as collectors rushed at the chance to improve their

TOP 50 Registry Sets. But all were surprised as previous records

for double/triple dies were "shattered" as the bidding closed for

the auction.

Dr. David Close co-author of the Top 50 Peace Dollar VAMs book

shared his reaction with me as, "Peace Dollar VAMs have arrived!"

A big THANKS goes to William Bland who is one of the SSDC VAMers

paving the way with the big auction houses for all future VAMers

to liquidate their collections via a major auction house such

as Heritage. Thanks Bill, and congratulations on a very successful

auction.

Selected Highlights from the sale are listed below:

1921 VAM 3 PCGS MS-65 Lot #1643 Re Engraved Ray $2,760.00

1922 VAM 1F ANACS MS-60 Lot #1650 Die Break Field $632.50

1922 VAM 5A ANACS MS-61 Lot #1654 Scar Face $402.50

1922 VAM 2A ANACS MS-63 Lot #1644 Ear Ring $1,035.00

1922 VAM 2C ANACS MS-64 Lot #1645 Extra Hair $517.50

1922 VAM 12A ANACS MS-64 Lot #1655 Moustache $575.00

1922 VAM 2E ANACS MS-65 Lot #1646 Finest Wing Break $1,265.00

1922-D VAM 4 NGC VF-35 Lot #1657 Double Die $345.00

1923 VAM 1D NGC-62 Lot #1663 Whisker Cheek $431.25

1923 VAM 1E ANACS MS-64 Wing Break Finest Known $1,265.00

1923 VAM 2 "Armstrong Collection" ANACS MS-63 Lot #1667

Double Rays Obv $143.75

1925 VAM 1A NGC MS-65 Lot # 1677 Die Gouge Obverse Rays $402.50

DDR & TDR lots that brought heavy competition "SHATTERING" old price

levels included:

1922-D VAM 3 ANACS MS-63 DDR $546.25

1922-D VAM 7 ANACS AU-58 Triple Die Reverse $258.75

1922-S VAM 3 ANACS AU-55 Triple Die Reverse $172.50

1923-D VAM 2 NGC MS-61 Double Die Reverse $460.00

1926-S VAM 5 ANACS MS-62 Double Die Reverse $546.25

You can view all prices realized at www.heritagecoins.com, under

prices realized.

2005 June Long Beach Bullet Auction

Internet Only Auction

May 27 - Jun 6

Auction #377

1889 BARWING DISCUSSION

** John Coxe and Rob Joyce share a discussion on the 1889 "Barwing"

Top 100 coins.

JC: Any of you guys able to give a tip on discerning between

VAM-19A and VAM-22 on an 1889 barwing dollar? I understand VAM-22

is a far date, but I hate to go on what I see as far on the date

placement. I am still working out of the 3rd edition of the VAM

book, which only lists it as VAM-5A, as does my Top-100 guide.

The obverse on mine is heavily clashed and has a die crack from

the 1st star on the left through the neck just above the tip and

over to the 1 in the date. The clashes are as follows: the

standard wing clash is quite long and cones right out at that

inside corner at the top of the neck. The dies are rotated a

little bit. The wreath clashes giving a toothpick out of the

middle of the upper lip, another out of the nose about halfway

between the tip and the eye, and a clash connecting the lower

lip and the chin. The last bunch of leaves on the other side of

the wreath clashes at the lowest bonnet fold just before you reach

the hair below. Two tiny die pits are noted inside the ear in

the area where you find the chip in the 1878 VAM-9.

It's in an NGC MS64 holder, so I will be submitting it for their

variety attribution service and getting it officially retagged.

I would like to confirm it now beforehand to get it in the

SSDC database.

RJ: Wow, NGC 64 is an awesome coin! I'll photograph the date position

on the 19A and 22A for you tomorrow night and post them to my

website. Its pretty easy to tell if you have the two examples to

look at simultaneously.

You can view them online: http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1889_barwing.htm

I learned the grading companies are having problems attributing

the 19A/22 differences. Here's a small sampling:

NGC VAM-19A: Actually a VAM-22

NGC VAM-5A: A VAM-22 but slabbed before the 19A/22A distinction

ANACS VAM-19A: Attributed correctly

ANACS VAM-22: Actually a VAM-19A

ANACS VAM-19A: Attributed correctly

ANACS VAM-22: Attributed correctly

2/5 were attributed incorrectly plus one that didn't have the

up-to-date attribution so only 50% of the slabs were correct.

JC: Thank you sir. Very nice presentation. In my opinion it is

also very important in helping to maintain the top-100 VAM inertia,

since at least the first 3 editions of the VAM only have the 5A

and it is further undistinguished in at least the original

Top 100 guide.

As I related "...a die crack from the 1st star on the left through

the neck just above the tip and over to the 1 in the date...",

this is unmistakably a VAM-19A. Means there are a few ahead of

it in the census for the variety. Nice coin anyway, and a good deal

I think at $170 in NGC 64. It will be off for their variety

attribution for the registry set.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 15 -- July 6, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is

an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas

about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm

hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, some more responses to the Top 100 poll, a recent Micro O sale, and Jeff Oxman's take on the fate of the Top 100 list.

NOTE: Some people have reported missing the June 20th issue of

the VAM-E. This may be due to AOL's attempts at spam

blocking. Let me know if you missed it and I will send

it to you. You can still respond to questions and

articles in that issue .

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me

an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,

an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site

with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote, favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

MICRO O POLL: WHAT WOULD YOU PICK?

A few more responses this week to my poll as to which three

coins you'd pick to replace the counterfeit micro Os in the Top

100 were the decision to do so yours (which it's not).

** From Mike Emswiler:

I also like the 1880-P VAM-32A as a replacement for a Micro O VAM.

I discovered it shortly after Jeff Oxman told me about the 1889-P

VAM 23A. The VAM 32A has a clashed partial I, full N, and M. also

a partial clashed s and t. There are probably less than 15 known

and only one in circulated grade. I have 2 graded by ICG, I have

seen at least 2 others on eBay in non attributed ICG holders and

2 in NGC and one in a PCGS holder. They have been selling for $800-

$1200 on eBay the last few years in MS-63 and 64 holders. They

also have a very distinctive smashed right wing where the right

wing meets the body. The clashed N is probably the one of the

easiest to see without a loupe. It has become a very popular VAM

in just a few years.

Here's a link to one on eBay that recently didn't sell, but shows

the features nicely.

http://babyurl.com/pZZN9x

I also like the 1898-S VAM 4 and VAM 6 S/S

varieties and the 1880-S 8/7 VAM 12 although they're probably not

real good candidates for the Top 100.

What I think we need now is an "Ultimate VAM list." Several of

the Top 100 and Hot 50 VAMs have proven to be very common and I

would like to see a new list of ultra rare Vas with real premiums.

A lot has happened in the last 10 years since the Top 100 came out.

** At long last, your VAM-E Editor finally submits his list:

I had three coins chosen for their replacements when I started

the poll. One has been chosen by many others, and that is the

1921-S Thornhead. Another is the 1878-S VAM 50 "Lava Wing," which

I think was also mentioned. Both are tough coins to find, just

like the micro Os they would replace. The third I got by glancing

through the VAM supplements looking for something totally different,

and found the 1901-O VAM 34, which has two complete eyelids, not

just a doubled edge, not just an extra spike. If you want a "wow"

coin to show a non-VAM collector, there it is. Since pretty much

nobody is looking for 1901-O VAMs due to that date being

unrepresented in the Top 100 and Hot 50 hit lists, this coin

would open up new territory for exploration for many VAM collectors.

It's probably also a mystery just how rare this coin is, and that

would be fun to determine experimentally. I thought of including

some of the rare 1878 7TF coins that aren't in a list yet, but

those are already heavily represented in the Top 100 and Hot 50.

I have none of the three coins I mentioned above, which was

another criterion I set for my choices.

MICRO O SALES HOT

The grading services might not want to grade them anymore, but A

PCGS VF25 1902 Micro O sold on eBay on June 26th for $1700.

http://babyurl.com/xqnaoX

FATE OF THE MICRO Os IN THE TOP 100

** Polls may be fun, but here's a conversation between Rob Joyce

and Jeff Oxman regarding the future of the Micro O coins in

the Top 100.

RJ: We've had a few weeks of solicited VAM-e discussion about the

possibility of Top 100 replacements for the Micro Os. We've

not heard opinions from the two guys who literally "wrote the

book." How about it guys?

JO: My position is that it would be premature to act on the

Micro O listings in the TOP 100 until such time as it's clear

how the hobby is going to treat them. Needless to say, that

is not the case as of now. There are at least two options --

one is to leave them in the book with a asterisk indicating

that they are popular, but may well be spurious. The other

option is to replace them with three other varieties. Our

function, at least as I see it, is not to get out ahead of

the market, but rather to reflect it. And in this light,

I wouldn't expect a decision about how to best resolve the

situation until the beginning of next year, at the earliest.

A key consideration is the feedback, which has thus far been

quite tame in terms of a reaction to the Micro O authenticity

issues. When taken into account, I don't feel there's any

intense pressure to act precipitously. After all, even though

the evidence now favors their non-mint produced status, there

remain a few big names that resolutely hold to the idea that

they are, in some sense, genuine. Indeed, it wasn't a slam-dunk

in the past that they were genuine, and it should be remembered

that it's not a slam-dunk now that they are in fact counterfeit.

No doubt, if the decision is made to replace the Micro O's

in the TOP 100, a broad spectrum of specialists, investors,

collectors and dealers will be consulted. There are many subtle

nuances involved in selecting three new varieties out of 2000+,

but if I may be permitted to toot our own horn for a minute,

the VAM selection decisions thus far have proved to be pretty

good.

Although I'm sure there are collectors who would like us

to say we will do x and y by such and such a date, I don't feel

that is necessarily the best tact to take. I'd rather see how

it plays itself out, and then act accordingly. In the meantime,

it's easy to conclude that the VAM Train is still roaring down

the track.......

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that

I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,

so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to

completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll

put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep

them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

I have a more than complete grading set of Hot Lips 1888-O coins,

but I am left looking for one of the hardest grades. I need a PO-1.

I have what most people would agree is close, but it appears it

will slip into a FR-02. I will pay a nice premium on the coin or

I would be willing to trade a much higher grade Hot Lips for it.

RAW is fine.

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the

spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike

and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace

dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,

14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.

7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,

Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),

2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,

1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,

1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact

David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one

stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like

an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.

Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,

die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,

1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through

1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:

http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)

1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob

Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

Vol. 2, Issue 16 -- July 15, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, some good news for our VP, what isn't a Thornhead,
and a new publication from Leroy Van Allen.

NOTE: Some people have reported missing the June 20th and
July 6th issues of the VAM-E. After running some tests
with some VAM-E subscriber guinea pigs, I have come to
the conclusion that this is due to AOL blocking it for
reasons unknown to me. I believe I've found a way around
this, so those of you who haven't switched from AOL to
another ISP should be receiving this now. Let me know if
you missed back issues and I will send them.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

FEY ELECTED TO ANA BOARD

The 2005 ANA Board Election results have been announced, and SSDC
Vice President Michael Fey has been elected to the Board of Governors,
receiving 4,642 votes. Congratulations, Michael, and best wishes
for your term on the ANA Board!

