March 2016 - Welcome
Our Total Collection
Coins by Grade
Coins by VAM
The Aging VAM 1D
Devolving VAM 5
1881 The Mint & NO
One and Done
Two and Through
Click on year to expand
There is always something going on in our world of the 1881-O and this month will be no exception. Our on-line inventory is 400 coins, and in March we will increase that by another 40 when our latest images arrive from VSS.
Included in the group coming from VSS is a VAM 33, our first and we will add those images to the web site. The addition of the VAM 33 brings our total search to about 83% of identified varieties. Full coin images are missing from the VAMworld web site and we will add them there.
We are sending a fresh five coins to LVA this month. Two are just for clarification, but the others