WHAT'S NOT A THORNHEAD

This week, Terry Forfa asked me about a 1921-S that at first looked
like another one of the rare "Thornhead" (VAM 1B) varieties. He
then immediately e-mailed me again saying, essentially, "never mind,
it's a common VAM 1A."

As the 1921-S VAM 1B "Thornhead" varieties gain popularity, it is
only natural that dealers start attributing them and selling them at
a premium. When this happens, it will also only be natural that
some coins are misattributed as Thornheads, either innocently or
otherwise. There are examples of this happening already with other
popular VAMs. Many 8TF varieties are available in misattributed
flips, 2x2s, even slabs. The 1900-O VAM 29A has a common "imposter"
companion, the VAM 35. The 1921-S VAM 1A is a relatively common
variety that has a nice, deep die gouge between the B and U in PLURIBUS.
At first glance, one might think "Thornhead." The key diagnostic
for a Thornhead, a heavy gouge across Liberty's cap, which is present
on all die states and easily visible even in low grade, is missing.

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/notthornhead.jpg

Keep this variety in mind as one that should not make you excited
if you're looking for a Thornhead. They are common in all grades.

Thanks for the head's up, Terry, even if you didn't think you were
providing it.

MISPLACED DATE GUIDE AVAILABLE

Leroy Van Allen has released a nice guide to misplaced dates. Bound
copies of this guide are available directly from Leroy for $8 + $2
shipping. The guide is over 20 pages, with many photos of the known
misplaced dates. Order from:

Leroy Van Allen
P. O. Box 196
Sidney, OH 45365

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that
I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,
so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to
completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

I have a more than complete grading set of Hot Lips 1888-O coins,
but I am left looking for one of the hardest grades. I need a PO-1.
I have what most people would agree is close, but it appears it
will slip into a FR-02. I will pay a nice premium on the coin or
I would be willing to trade a much higher grade Hot Lips for it.
RAW is fine. Contact Ash Harrison, ash@ashmore.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike
and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,
die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,
1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through
1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:
http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)
1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob
Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2004, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com
 

Vol. 2, Issue 17 -- August 7, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, Jeff has more thoughts on the micro O's and the future of
the Top 100, the ANA show was a hit, and the premiere of the
"Exovamia" column.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

AOL CENSORSHIP VANQUISHED

Your editor is pleased to announce that he has overcome whatever
was causing AOL to not deliver the VAM-E to its rightful recipients

ANOTHER MICRO O SUGGESTION

** Richard Lang adds his opinion on the fate of the Micro Os.

After reviewing the latest VAM E newsletter discussions about
possible replacements for the Micro O varieties, I would like
to cast my votes. The 1896 Micro O, the 1900 Micro O, and the
1902 Micro O should stay put, now and forever. My reasoning
is as follows:

When PCGS finally decides to wake up and smell the marketplace,
I would be sickened to see the words "Contemporary Counterfeit"
displayed on the holder. However, while I recognize that more
than one TOP 100 expert (that I highly respect) has made this
suggestion, I can’t see myself settling for any wording harsher
than "Undetermined Origin." The idea that any entity outside
the United States Secret Service would possess the arrogance
to think itself worthy of leaving the word "counterfeit" carved
in [plastic,] for generations to see, still makes me laugh out
loud. However, I haven’t been able to rid myself of the disgust
that follows shortly thereafter.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE?

Since the VAM-E newsletter is a compilation of thoughts of its
readership, its content is driven in large part by what you would
like to see. If there are any topics you would like to see covered
in a future issue (or multiple issues) or have anything you would
like to contribute in terms of an article, please send it to me.
Summer is typically a time of low chatter in other coin forums,
so it's no surprise that this is also the case for the VAM-E.
I could write about what I've been doing for the last month, but
then you'd be reading mostly about my vacation, the tiling project
I have underway in my foyer, or the SIGGRAPH conference in L.A.
Those of you who have spent time with loupe to eye recently, tell
us what you've found or where you've been looking.

ANA SHOW REPORTS

I know there are a few of you out there that attended the ANA
show in San Francisco last week. From what little I've heard,
it was a really good show. Send me a show report and I'll put
it in the next VAM-E.

JEFF'S THOUGHTS ON THE MICRO-Os

** SSDC President Jeff Oxman offers a more in-depth explanation
of his feelings on the Micro O coins.

I certainly would not presume to tell everyone what to say about
the Micro O situation, but I can advise how I, personally, have
answered countless questions from an historical perspective.

1) The three Micro O dates in question have been heavily collected
since the earliest days of Morgan dollar variety collecting. In
fact, all three were featured in F.X. Klaes’ seminal book published
in 1963, entitled "Die Varieties of Morgan Silver Dollars."

2) Originally, two factors limited the ability of researchers
and others to see the questionable nature of these varieties.
(1) They were ultra-rare so that the actual number of specimens
that could be examined was very limited. (2) They were known
only in low circulated grades. The resulting conclusions were
therefore drawn from very few specimens, all of which were
in grades that obscured various key details. Even today, the
fact is that there hasn't been a single true "BU" specimen
found of any of these varieties.

3) In the 1990's, a few XF/AU specimens came to light. When
examined, they set off "red flags" in many of our minds. But
the point is this -- Would it be prudent to declare them as
counterfeits when (1) they were accepted by countless collectors,
(2) there was no definitive PROOF that they were fakes, and
(3) the impact would be so negative on the collectors who had
heavily invested in them? And what if they were later declared
genuine, having just declared them counterfeit?

4) Whereas in my mind the evidence was at least 60/40 percent that
they were made outside the mint, I personally did not feel it
was sufficient to make a statement that they were in fact no good.

5) Several members of the NGC staff over the last five or six
years indicated to me that after examining some higher grade
pieces they felt the non-1899 Micro O varieties were not
genuine. I generally agreed, but said that how this information
was distributed to the hobby was important. Given their
conclusion that it would not be prudent to continue slabbing
them, they stopped slabbing all three questionable Micro O
varieties.

6) Fast forward to mid 2005. PCGS had already decided that they
would enter the VAM slabbing marketplace. One of the first
steps was to decide which VAMs they would be willing to slab.
Hence, there was debate about the Micro O varieties. Another
collector and myself sent them a large number of specimens to
examine. They came to the conclusion that the non-1899 varieties
were no good, and that they would no longer slab them. (Yes,
up to this point, they did put them in PCGS holders.)

7) And that is where we are today. What started out as a 60/40
percent in my mind that they were counterfeit, has now progressed
to the point that I feel 95/5 percent that they were made
outside the mint. Leroy Van Allen has nicely summarized the
current evidence in discussing their questionable status. But
95 percent is NOT 100 certainty.

8) So, where does that leave us now? Yes, the preponderance of
evidence adds up to the conclusion that they are not genuine
mint products. It's my understanding that the planchets are
silver, but not the exact alloy. (They are a little too rich
in silver!) The reverse dies appear to be from the same
source, possibly from a genuine 1899-O VAM 6 with Micro O
mintmark. Some of the features and die marks are quite unusual.
(However, I should be quick to point out that the 1921-S
VAM 1B sub-varieties have equally strange features and die
markings, and nobody, as far as I know, is claiming them to
be counterfeit!) Even the luster and the sharpness of detail
on the devices makes one wonder. The point, of course, is
that the non-1899 Micro O varieties have been, and are now,
quite controversial. And rightly so.

9) In light of all this controversy, the conclusion I've reached
is that it's best for me to say that's it's my opinion, and only
mine, that the current evidence makes a very strong case that
these three Micro O dates are non-mint products. But can I, or
anyone else, prove it with 100 percent certainty. I don't
think so. That’s what I meant in my last VAM-e article that
I still don’t consider the issue a "slam dunk." Nevertheless,
if I had to bet the mortgage of my house one way or the other,
I'd come down on the side of counterfeit. Fortunately, I don't
have to bet my house.

10) Neither does anyone else have to bet their house. The market,
and only the marketplace, will ultimately dictate the future
for these popular varieties. I have vocally expressed my
reservations about these varieties for almost a decade now.
(Translate that as these are the only TOP 100 varieties I
never bought in quantity.) And the market went its own way.
Now, I believe even more strongly that they were struck
outside the mint. But my point is that the market will still
go it's own way. And that's just fine, too.

EXOVAMIA

** This issue of the VAM-E features the first "Exovamia" column.
Much as exonumia represents the field of collecting that is
just outside the traditional bounds of numismatics, I'm defining
exovamia as a field of collecting that falls outside the realm
of what a traditional VAM collector would collect, but would find
interesting nonetheless. It might not even be a coin. The
idea for the "Exovamia" column came up when Jeff Oxman and I
were looking at some stuff at the fringes of his collection.
I hope you enjoy this column.

The first piece of exovamia appears to be a silver dollar encased
in a casino chip. The chip is unopenable without breaking it. The
back says "Nathan Cummings/Quatorze Octobre [October 14]." The
encased coin appears to be a harshly cleaned 1921 Morgan. Big deal?
Upon closer inspection of the OBVERSE, one can tell it is not only
a 1921-D, but a 1921-D VAM 1B. (This came as a shock to Jeff when
I pointed this out to him.) The characteristics of the 1921-D
VAM 1B obverse are weak left stars and a die crack running from the
rim below the date into Liberty's nose. Since the reverse is hidden,
there is no way to determine if it is the desirable late die state or
even the rare LDS with filled letter (VAM 1B2).

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/21dv1b.jpg

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that
I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,
so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to
completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

I have a more than complete grading set of Hot Lips 1888-O coins,
but I am left looking for one of the hardest grades. I need a PO-1.
I have what most people would agree is close, but it appears it
will slip into a FR-02. I will pay a nice premium on the coin or
I would be willing to trade a much higher grade Hot Lips for it.
RAW is fine. Contact Ash Harrison, ash@ashmore.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike
and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,
die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,
1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through
1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:
http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)
1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob
Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2004, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 18 -- August 27, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, Rob Joyce has a review of the Baltimore show, PCGS
has released a list of coins the plan on recognizing, an
interesting monograph from Leroy, taking pictures, some 1878
cherrypicking, and an interesting fake Morgan in the "Exovamia"
column.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

BALTIMORE SHOW REPORT

** Rob Joyce gives his report of the recent Baltimore show

The mid-August Baltimore show had its share of VAM collectors: Jack Lee,
Michael Fey, Ash Harrison, Grant Hobika, Robert a.k.a. Coinkat on Pcgs
message board and a couple others. Apologies to the VAMer whose name
escapes me (James S?) who was working floor for clashed dies in advance of
Mark Kimpton's Super CD book.

Traditionally the summer show in Baltimore is slower than the winter
sessions but this one was well attended, reportedly breaking the attendance
record for the Baltimore summer show. There were hundreds of dealers in
attendance with the entire convention center floor occupied. There seemed
to plenty of new material to look through as well. After complaining to
Grant that I was frustrated that I never see fresh 8 tailfeather material
to check, I cherry picked an 1878 VAM 14.5. It was well circulated and has
dark toning but is still one of the extremely rare 8TF coins. SEGS
provided quick service, accepting it at the show and I had it back in a
about a week graded as a Fine 15 through their standard service. Most of
that time it must have been in the registered mail on the way back. In
addition to the 8TF success, I found two 1923 VAM 1B DBO-2A extra hair
Peace dollar die breaks already certified but unattributed in NGC MS-63
holders. Both coins carried the same submission number so I wonder if
there are more out there from the same source! Jack Lee had the cherry
pick of the show, locating an 1887 VAM 1B clashed E reverse in AU. At the
same table he got a 1900 O VAM 29 die break through the date (also AU) and
a couple other VAMs. 1921 P, D, and S material was also available at the
show with several pitted reverses, die breaks and die gouges found on the
floor. A pair of 1921-S VAM 1B6 late die state thornheads surfaced, a few
really cool 21-D die breaks as well as several high grade Hot-50 1921
pitted reverses.

My highlight of the show was getting called by one dealer that had purchase
8000+ silver dollars in a tax auction. The coins were put away in the
early 80's and most of them were AU/XF 1921 P/D/S Morgans. He triaged the
coins, pulling out ones he thought were of potential interest and putting a
couple hundred aside for us to work through. I spent from dinner time
though 2am in his hotel room attributing VAMs with him. Unfortunately, due
to the time constraints to get through the coins, I didn't make a complete
accounting of the finds, we only labeled the flips. My general
characterization is that we found the most 1921-D die breaks, but none of
the ultra rare ones, the best being the very desirable VAM 3A Streamer Wing
Die Break with a reverse dot. The most prevalent was a 21-D VAM 1P with
probably 6 in the lot. There were a few wide reed coins of differing
varieties in the group. A 1921-P VAM 44 16 Berry reverse wide reed coin
was one of the better finds in the entire hoard. This is the second known
to me after Ash Harrison's discovery coin and it seems to be the toughest
wide reed coin to locate. Only one missing letter VAM was found so I
continue to believe these are the ultra-rare 1921 varieties. Put them away
when you find them! There were less pitted reverses than I expected based
on my historical find rate. Perhaps the pitted reverses remained in the
original bags and never circulated as most I find are in mint
state. Finally, 1921-S thornheads continue to be a tough coin to find,
especially so for any state other than VAM 1B6.

1878 CHERRYPICKING

** John Coxe provides some cherrypicking advice for 1878

Many of us know that a lot of desirable 1878 7/8TF dollars are in
PCGS and NGC 1878 7TF Rev 78 holders. The VAM-31 is particularly
common in that. They are mistaken for B1 reverses initially. The
value of a sharp eye is in $$$ sometimes. An NGC MS66 came up in
their weekly internet auction. I first spotted the long nock which
got it immediately on my watch list. Looking more closely, I could
make out what appeared to be doubled legs and possibly extra tail
feathers. Anyway, an 1878 in certified MS66 is always a desirable
coin and this was solidly white and well struck with great luster.
As a B1 reverse, it would merit a premium. As a 7/8TF, it is
worth more yet over the 7TF 78 reverse.

Well, it arrived today and I quickly determined it to be a VAM-33.
According to the records I have on that variety (perhaps not the
best ones), there was no peer its equal or better. However, I
checked the Heritage CSNS signature sale that closed this same day
to find what has got to be another VAM-33 in a PCGS MS66 holder
that hammered at more than twice what I paid only a few days prior.
The same reverse legend die cracks were evident as on mine.

As a rule, the first thing I do when I see a certified 1878 that
is in a 7TF rev 78 holder is look for a long nock. When found,
it can often signal an opportunity to acquire a relative bargain.

PHOTO ADVICE

** Tim Cannard asks about taking pictures of VAMs.

Can you give me some advice as to what I might buy to take some
high quality pictures of some coins? I also want to get some
tight shots of the details that make up some of the coins. This
will probably mean the use of a microscope. I am also thinking of
a 4 to 5 megapixel camera. Any word would be gratefully excepted.

** I provide my experience here. Others' is welcome as well.

I use a 4 megapixel Canon A80 held up to the eyepiece of a
Bausch & Lomb StereoZoom 4 microscope. I have a fluorescent
ringlight mounted on the scope to which I can tape cards or
floppy disks in order to block out light I don't want. Usually,
I have about 1/3 of the ring blocked. If you are shooting in
color, the white balance of the camera needs to be set for the
type of light you are using. I had Jeff buy a 5 MP Canon A95,
which is still under $300. It's not necessary to have a 6, 8,
or 12 megapixel SLR to take good pictures for viewing on your
computer. Remember that your monitor is probably at most 2
megapixels, and decent pictures on a web page are under
1 megapixel.

If you're a member of the Collector's Universe message board,
search articles posted by me (messydesk) that contain the word
"microscope" and you'll find lots of information from several
other people as well. A few months ago, someone else was looking
for a scope + camera setup and I posted some info there.

EBay is a good place to buy a scope, but steer clear of no-name
brands, which are typically Chinese scopes with dubious optics
that usually exhibit poor edge sharpness, especially in photos.
If it's not a Bausch & Lomb, Nikon, Swift, Olympus, Leica, or
a few others, you really need to see it in person before plunking
down any money. As far as power is concerned, 10x + 30x will
be good. You can use the zoom on the camera in conjunction with
the microscope as well, so a zoom scope isn't a necessity. Jeff
has a 20x + 40X scope, and it's too much magnification for some
shots.

All pictures on the 79S Rev. of 78 Attribution Wizard were taken
as described above.

For taking full-coin shots, you'll need a copy stand that is
easily stowed when not being used. It doesn't have to be heavy-
duty, since most digital cameras are light. Position the camera
between 6 inches and a foot from the coin, and use the macro
focusing setting on the camera. Depending on the camera, you can
also zoom the lens, which will enable you to keep the camera
farther from the coin, which will give you more flexibility for
lighting. For lighting, I use a desk lamp with a white reflector.
The light isn't too harsh, but it does give a good picture of
the luster of a coin. Experiment with indirect lighting or diffuse
lighting by placing a piece of white paper or drafting vellum
between the light and the subject, and you'll get a totally different
effect on uncirculated coins.

If you aren't getting the results you want, take comfort in the fact
that digital film is extremely cheap. If something doesn't work,
just keep trying!

PCGS RELEASES VAM LIST

PCGS released the list of VAMs they plan on recognizing in the near
future. There are 325 coins in all, including all 8TF, 7/8 TF,
1878 B1 reverse (VAMs 70-84), all Top 100 (excluding 96-O, 00-O, 02-O
micro O), all Hot 50, all 1879-S Rev. of '78 (excluding VAMs 34A,
34B, 56), all Top 50 Peace dollars, as well as 1878 VAM 166, 168,
188, 1881-O VAM 5, 1885 VAM 8 (22?), 1887-O VAM 30, 1896-O VAM 19,
1921-D VAMs 1N, 1X, 3A, 9A, 1921-S VAMs 1A, 1B.

That's going to be one heck of a registry set!

1889-S COUNTERFEIT MONOGRAPH AVAILABLE

Leroy Van Allen has just release a short monograph on a bizarre
counterfeit 1889-S Morgan struck over an 1899, with extensive pictures,
analysis, and explanations. It is available for $2 + $1 shipping from
Leroy Van Allen, P. O. Box 196, Sidney, OH 45365.

TOP 100 CONDITION CENSUS PUBLISHED

** Michael Fey provides an update of Top 100 activity.

The Top 100 Condition Census, the six finest known specimens of each
of the Top 100 as graded by the various services, was published in
the Summer, 2005 issue of Top 100 Insights. In addition, Prices
Realized for the Spring, 2005 Ultra Rarities auction was also included
in the Summer, 2005 quarterly.

After taking a slight summer breather from the torrid pace of the
prior year, Top 100 Morgan dollars continue to post new record sales:
A PCGS MS 64 DMPL 1878 8TF VAM 23 "Doubled Lips" sold for a record
$3737.50, nearly $1000 over price for a common 8TF in the same grade.
An ANACS MS 64 1879 O/Horizontal O VAM 4 sold for a record $1495.,
more than $1000 over a common variety in the same grade. And, a
PCGS 45 1901 VAM 3 "Shifted Eagle" sold for a record $1610., more
than $1500., over a common 1901 in the same grade.

The 1896, 1900, and 1902-O Micro "o" varieties continue to be tightly
held by VAM collectors despite recently published concerns that
they might be struck outside the U.S. Mint. A PCGS VF25 1902-O
Micro "o" VAM 3 sold for a record $1702.88 in an E-Bay auction.
VAM collector Richard Lang proposed the term "Undetermined Origin"
to allow for the slim possibility that these may well have been
created at the U.S. Mint. Thus far, there is no concrete proof
evidence that proves either case.

The "Split Grade" Summer, 2005 Top 100 Value Guide was also published
with the Summer, 2005 issue of Top 100 Insights. It contained prices
for all the Top 100 coins in various grades from Fine 15 to MS 63 DMPL.

EXOVAMIA

This issue's Exovamia column features an anachronistic contemporary
counterfeit -- the 1927 (!) Morgan dollar. The manufacturer of this
coin had little intention of it being construed as authentic, not only
because the date is wrong, but because they put the word "Reproduccion"
above the motto in the die, attesting to its likely Mexican or South
American origin. Ironically, while the date digits look rather crude,
the word "Reproduccion" is in a font faithful to the IGWT motto.

http://varslab.com/1927Morgan.jpg

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Clayton Christiansen:

I am happy to say that as a result of posting my want list that
I was able to obtain a nice XF example of the very rare VAM 166,
so that can come off my list. I'm now a big step closer to
completing a B2 reverse set.

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

I have a more than complete grading set of Hot Lips 1888-O coins,
but I am left looking for one of the hardest grades. I need a PO-1.
I have what most people would agree is close, but it appears it
will slip into a FR-02. I will pay a nice premium on the coin or
I would be willing to trade a much higher grade Hot Lips for it.
RAW is fine. Contact Ash Harrison, ash@ashmore.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike
and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking for 1921-Ds with filled-die missing letters,
die gouges or larger die breaks, especially VAMs 1X, 9A, 11A, 12A,
1AF. Also looking for Thorn Head series coins VAMs 1B1 through
1B7 (look for the characteristic die gouge in the cap:
http://www.robjoyce.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm.)
1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62 and 1900 O/CC VAM-7. Contact Rob
Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2004, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 19 -- September 16, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, Rob Joyce has an 8TF question, some rather old
investment advice, an 1878 VAM 31 query, and some Exovamia
from Ash Harrison.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

BUT FIRST

I know I'm not alone when I wish any readers, or friends,
relatives, or acquaintences whose lives were turned upside-
down by Hurricane Katrina all the best for a quick return
to a normal life.

1878 8TF QUESTION

** Rob Joyce has a question about the A1l reverse.

I'm trying to attribute an 8TF from a photo and ran into some
features that I've not seen on my reference coins or in the books.

It is an A1l reverse. Obverse ear is polished and I can't see a
break/crack inb the P of pluribus so I'm betting VAM 14.2.
From the picture I can't see enough detail to tell if it has the
cotton boll polish lines. Does the 14.20 have a polished ear?

What caught my eye is that the reverse is a very late die state.
There is a break off the O of OF running out to the rim and a
small knob of metal on where this break meets the O. Horizontal
cracks run over through states where another crack runs to the
rim from the left 3rd of the T in STATES. The cracks almost
make a retained cud.

What are the die stages for the 14.2, 14.15, 14.20 A1l reverse?
This is obviously the last die state!

INVESTMENT ADVICE

** Michael Fey provides some investment advice he's been sitting
on for ... 94 years???

"Die varieties offer a most attractive field and one that is not
nearly explored as yet. I hope some time to publish a small
work on the half eagle--that is, if a point is ever reached where
the field looks as if it were nearly covered. So many new
varieties keep coming up it looks almost unending. Note the
wonderful array of die varieties of the silver dollar, half, and
quarter dollars...and there are many more that escaped the eyes
of the careful compiler. There are many, many other fields,
interesting and unexplored and well within the reach of collectors
of the most modest means. So it should be easy to form a
collection of coins that, when you have passed away, will be an
asset and not a liability for your family."

-- Taken from Dave's Notebook: an excerpt from the 1911 "The
Numismatist" by William H. Woodin. Reprinted in ANR The
Numismatic Sun #6, Spring/Summer, 2005.

** Your editor wonders if Mr. Woodin ever did publish his work
on the half eagle.

1878 VAM 31 QUESTION

** Ed Malinowski has a question about 1878 VAM 31 die states

I collect different die states of the same variety and was
wondering if anyone has seen any later die state of the 1878
VAM 31 than my photos? It doesn't look like this die has too
much time left before self destruction. Any later states seen?

Here are the photos:

http://babyurl.com/NExMHs
http://babyurl.com/DG0wZp
http://babyurl.com/RHeOtq

EXOVAMIA

This issue's Exovamia column features a contribution by Ash Harrison.
This two-tailed Morgan dollar magician's coin would be an interesting
piece even if one of the reverses were not attributable as an 1886-O
VAM 1A clashed E reverse!

http://varslab.com/86omagic2.jpg

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Rob Joyce:

I picked up a 1900 O/CC VAM-7 from the VAM-E advertisement. Thanks!

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

I have a more than complete grading set of Hot Lips 1888-O coins,
but I am left looking for one of the hardest grades. I need a PO-1.
I have what most people would agree is close, but it appears it
will slip into a FR-02. I will pay a nice premium on the coin or
I would be willing to trade a much higher grade Hot Lips for it.
RAW is fine. Contact Ash Harrison, ash@ashmore.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike
and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking looking for a 1921-P VAM-3U (Pierced Neck
Die gouge), VAM-40A (Denticle impressions below tailfeathers),
Missing letter filled dies on 1921-P, D and S coins, Thorn Head
series coins VAMs 1B2 and 1B7 (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm)
and 1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62, 72. Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2005, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 20 -- October 5, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, a Long Beach show report from John Coxe, expanded
NGC registry sets, and PCGS kicks off slabbing VAMs.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

BUT FIRST

The IT Services Department of the Editorial Offices of the VAM-E
has just finished a long overdue major hardware upgrade (i.e., I
just finished putting my new computer together). In the
process, I've had to migrate the mailing lists manually to
the new computer. You shouldn't notice any difference in the
VAM-E. If there are problems, please contact me at vam-e@varslab.com.

LONG BEACH REPORT

** John Coxe reports on the recent Long Beach show.

Thought I would pass along my impressions from Long Beach.

The show was moderately attended and not at all as busy as I had
noted over the past year or so. Dealers were sticking to the sheet
in buying, even for PQ PCGS green tags. Glad I consigned a lot
of material to Heritage (and also will to Teletrade).

VAM cherrypicking was great. I did not locate any 1878 14.X
Morgan rarities but got some neat stuff. The first purchase
was an 1878 ANACS VAM-9 MS60PL. Despite being clearly attributed
(correctly) on the tag, I practically stole the piece. A very
knowledgeable dollar dealer sold me a VAM-33 in NGC MS65 for
7TF rev 78 grey sheet ask. The tag was wrong (again, got an
MS66 of the same variety in auction exactly the same way) and
was recified for $10 at NGC's table in the back. Went back
to the VAM-9 dealer and got a nice, solid gem. It was a 1927
ANACS MS65 that just so happened to be a VAM-2. It should
easily cross at PCGS, which BTW began its variety attribution
service. Picked up a nice 1878-S NGC MS64 with a doubled motto.
I don't think it is a VAM-6 but haven't taken the time to examine
it yet; got it too late to hand to NGC.

Don't trust the variety attributions on slabs either. I got two
of Logan's ANACS slabs from separate dealers which were dead wrong.
One was an 1878-S that said VAM-8. Never saw a VAM-8 with a long
nock. It was indeed a VAM-56 in F15 and not even a "net" coin.
The other was an 1882-O labeled VAM-18. The attribution must have
been hirried and went on the left date doubling. It is an 1882-O/S
VAM-5 EDS. Question authority, even if that authority is a genuinely
knowledgable VAM grader.

Got variety attributions on a lot of NGC slabs. Found my own
VAM'ing of Peace dollars has some way to go in the process, but
most of the ones that didn't cut it were WAGs anyway. Didn't
call PCGS before leaving for the show to find out if they started
their attribution expansion, something I had been doing show after
show too. So I will have to mail mine in. I did send my ANACS
VAMs to their crossover service instead of NGC's though.

I was surprised to find that not every VAMer knew that you can submit
NGC slabbed coins directly to NGC at the shows for variety attribution
for $10 each. You get them back by the next day and avoids the
hassle of the registered mailings. It is very satisfying to get
those NGC coins that you cherry on the bourse in VAM holders before
you leave town. And you can yell at Dave Lange directly if you
disagree with his assessment (usually never an issue though).

Finally met Ash at the NSDR, turned to SSDC, meeting. Had fun sharing
my VAMs and seeing others'. Always enjoy the quarterly discussions with
old-timer, Frank Barton, but wish I had looked more at his nice VAMs
instead of rushing back to the bourse. Jeff, of course, is always fun
to talk VAMs with.

PCGS BEGINS SLABBING VAMs

** From Mike Faraone at PCGS:

The new VAM Variety service has started at PCGS. As you know we
are doing a limited number of Morgan and Peace Dollars. The complete
list of VAMs with PCGS numbers can be viewed from this link:

http://www.pcgs.com/9[1].20.05%20Variety%20List.pdf

Instructions for submittal can be obtained at the PCGS website or
at this link:

http://www.pcgs.com/PCGS%205256-01%20VAM%20List%20of%20Services.pdf

The full press release from PCGS can be read at this link:

http://www.pcgs.com/articles/article_view.chtml?artid=4532&universeid=313

NGC EXPANDS REGISTRY SETS

The NGC Registry Offers Six Sets for VAM Collectors

The NGC Registry is a website which allows collectors display their
certified coins and compete for awards and recognition. Currently six
different VAM Sets are offered:

Morgan Silver Dollars 1878-1921, Top-100 VAMs
Morgan Silver Dollars 1878 8TF VAMs
Morgan Silver Dollars 1878 7/8 Tailfeather Varieties
Morgan Silver Dollars B1 Reverse Varieties
Morgan Silver Dollar 1900 O/CC TOP-100 VAM Set
Peace Silver Dollars 1921-1935, Top-50 VAMs

The structure of the Registry encourages collectors to focus and organize
their collecting goals. By adding images and descriptions of coins, and
by using community features, it is easy to showcase unique collections.
Participation in the Registry is free, although premium content is
available to Collectors' Society subscribers.

The NGC Registry allows collectors to include both NGC and PCGS certified
coins in their sets, but the variety specified must be attributed on
the coin's holder by the grading service. Within the above listed VAM
categories, 50 collections belonging to 26 collectors have now been
registered .

For more information visit http://NGCcoin.com, and click on 'Registry'
in the top menu bar.

1878 VAM 33 QUESTION

** A reader asks about this variety

This is a typically common variety, but I have an XF45 that has what
appears to be an extra stem, and berry located adrift in the field
between the rim and wreath at eleven o'clock above O in ONE DOLLAR.
Check your specimens of this date to see if one exists in your
inventory or notes.

** Jeff Oxman has indicated that there are at least 5 distinct die
stages in the VAM 44/33 reverse die progressions.

EXOVAMIA

This issue's Exovamia column features a contribution by Rob Joyce.
######## Add info about Rob's puzzle coin.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Rob Joyce:

I picked up a 1900 O/CC VAM-7 from the VAM-E advertisement. Thanks!

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Jack Lee is looking for an early die state 1887 VAM 1A (Donkey Tail)
for study or purchase. Contact Jack at jlee2027@yahoo.com

Wanted to buy: Any 1921-D VAMs inthe 1AA through 1AZ series, XF or
better. Contact Greg Gantzert at ggantz1@msn.com.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

I have a more than complete grading set of Hot Lips 1888-O coins,
but I am left looking for one of the hardest grades. I need a PO-1.
I have what most people would agree is close, but it appears it
will slip into a FR-02. I will pay a nice premium on the coin or
I would be willing to trade a much higher grade Hot Lips for it.
RAW is fine. Contact Ash Harrison, ash@ashmore.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike
and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking looking for a 1921-P VAM-3U (Pierced Neck
Die gouge), VAM-40A (Denticle impressions below tailfeathers),
Missing letter filled dies on 1921-P, D and S coins, Thorn Head
series coins VAMs 1B2 and 1B7 (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm)
and 1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62, 72. Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2005, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com

 

Vol. 2, Issue 21 -- October 31, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, new PCGS registry sets, a complete set of "Extra Hair" 1923
Peace dollars, an amazing memorial token, a report from Jeff, and some
Exovamia from Rob Joyce.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

COLLECTOR COMPLETES 1923 EXTRA HAIR SET

Steve Bandovich has completed a set of the 7 known 1923 "Extra Hair"
Peace dollars in Mint State condition. This set was recently sold
on eBay for $2926.33. The set includes the following coins:

1923 1B MS-62
1923 1V MS-62
1923 1W MS-63
1923 1Y MS-61
1923 1AA MS-63
1923 1AB MS-64
1923 1AE MS-63

The coins can be seen in the auction listing.

http://babyurl.com/2b7SJO

JOIN US AT THE 2006 FUN SHOW!

** SSDC President Jeff Oxman updates us on what's up in the SSDC

There's good news for SSDC members - the SSDC has now secured a meeting
room at the upcoming FUN Show (Jan 5-8, 2006) for our third annual FUN
Show "VAM Thing" meeting. And we believe it will be the best SSDC club
meeting yet!

We've finalized the time, which will be 4 pm Friday, Jan 6th at the
Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This
end-of-the-day time slot is what we lobbied for, as it allows us to
remain in the room past the normal 1-hour allotment. The actual
meeting room location will be assigned in December by the FUN
Committee. Most importantly, we are expecting some real excitement at
this year's meeting.

First of all, we will give out the hobby's top annual VAM awards,
including the VAM Master Award for milestone contributions to VAM
collecting, as well as the Terry Armstrong Award for service to our
segment of the hobby. And both of this year's recipients, all will
agree, truly deserve this honor.

Also, in addition to a club reorganization update (including the first
draft of our new club by-laws), and a report on our finances, VAM
updates will be offered by specialists with hand-out documents that
will only be available at this meeting. The idea will be to supply the
latest cutting-edge VAM information to our members.

Then, the meeting will close with a time devoted to interacting with
some of the top VAM experts in the country. Have a question? Then
come to the meeting and get the answer!

And last but not least, we will be trying something new this year.
Since we've retained post-meeting access to the room, we're encouraging
SSDC members to use the meeting room to trade VAM duplicates among
themselves. (No cash transactions, please, due to convention policy,
but YOU work out the details!) So bring the VAM material you'd like to
trade, and see if other collectors have what you need!

Indeed, the SSDC Club meeting this year will have something for
everyone. Whether you collect TOP 100 or HOT 50 Morgans, TOP 50 Peace
dollars, or 1921 Morgans, or anything in between, this VAM get-together
should be a real extravaganza! Mark your calendars. And we'll be
looking forward to seeing you there!

NEW PCGS REGISTRY SETS

After launching attributions for over 300 of the most popular Morgan
and Peace dollar VAMs, PCGS has expanded their set registry to include
the following sets of these coins:

- Morgan Dollars "Top 100" VAMs
- Morgan Dollars "Top 100" plus "Hot 50" VAMs
- Morgan Dollars Major VAM set, including "Top 100", "Hot 50", all
other 1878 VAMs through VAM 84.
- Morgan Dollars "Super Set," including all Morgan dollar VAMs PCGS
recognizes plus all other coins in the currently established Morgan
Dollars with Varieties registry set.
- Peace Dollars "Top 50" VAMs
- Peace Dollars "Super Set," including the "Top 50" plus all other
Peace dollars currently established in the Peace Dollars registry
set.

For more information, see:

http://babyurl.com/GauXNI

Good luck, and happy hunting!

1879-S REV. OF 78 QUESTION

** Greg Drude asks about the 1879-S Rev. of '78 varieties

GD: I recently purchased a 1879S rev 1878 in an old PCGS rattler holder
graded MS61. It appears to have a VAM 5 reverse, broken R, (Morgan
and Peace Dollar 4th ed.) but the obverse is what has me puzzled.

The obverse shows what appears to be doubling of the nostril with
a single die polish mark starting at the top of the nostril and
continuing to the top of the lip. The doubling of the nostril
looks pretty distinct to me. The obverse is a LDS with the reverse
having heavy die polish.

Just wondering if you have heard of such an animal, and if you
have any thoughts.

Greg is not alone in having been confused over these varieties. Such
confusion led Dave Wang to do detailed research into the 1879-S Rev.
of '78 varieties, which led to the publishing of a book devoted only
to them. During his research, many of the varieties listed in the VAM
book were discarded (such as VAM 5) and new ones were established (such
as VAM 42, which is Greg's coin). Jeff Oxman an I have also developed
computer software for attributing the 17 different known varieties.

As a result of the research and subsequent information made available
to collectors, a more accurate view of the rarity of these varieties
has been established, as have hefty premiums for the scarcer varieties.

AMAZING MEMORIAL TOKEN

This incredible memorial token carved on an 1884 Morgan dollar recently
closed on eBay for $2247.88. The engraving appears to have been done by
a 19th century master engraver who appears to have been skilled enough
to make plates for fake $20's had he wanted. Look fast, before the picture
is pulled down.

http://babyurl.com/PjRKgF

EXOVAMIA

** An administrative error caused last issue's Exovamia to contain a note
to myself to include the actual bit of Exovamia submitted by Rob Joyce.
It is included in this issue at no extra charge.

In VAM-E Volume 2, Issue 17, I read with great enjoyment where John
Baumgart attributed Jeff Oxman's encased silver dollar in a casino chip
as a VAM-1B die break based on the obverse die crack.

I also use the obverse die crack as a "tell" for finding VAM-1B coins.
For those of you unfamiliar with the specific crack, look at the line
drawings at the bottom of the page here and observe the die crack running
from the rim below the point of the neck up through Liberty's lips:

http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921d_vam1b1.htm

I have two other 1921-D VAM-1B1 Exovamia items. In 2004, I had a capped
R coin cut up and turned into a "puzzle coin" Now before I'm exiled for
life from the coin collecting community, please know that this coin was
highly polished when I bought it and I would not have had a problem-free
coin cut with a jeweler's saw. Folks that have met me all know I'm crazy
for 1921-Ds and the drive to have a unique conversation piece was too great.

The second item was an eBay cherrypick for $5. I used the same crack as
on the casino chip to discover a capped R that I had to buy... (its a
sickness). I picked this coin with a bullet-hole sized gaping wound in
the field. It was drilled behind Liberty's head, right through the R of
AMERICA. Unlike the casino chip, this coin can be attributed as a late
die state VAM-1B1 because most of the die break is still visible. At
least it didn't cost me much. Jack Lee laughed hard at me ;-)

Both exovamia items can be seen here:
http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921d_exovamia.htm

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Rob Joyce:

I picked up a 1900 O/CC VAM-7 from the VAM-E advertisement. Thanks!

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Jack Lee is looking for an early die state 1887 VAM 1A (Donkey Tail)
for study or purchase. Contact Jack at jlee2027@yahoo.com

Wanted to buy: Any 1921-D VAMs inthe 1AA through 1AZ series, XF or
better. Contact Greg Gantzert at ggantz1@msn.com.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

I have a more than complete grading set of Hot Lips 1888-O coins,
but I am left looking for one of the hardest grades. I need a PO-1.
I have what most people would agree is close, but it appears it
will slip into a FR-02. I will pay a nice premium on the coin or
I would be willing to trade a much higher grade Hot Lips for it.
RAW is fine. Contact Ash Harrison, ash@ashmore.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 130A, 131 with spike
and 132 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen, clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking looking for a 1921-P VAM-3U (Pierced Neck
Die gouge), VAM-40A (Denticle impressions below tailfeathers),
Missing letter filled dies on 1921-P, D and S coins, Thorn Head
series coins VAMs 1B2 and 1B7 (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm)
and 1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62, 72. Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2005, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com


Vol. 2, Issue 22 -- November 20, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, new PCGS registry sets, a complete set of "Extra Hair" 1923
Peace dollars, an amazing memorial token, a report from Jeff, and some
Exovamia from Rob Joyce.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

CHERRYPICK OF THE WEEK

Congratulations to Clayton Christiansen, who cherrypicked a F-VF
1891 VAM 2A "Moustache" on eBay for all of $12.95 in a Buy-it-now
sale.

ANOTERH CHERRYPICKING STORY

** From George Powell

About three weeks ago I was looking on eBay at a set of 1921-P,
D & S Morgan's and the three of them looked like at least MS60s
to me so I Bid high and when I received them they were not only
really good but the 21-P was a VAM 35 - R-6 in MS60 or MS61, 21-D
was a VAM 3A - R-7 at least a MS61 or better, and the 21-S was a
VAM 5 - R-5 in AU+. Not too bad, so I will keep looking because
they're still out there. I had been collecting Morgan & Peace
Dollars for over 45 years but I did not know or learn any thing
about VAM's until early in 1999. I started looking for all
the help I could find so I stared looking for all of Leroy Van
Allen & George C. Mallis books that I could find and over the
next 6 years I now have all of their works from the first book
in 1965 and all of the updates to them that I know of. I also
have 18 other books on Morgan & Peace Dollars to help me. The
first big VAM that I found was a 1878-P VAM 9 - R-7 in EF45 that
I got at a show and as hard as I looked in the VAM Book over &
over I was not sure that it was a VAM 9, so I gave it to Al
Johnbrier at the Bowie Md. Coin Club that I belong to so he could
take it to a show in California and he took it to Jeff Oxman to
look at. Boy was I happy when John came back and told me it was
a VAM 9 a hard one to find and that was the ONE that got me
started with the VAMing thing. I will look at about a 100 or
more coin's before I bid on or get at a show. Over half of the
23 New and 6 Revised Vam's that I have discovered over the last
4 years have come from eBay. One of my revised VAMs, the 1904-O
VAM 4B - R-6 in BU, is a clashed die that Dr. Mark Kimpton has
listed in his work on the top 25 clashed die's. Just think there
are still new VAMs out there for the picking. WOW.

"KING OF VAMS" BRINGS BIG BUCKS

An 1878 VAM 44, Tripled Cotton Blossom in PCGS MS61 sold for $10.201
on eBay tonight. As far as I know, this is the most paid for this
variety. It also shows that people are taking VAM registry set
building very seriously. Congratulations to the buyer. Here's a
link to the auction.

http://babyurl.com/sLv63U

AN AFFINITY FOR THE MINISERIES

Ash Harrison has recently completed his circulated grading set of
1888-O VAM 4 "Hot Lips" coins by adding the elusive PO1. In addition
to this set, Ash has also completed the 1882-O/S, 1900-O/CC and
1921 Infrequent Reeding miniseries.

JOIN US AT THE 2006 FUN SHOW!

The FUN show is less than seven weeks away. The VAM Thing should
prove to be a great time for all that attend. Consider some of the
exciting things that have happened for VAMs within the past year,
as well as some of the personal accomplishments of various collectors,
such as Dr. James Susack's complete Top 100, Hot 50 Morgans and Top 50
Peace dollar sets. You may get to see some of the coins that have
been discussed here over the past year. You may get to see new
discoveries that haven't been seen before. You may have something
neat to share with others.

DESPARATE FOR A 1903-S VAM 2

** Ash Harrison needs help:

I desperately need an AU PCGS 1903-S Micro S Dollar. I don't
care what holder it's in right now, as long as it will slab at
PCGS. If it is currently 55, fine, we'll see how it crosses.
Anyway, I'm willing to pay huge money for the right coin, this is
one of the last coins keeping me from posting the #1 ALL TIME
PCGS Registry Dollar Set in Prooflike with Varieties. Please help!

** Ash recently got on his knees at a local show and begged a dealer
who knows the guy with the two pop top coins that are raw. He's
not sure if it helped or not, but if it didn't, you might get
to see this spectacle again by coming to the FUN Show.

TOP 50 PEACE DOLLARS ARE GETTING HOT

** Larry Galbraith shares an exciting sale of a TOP 50 VAM Peace Dollar:

Wanna see something that will blow your mind? 1926-S PCGS MS65
UNATTRIBUTED VAM 4 hammered on Heritage for $3,220 with the juice.
Yes, three-thousand-two-hundred-twenty U.S. Dollars!

** Eric Justice comments:

WHOA! THAT blew my mind alright. More than a $2500 premium for
a Peace dollar VAM!. Amazing. I would have never guessed it.

It's funny, the last few VAMs that guys have asked me to help
them estimate the hammer price on, I have been way lower than the
actual auction price. There is some tense competition for high
grade nice Top 50 Peace Dollar VAMs. Previous VAM records are
being shattered! A quick $15 reholder fee and this will look
nice in an attributed 1926-S VAM 4 holder.

FALL ISSUE OF Top 100 INSIGHTS & VALUE GUIDE

** From Michael Fey:

I have been working on the Fall issue of Top 100 Insights and Value
Guide over the past week, and hope to have it in the mail by the end
of next week. It will provide lots of valuable information and
insights on Morgan dollar varieties in GSA holders from one of our
own GSA/VAM silver dollar experts, Lewis Rosenbaum.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jeff Oxman,
Mike Faraone, David Hall, PCGS and all the many other VAM collectors
responsible for helping PCGS recognize a basket load of Morgan
and Peace dollar varieties as part of its grading service.

It's simply amazing to see how this specialized area of collecting
has blossomed in just 8 short years. Morgan and Peace dollar
variety collecting is still in its early years. Just imagine
what the future holds!

EXOVAMIA

This issue's Exovamia is another counterfeit 1921 Morgan dollar.
While the coin is easily identifyable as a counterfeit, the
counterfeiter seemed to duplicate a problem occasionally experienced
at the Mint quite well, although probably inadvertently. This
1921 Morgan counterfeit has a "Clashed E" (actually B) reverse,
as well as a partial G on the obverse!

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/clashedfake21.jpg

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Rob Joyce:

I picked up a 1900 O/CC VAM-7 from the VAM-E advertisement. Thanks!

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Jack Lee is looking for an early die state 1887 VAM 1A (Donkey Tail)
for study or purchase. Contact Jack at jlee2027@yahoo.com

Wanted to buy: Any 1921-D VAMs inthe 1AA through 1AZ series, XF or
better. Contact Greg Gantzert at ggantz1@msn.com.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

I have a more than complete grading set of Hot Lips 1888-O coins,
but I am left looking for one of the hardest grades. I need a PO-1.
I have what most people would agree is close, but it appears it
will slip into a FR-02. I will pay a nice premium on the coin or
I would be willing to trade a much higher grade Hot Lips for it.
RAW is fine. Contact Ash Harrison, ash@ashmore.com

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 131 with spike
and 132, and 196 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen,
clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking looking for a 1921-P VAM-3U (Pierced Neck
Die gouge), VAM-40A (Denticle impressions below tailfeathers),
Missing letter filled dies on 1921-P, D and S coins, Thorn Head
series coins VAMs 1B2 and 1B7 (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm)
and 1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62, 72. Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2005, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com


Vol. 2, Issue 23 -- December 11, 2005

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, more information about the 1883-O Clashed E varieties,
a new book on clashed die Morgans is available,
Peace dollars, an amazing memorial token, a report from Jeff, and some
Exovamia from Rob Joyce.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

RECORD BREAKING 1878 VAM 44

** Michael Fey's take on the $10,000 1878 VAM 44

A record breaking price was recorded for a PCGS 61 1878 7/3 TF
VAM 44 on E-Bay. The VAM 44 has long been considered the King of
Morgan Dollar varieties by VAM specialists. Lot # 8352319031, which
closed on November 19, 2005 recorded 1039 views, 25 bids (starting
at $0.99), and sold for a whopping $10,200.01 (plus $30 S&H). This
far eclipses the Summer, 2005 Top 100 Value Guide price of $4730,
the last recorded trade of a MS 61 VAM 44.

With only about a dozen specimens known in mint state, the VAM 44
is in high demand by those variety specialists interesting in
assembling a mint state set. It is likely that this purchase will be
used in the recently developed PCGS Registry Set of Top 100 coins.

ELITE CLASHED MORGAN DOLLARS

** From Mark Kimpton

Fantastic new discoveries have been made in the Morgan dollar variety
field in the last several years. The majority of collectors,
including those who are 'advanced' collectors, have been unaware
of the recent finds within the field of clashed Morgan dollar
varieties. This is about to change! With the publication of the
"ELITE CLASHED MORGAN DOLLARS" book, collectors will be able to
identify some of the most extraordinary Morgan dollar varieties
that are known to exist. The book highlights the most impressive
examples of clashed Morgan dollars and includes examples from the
TOP 100, HOT 50 and SUPER CD (Clashed Die) collections. Most of
the well known TOP 100 and HOT 50 examples of clashed varieties
have been revised with additional clashed letter details. There
have also been 20 examples of the TOP 100 and HOT 50 collection
that have had NEW clashed die states discovered. Included in this
work are the 25 SUPER CD's! These are clashed varieties in a class
by themselves."

The "ELITE CLASHED MORGAN DOLLARS" book is now available for sale.
You can purchase a copy for $24.95 by contacting me at:
mark_kimpton@hotmail.com or via phone at (740) 215-6578. S&H is
an additional $3.95 for a total of $28.90

1883-O CLASHED E REDUX

Charter readers of the VAM-E may recall a discussion about the 1883-O
VAMs 22A and 36A, two clashed "E" varieties. (VAM-E Volume 1, Issues 8
and 9). Recently, a question was raised in another forum as to
whether both the VAM 22A and 36A were considered Hot 50 coins. At
the time the question was asked, ANACS would only label the VAM 36A
with the "Hot 50" designation.

Norm Salter was nice enough to lend an AU 1883-O VAM 22A, which is the
scarcer of the two clashed E VAMs, to me and Jeff Oxman recently. The
intent was to prove that they came from the same reverse die, which is
the "money side" of the Hot 50 VAM 36A. Based on some die polishing
lines between the eagle's legs, the two coins are definitely from the
same reverse, and for the sake of a Hot 50 checklist, count as the same
coin.

We then needed to prove that the two coins came from a different obverse
die. Currently, the marker used to differentiate the two is a pair of
die chips in the ear that resemble a moustache. As die chips represent
damage to the die, however, it is possible that these die chips didn't
exist on earlier specimens, so we went looking for a different marker.

The date is the obvious place to start looking for differences between
two varieties. Unfortunately, both the VAM 22 and VAM 36 have the same
punching characteristics on the date. Slight doubling is evident on the
1, and that's about it.

The VAM 22 is supposed to share the obverse with the VAM 4. VAM-E Volume
1, Issues 26 and 27 touched on some mysterious "doubled denticles" seen
on the VAM 4. It would be these denticles that confirmed the two different
dies, but not without a slight scare first. It turns out the VAM 36 also
has these strange, doubled denticles, but the shift is different than
that on the VAM 4, which makes it possible to determine if the VAM 22
obverse matches the VAM 4 or the VAM 36. Most of us probably aren't
used to looking for detail in the denticles on a Morgan dollar. Those
that are will realize that this is one of the first places to be worn
smooth, as was almost the case with Norm's VAM 22A. Fortunately, there
was barely enough detail to examine and photograph. The doubled denticles
on the VAM 22A match the VAM 4, and not the VAM 36. Good news, since
it confirms that the VAM 22A is from a different die pair than the VAM 36.
It was now also possible to establish a striking sequence for the three
coins in question. The 1883-O/O VAM 4 (a Top 100 coin) can be found
with DMPL surfaces, thus came first in the sequence. The VAM 22 shares
an obverse die with the VAM 4, and comes second. It then clashed to form
the VAM 22A. The obverse die was then replaced, making the VAM 36A.
There is no VAM 36 without the clash, unless there is a very late
reverse die state that has been polished and eroded to the point where
the clash is no longer visible.

These three varieties, one a Top 100 and two Hot 50s, make for an
interesting study in die progressions. There is probably a VAM 22
without the clash out there somewhere and maybe even a polished down
VAM 36A to continue the series. Astute cherrypickers might even find
the next coin in the sequence by looking for a coin with the moustache
die chips in the ear with a sharp, clash-free reverse. Go find it,
and tell us about it in the VAM-E!

Here is a picture of the VAM 4 obverse denticles above the S in
PLURIBUS:

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o4obv.jpg

Same denticles on the VAM 36. Note the position of the secondary
denticles in comparison to that on the VAM 4:

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o36obv.jpg

VAM 22 obverse, same denticles. The secondary image is very faint,
since this is not a BU specimen, but it is visible. The two arrows
point toward the notch.

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83o22obv.jpg

These arrows point to the die polishing lines that can be seen on
both the VAM 36 and VAM 22, proving they have the same reverse.

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/83oerev.jpg

VAM THING III AT FUN

The FUN show in Orlando, FL, and VAM Thing III is less than a month
away. Join us for SSDC news, to meet fellow VAM collectors, put
faces with names, and possibly win a fabulous door prize! The
annual VAM Master and Terry Armstrong Memorial awards will be awarded
at this show as well. There will also be time for a swap meet
and show-and-tell session after the meeting.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Rob Joyce:

I picked up a 1900 O/CC VAM-7 from the VAM-E advertisement. Thanks!

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Jack Lee is looking for an early die state 1887 VAM 1A (Donkey Tail)
for study or purchase. Contact Jack at jlee2027@yahoo.com

Wanted to buy: Any 1921-D VAMs inthe 1AA through 1AZ series, XF or
better. Contact Greg Gantzert at ggantz1@msn.com.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 131 with spike
and 132, and 196 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen,
clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking looking for a 1921-P VAM-3U (Pierced Neck
Die gouge), VAM-40A (Denticle impressions below tailfeathers),
Missing letter filled dies on 1921-P, D and S coins, Thorn Head
series coins VAMs 1B2 and 1B7 (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm)
and 1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62, 72. Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2005, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com
 

THE SOCIETY OF SILVER DOLLAR COLLECTORS
********** VAM-E **********
A weekly digest of questions, answers, and ideas from SSDC members

 

 THE SOCIETY OF SILVER DOLLAR COLLECTORS
********** VAM-E **********
A weekly digest of questions, answers, and ideas from SSDC members
 

 THE SOCIETY OF SILVER DOLLAR COLLECTORS
********** VAM-E **********
A weekly digest of questions, answers, and ideas from SSDC members

 

Vol. 3, Issue 1 -- January 2, 2006

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, getting ready for FUN, a new publication from Leroy Van
Allen, a new 1878-S discovery, a completed 1878 7TF set, and last
minute news about VAM Thing III.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

Happy new year to all VAM-E readers. As I begin compiling Volume 3
of the VAM-E, we're having a thunderstorm in Chicago. Not your typical
January weather, but still enough to have me look forward to VAM Thing
III at the FUN show this week. More information below about that.
I'm looking forward to producing a third year of interesting newsletters
for everyone to read. I never know what's going in from one issue to
the next, since the content is driven by the readers, so send me material!
I can use questions, answers to questions, deep thoughts, cherrypicks,
new discoveries, research you've done, show reports, news, and even
pictures of strange stuff for the Exovamia section.

CHERRYPICK OF THE WEEK

** Jack Lee scored a major 1878 8TF rarity lately:

Postman brought me that 1878 8TF VAM-16 from ANACS. Graded 45.
I thought the coin was an A1N reverse.

http://tinyurl.com/asfdy

It IS an A1N reverse. I have 3 confirming obverse diagnostics...
faint eye spike, die polish line in wheat leaves and metal from
I of RIB to the Rim (think that's a die break) - see 8TF Photos on
8TF CD of this area. Not mentioned but it's visible in the
attribution photo. It's a 14.13 !

How in the heck did they think it was VAM 16? Has to be a labeling
error.

http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/1413eye.jpg
http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/1413Polishing%20line.jpg
http://web1.chicagonet.net/~baumgart/1413break%20over%20I.jpg

FUN SHOW 2006 -- VAM THING III

** From Jeff Oxman regarding VAM Thing III

For all those lucky VAM collectors who are planning to attend the
upcoming FUN Show (Jan 5-8, 2006), the Society of Silver Dollar
Collectors would like to invite you to the VAM highlight of the
Show. Of course, we're talking about the annual FUN Show meeting
of the SSDC, entitled "VAM Thing III".

Like last year, we've managed to obtain a great meeting time,
which is 4 pm on Friday, Jan 6th. The advantage of 4 pm is that
no other clubs are booked after us, so there should be no pressure
to vacate the meeting room. This will afford us the exciting
opportunity to end this year's VAM Thing with something new --
a "Meet & Greet" time, followed by a "Buy, Sell & Trade" Session.
The idea of the "Meet & Greet" is to give collectors a chance to
interact with many of the top names in VAM collecting. Got questions?
They have answers!

And then, the meeting will close with a Trading Session, where VAM
duplicates can be bought, sold or traded. Although no money can
physically change hands during the club meeting time, transactions
can be worked out and completed later. So bring your duplicates --
you may have just what someone else needs!

So, whether you have VAMs to share with others in the club, or
whether you'd like to chat with other VAM specialists, or whether
you'd like to find out what's new in VAM collecting, join us at VAM
Thing III. We're looking forward to seeing you there!

Jeff Oxman, SSDC President

1878-S VAM 100 DISCOVERED

Logan McKechnie has recently been credited with discovering 1878-S
VAM 100. This milestone variety has a doubled motto and ear, double
spikes at the eye, and a unique engraved wing feather. The R in
TRUST is not broken.

1878 7TF SET COMPLETED

In addition to discovering 1878-S VAM 100, Logan has completed the
1878 7TF set from VAM 100 to VAM 232, including all subvarieties. The
last coin he acquired was the VAM 123, which he believes is the rarest
and most difficult of all.

OVERDATE STUDY BY LEROY VAN ALLEN

Leroy Van Allen has recently put together a study of overdates and
over mintmarks for Morgan dollars, including all 1880/79, 87/6, O/S,
and O/CC varieties. This 41 page, comb-bound study is available
for $12 + $2 postage and handling directly from

Leroy Van Allen
P. O. Box 196
Sidney, OH 45365

MORE ON THE 1883-O VAM 22 AND 36A

Another diagnostic of the 1883-O VAM 22 and 36A "E reverse" can be
found on the obverse stars. The VAM 22, which shares an obverse with
the VAM 4, has weak stars from polishing near the rim. The VAM 36A
has much stronger stars.

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Rob Joyce:

I picked up a 1900 O/CC VAM-7 from the VAM-E advertisement. Thanks!

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Wanted to buy: Top 50 Peace dollar VAMs in MS64 or better. Contact
Steve Bandovich at ksbandovich@msn.com

Jack Lee is looking for an early die state 1887 VAM 1A (Donkey Tail)
for study or purchase. Contact Jack at jlee2027@yahoo.com

Wanted to buy: Any 1921-D VAMs inthe 1AA through 1AZ series, XF or
better. Contact Greg Gantzert at ggantz1@msn.com.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 131 with spike
and 132, and 196 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen,
clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking looking for a 1921-P VAM-3U (Pierced Neck
Die gouge), VAM-40A (Denticle impressions below tailfeathers),
Missing letter filled dies on 1921-P, D and S coins, Thorn Head
series coins VAMs 1B2 and 1B7 (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm)
and 1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62, 72. Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2005, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com

 

Vol. 3, Issue 2 -- January 19, 2006

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, what happened at FUN, including a major cherrypick by
Grant Hobika and highlights from VAM Thing III.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

BUT FIRST

The IT Department at the Editorial Offices of the VAM-E has changed to
a different internet service provider. Some of you may not have been
seeing the VAM-E for quite some time due to my previous provider being
"blacklisted" by other ISPs, or for other strange reasons. If this is
the first VAM-E you've seen in a long time, let me know, and I can get
you back issues. The e-mail address for the VAM-E remains the same --
vam-e@varslab.com.

CHERRYPICK OF THE WEEK

Congratulations to Grant Hobika, who was fortunate enough to cherrypick
an uncirculated 1878 VAM 14.11 at the FUN show on Thursday morning. This
probably happened at about the same time I found an AU 1921-S VAM 1B6
Thornhead, which goes to show you that the three most important things
in real estate also hold for cherrypicking bourse floors -- location,
location, location. When we compared finds as we ran into each other,
although he was excited about me finding the Thornhead, having never
found one himself, he declined my offer for a straight-up trade for his
find. Go figure.

VAM THING III -- IT WAS FUN

The third annual SSDC VAM Thing ("VAM Thing III") was so far the best
attended of any, with close to 60 people in attendance. Many familiar
faces, as well as some to finally put with the names.

This year's recipient of the VAMMaster award for lifetime achievements
in VAM collecting was Michael Fey. In addition to the VAMMaster trophy,
Jeff Oxman presented him with his "magical coin," an 1878 VAM 15 that
has mesmerized many who have seen it, as a personal expression of gratitude
for Michael's accomplishments in the hobby.

The Terry Armstrong Memorial Award this year went to Ash Harrison, for
his tireless service as Treasurer and Membership Secretary. Perhaps it
was only fitting that as this was announced, Ash was busy making rounds
in the room collecting names and e-mail addresses for the door prizes.

Jeff Oxman then presented his vision for the future of the SSDC and
announced that he will be stepping down as President at the end of the
year. Jeff has more details about this below.

Mark Kimpton gave a presentation on his new book on clashed dies,
"Elite Clashed Morgan Dollars." Clahsed die coins with letters
transferred to either side have exploded in popularity recently. His
book covers letter transfer clashes on already known Top 100 and Hot 50
coins, as well as some new varieties for people to seek. In addition
to the clashes people are used to finding, such as clashed "E" reverses
and clashed "In" obverses, he pointed out obverse mintmarks, letters in
Liberty's hair, and even inside the eagle's tailfeathers. He also was
able to point out additional diagnostics of the 1883-O VAM 22 and 36A,
which has already been discussed here in depth. While the book was still
at the printer at the time of the show, it should be ready by now. In
lieu of the book, he also had CDs with soft copies of the book, plus
additional pictures not published in the book. For more information,
contact Mark at mark_kimpton@hotmail.com

I presented the new Top 100 Attribution Wizard software, which is the
latest release in the Attribution Wizard family. It includes most new
discoveries that have been added to the Top 100 since the book was first
released, and also provides easy, step-by-step attribution of all known
varieties of coins such as the 1888-O Oval O, 1921 Infrequent Reeding,
and 1900-O/CC. There is a total of over 600 pictures of Top 100 coins
on the CD. For more information, contact me directly.

John Roberts of ANACS presented information on the diagnostics of the
1878 VAM 215 proof reverse. While 1878 Rev. of '79 proofs are quite
rare, it is plausible that the reverse die was also used for business
strikes. As the Rev. of '79 coins represent the least explored frontier
of 1878-P VAMs, spotting these diagnostics could prove profitable.

At the end of the meeting, three lucky attendees won SSDC mousepads made
especially for the occasion, and as if we weren't having enough fun,
bottles of VAM (Vegetable, Animal, Mineral) Hair Tonic were awareded to
specially chosen representatives of the VAM collecting hobby's past,
present, and future.

After the formal part of the VAM Thing, people spent time in the room
to chat with other collectors, compare show finds, show interesting
coins they had brought, and make trades with others. Ash Harrison
had his collection of 1888-O Oval O coins with him that included a couple
definitely different from those already known, including one that
several of us agreed was an O/O, which means I'll have to update the
Top 100 software already.

Since I couldn't chat with everyone at once, please share your experiences
of the VAM Thing as well as the FUN show in general. I'll put it in
a future issue.

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE: VISION 2006

** A message from Jeff Oxman, SSDC President

Fellow Members of the SSDC - As we look out at where VAM collecting is
today, we have every reason to be thrilled about the prospects for the
future. Without question, our segment of the hobby has already reached
dazzling new heights that none of us dared dream of a mere decade ago.
And as last week's FUN Show in Orlando confirmed, today's numismatic
marketplace is an incredible, red-hot cauldron of insatiable demand,
collector exuberance and astronomical prices that transcend anything
we've seen over the past thirty years. Fortunately for us, at the
vortex of this hobby excitement is our own specialty, VAM collecting.

From humble beginnings in 1989, the SSDC started out with four members,
myself and three others who've since passed on. Talk about the last of
the Mohicans! The last half of the 1980's could have seen the demise
of VAMs. Why? The environment of the 1980's was such a hostile place
for VAM collectors. Hobby sentiment was decidedly against our
specialty. Just ask any dealer at a coin show, "Do you have any 1878
Morgans?" and you could expect rejection and a stream of abuse! But
the good news is that times have changed. Indeed, VAM collecting is
now one of the most vital areas in all of numismatics!

But more importantly, what does the future hold for us? No one could
argue with the fact that the SSDC has been quite successful in keeping
VAM collectors together, as a small enthusiastic fraternity of silver
dollar variety specialists. And during the Club's tenure, VAM
collecting has grown into a significant part of the Silver Dollar
Market.

But now, I believe it's time for the SSDC to "Make our Move." Instead
of reflecting the market, it's time to lead the market! When a new
silver dollar collector hears about VAMs, he or she should hear about
the SSDC! When a coin dealer, an auction house or a numismatic trade
paper wants information about VAMs, the SSDC should be their first
source of information! The upshot is this: The SSDC should grow from
being something of a Private Club to being the Key Player in U.S.
Silver Dollars! Now, it's time for the SSDC to charge ahead!
That's my vision for the Club.

SSDC Vision for 2006

All who took part in last week's SSDC Meeting held in conjunction with
the 2006 FUN Show were greatly encouraged to see a crowd of over 60
Club members, who had gathered together for one purpose - to share
their enthusiasm for VAMs. What follows is a brief summary of my
proposals presented during that meeting.

1. I will step down as SSDC President at the end of 2006. I believe
it's important for me to step aside, and let the next generation of VAM
Guys carry the torch. I will remain active in the SSDC, but we need
NEW ideas, NEW strategies and a NEW enthusiasm to carry the club
forward. So, the first order of business is to set up an Election
Committee to organize and implement the procedures necessary to elect
a) a new President; b) a new Vice-President; c) and a new Membership
Director/Treasurer for the Club.

Elections would take place either in June or September of every other
year, as stipulated in the by-laws of the organization. Yes, we need
to have by-laws written, and I'm hopeful that one of our members can
assemble them for the Club.

A Board of Governors for the SSDC would be created, and it would
initially function as our Election Committee. The first Board/Election
Committee would consist of myself, as current SSDC President,
Vice-President, Dr. Michael Fey, and SSDC member, Bill Fivaz, a man of
unquestioned integrity, who would represent the membership at large.
It goes without saying, electing the right people for the right jobs is
critically important to the future of the Club.

2. We need to revitalize our Regional Director positions. They weren't
meant to be "Honorary Positions," but rather, working positions. They
are our "eyes, hands and feet" in various locations around the country,
and we need to pursue them as an important resource to the club. To
get things started, one idea would be to ask the SSDC Vice-President
organize the Regional Directors and develop a marketing plan for the
SSDC.

3. We need to have an even better flow of communications between the
Club and its membership. Don't get me wrong. John Baumgart is doing an
absolutely spectacular job with the SSDC VAM-E communications that are
sent to our computer in-boxes more than 25 times a year. Without a
doubt, we are the envy of every other club which longs to have an
update about their particular specialty every other week. But we can
do even more.

4. Ash Harrison is negotiating a new alliance on behalf of the SSDC. Ash
became aware of a fabulous new VAM publication, filled with articles
and VAM pricing, that was introduced in 2005. And he contacted those
involved to see if a possible connection with the SSDC could be worked
out. Everyone seems excited by the prospect, and so, beginning in
2006, all SSDC members would receive a new Journal entitled "VAM View"
four times a year. The VAM-E will continue to keep us up-to-date on a
bi-weekly basis, whereas VAM View would focus on more lengthy, in-depth
articles and pricing data. Friends, if these possibilities don't get
your heart pumping, please set up a visit with your heart doctor!

5. We need a Public Relations Team to promote the Club. Developing
into a first rate, professional organization requires that we let the
numismatic world know about us! I'm hoping that some of our members
will respond to the call and help promote the SSDC at coin shows, at
coin club meetings and at other gatherings of coin collectors.

We need to advertise in Coin World, Numismatic News and the ANA
Numismatist. We have the funds ($4000+ in the treasury), so let's
advertise! Also, we should create a tri-fold booklet to represent us,
explaining who we are and what we have to offer. In the back would be
an application to join the SSDC.

In summary, I believe we've outgrown our present loose structure, and
now it's time to organize and to grow. We have the money. We have the
talent, and we have the knowledge about Morgan & Peace dollars that
everyone in the future will want to have! So together, I propose we
meet the future head on, and position the SSDC at the front of the VAM
Revolution!

Jeff Oxman, President
The Society of Silver Dollar Collectors

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Rob Joyce:

I picked up a 1900 O/CC VAM-7 from the VAM-E advertisement. Thanks!

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Wanted to buy: Top 50 Peace dollar VAMs in MS64 or better. Contact
Steve Bandovich at ksbandovich@msn.com

Jack Lee is looking for an early die state 1887 VAM 1A (Donkey Tail)
for study or purchase. Contact Jack at jlee2027@yahoo.com

Wanted to buy: Any 1921-D VAMs inthe 1AA through 1AZ series, XF or
better. Contact Greg Gantzert at ggantz1@msn.com.

Wanted to Trade: My 1921-D VAM 3A NGC MS64, a condition census
coin, for your 1878 VAM 15 AU58 (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS) or 1883
VAM 10 BU (PCGS, NGC, ICG, ANACS). Other offers considered.
Contact John Wilson, hawaii80@sbcglobal.net.

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 131 with spike
and 132, and 196 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen,
clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking looking for a 1921-P VAM-3U (Pierced Neck
Die gouge), VAM-40A (Denticle impressions below tailfeathers),
Missing letter filled dies on 1921-P, D and S coins, Thorn Head
series coins VAMs 1B2 and 1B7 (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm)
and 1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62, 72. Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2005, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com
 

Vol. 3, Issue 3 -- February 5, 2006

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
Welcome to another issue of the SSDC VAM-E. The VAM-E is
an edited compilation of questions, answers, and ideas
about VAM collecting or silver dollars in general. I'm
hoping you will find this a useful and enjoyable newsletter.

This week, new publications from Leroy Van Allen, and lots of tupling
on some of those stars.

If you wish to respond or post to the VAM-E, please send me
an e-mail at vam-e@varslab.com. You may submit a question,
an answer to someone else's question, a link to a web site
with interesting information, an interesting or amusing anecdote,
favorite cherrypick, or an entire e-mail exchange with another
person. I can't make this stuff up all by myself.
-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------

2005 VAM UPDATE AVAILABLE

2005 was a booming year for VAM collecting, if the heft of the 2005
VAM Book Supplements from Leroy Van Allen is any indication. This
years supplement lists descriptions of all discoveries from 1992-2005
and has pictures of all new or revised discoveries for 2005. Weighing
in at 160 pages with 556 photos, this is the biggest supplement yet,
with plenty of new varieties in both Morgan and Peace dollars. It is
available by sending $15 + $3 shipping to:

Leroy Van Allen
P. O. Box 196
Sidney, OH 45365

MORGAN DOLLAR 8 & 7 OVER 8 TAIL FEATHER STORY

Another interesting publication Leroy has made available is an interesting
52 page booklet analyzing the origin of the 8 TF and "7/8 TF" dies.
Leroy examines old theories and puts them to the test and draws very
interesting conclusions, showing overlay pictures with regular and pattern
reverses to illustrate his research and that of others, including the
late "1878 P Nut," Pete Bishal. This booklet is available for $15 + $2
shipping from Leroy at the address above.

Michael Fey says of this booklet:

"In a new 1878 8TF discovery, veteran VAM Master Leroy Van Allen
published a new booklet, the 'Morgan Dollar 8 & 7 Over 8 Tail
Feather Story.' The book challenges every notion that we ever
had about these magnificent varieties. It takes us to places
we would have never dreamed possible without the incredible
insights and copious photos by Mr. Van Allen to document his claims."

TOP 100 INSIGHTS UPDATE

The Winter, 2006 issue of Top 100 Insights and Value Guide discusses
a bold prediction, “Welcome to the Revolution”, about die varieties made
in its Top 100 book which was first published in 1997.

Detailed spreadsheet analyses, A Comparison of Top 100 Coins in
Population Reports from August 1996 to January 2006, and A Comparison
of Select Top 100 (Varieties) Coins in Population Reports to January
2006 was published and discussed. Comments, revised rarity ratings,
and insights into the relative rarity of Top 100 varieties were provided
by Michael S. Fey.

For the first time ever, ANACS grader John Roberts in a, “Reverse of
Fortune”, provides images (courtesy of Peter Cabral of Steve Contursi,
Rare Coin Wholesalers) of the mysterious 1878 7TF Rev ’79 Proof Only
issue of VAM 215.

Record prices for the last quarter were discussed for numerous Top
100 varieties. Morgan dollar Ultra Rarities, high grade relatively
common Top 100 varieties in PCGS holders, and rare die varieties
in any grade are bringing record prices in a hot Top 100 market.

For further information, please contact Michael S. Fey, Ph.D., at RCI,
P.O. Box 9157, Morris Plains, NJ 07590 or call (973) 252-4000; FAX
(973) 252-0481; E-Mail: Feyms@aol.com Information on Top 100 pricing
can be found in RCI’s quarterly newsletter, Top 100 Insights & Value
Guide at http://www.rcicoins.com

LOOK AT ALL THEM STARS!

Recently, someone sent me a small box full of Morgan dollars for attribution
and encapsulation. One of the coins in the box was a nice 1878-S VAM 35.
It's not on any of the major hit-lists, but it is a very cool variety.
The left stars on the VAM 35 are, for lack of better terms, n-tupled.
The best example of this can be found on the 6th left star, which, is
either septupled or octupled!

http://varslab/78sv35.jpg

Other than being fun to look at, this variety illustrates what it could
take to get an acceptable die. This one had to be impressed by the hub
what appears to be eight times before it was accepted!

The Top 100 list has a couple varieties with star "pile-ups" approaching
this, the rarest of which is the 1883 VAM 10 with sextupled stars. One
that is easier to find is the 1900 VAM 24, with quintupled stars and doubled
reverse. There are other somewhat anonymous varieties out there with
"5+-tupling" of the obverse stars. The 2005 VAM supplement even shows a
new one -- 1879-S VAM 61 -- with sextupled stars.

There are other interesting VAMs in the catalog hiding beyond the reach
of the most widely collected lists. I'd like to include what you think
about some of these in future issues of the VAM-E, so please send me
information and/or pictures of your favorite "stealth VAMs."

VAM-E WANT LIST

** From Rob Joyce:

I picked up a 1900 O/CC VAM-7 from the VAM-E advertisement. Thanks!

** If anyone's looking for a particular coin, let me know and I'll
put a wanted notice here (no "For Sale" listings). I'll keep
them up for a while or until you tell me to take it down.

Wanted to buy: Top 50 Peace dollar VAMs in MS64 or better. Contact
Steve Bandovich at ksbandovich@msn.com

Jack Lee is looking for an early die state 1887 VAM 1A (Donkey Tail)
for study or purchase. Contact Jack at jlee2027@yahoo.com

Wanted to buy: Any 1921-D VAMs inthe 1AA through 1AZ series, XF or
better. Contact Greg Gantzert at ggantz1@msn.com.

1878 7TF VAMs 123, 130A, 132. Also a VAM 131 with the
spike above the eyelid. I'd prefer the VAMs 131 with spike
and 132, and 196 in MS 60-63. Contact Clayton Christiansen,
clchrist1@aol.com

1922-D VAM 4 and 1923 VAM 1E wanted to complete a Top 50 Peace
dollar set. Contact Mike Faraone, mfaraone@hotmail.com

Logan McKechnie has the following want list: 1878 8TF VAMs 14.7,
14.11, 14.12, 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 7TF VAMs 229, 230.3.
7/8TF VAM 44A; 1878-S VAM 60, 72; 1887 VAM 1B, 1889 VAM 23A,
Contact Logan McKechnie, lmckech@aol.com

Peace dollars wanted to buy outright or in trade: 1922-D VAMs 2I (AU+),
2T, 2U, 1922-S VAM 6, 1922-S Rev. rim cud into UNI, 1923 VAM 1Q,
1923-D VAMs 1I, 1L, 1U, 1AD, 1923-S VAM 1o pitted die above 23,
1923-S VAM 3A die break bun, 1924 VAM 1I, 1927-S VAM 1A. Contact
David Close, close_d@bellsouth.net

1886-O VAM-1A, E-Reverse, PCGS AU-58 wanted. Two birds with one
stone! I realize this VAM is unattributed by PCGS, but I would like
an example just to own and also to include in my Registry Set.
Contact Bud Sprink, Reg59thtn@aol.com.

Rob Joyce is looking looking for a 1921-P VAM-3U (Pierced Neck
Die gouge), VAM-40A (Denticle impressions below tailfeathers),
Missing letter filled dies on 1921-P, D and S coins, Thorn Head
series coins VAMs 1B2 and 1B7 (http://www.rjrc.com/vams/1921_s_vam_1b.htm)
and 1878-S Long Nock VAMs 60, 62, 72. Contact Rob Joyce, rob@rjrc.com

-------------------------=======######=======-------------------------
This newsletter is copyright 2005, SSDC. It is intended to facilitate
the sharing of information that may be of interest to SSDC collectors.
Proposed postings may be edited for length or content. Nothing that
is considered personally inflammatory, overly commercial in nature,
or in poor taste will be posted. An e-mail exchange may be submitted,
but permission from all participants in the exchange must be granted
before it will be printed.

To submit items for publication, e-mail address changes, or unsubscribe
requests, send them to me at vam-e@varslab.com.

SSDC Officers:
Jeff Oxman, President, jeffssdc@aol.com
Michael Fey, Vice-President, feyms@aol.com
Ash Harrison, Membership Director, ash@ashmore.com
Michael Fey, Northeast Regional Coordinator, feyms@aol.com
Rob Joyce, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, rob@rjrc.com
Mike Andrew, Southeast Regional Coordinator, mwabeep@aol.com
Eric Justice, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, ehjustice@aol.com (Peace Dollars)
Mark Kimpton, Mid-West Regional Coordinator, mark_kimpton@hotmail.com (Morgan Dollars)
Phil Perdue, Northwest Regional Coordinator, phil@perduenumismatics.com
Brent Fogelberg, Southwest Regional Coordinator, fogie@infomagic.net
John Baumgart, Internet Regional Coordinator, ssdc@varslab.com

VAM Updates:
Information for ordering VAM updates from Leroy Van Allen available here:
http://www.ashmore.com/vamupdate/vamupdatecosts.htm

Mailing Address: SSDC, P.O. Box 42112, Greensboro, NC 27425
Membership in the SSDC is $19.95/year
Benefits include consultation, collaboration, SSDC Journal,
SSDC Reports, VAM-E e-mail
Web Site: vamlink.com
 

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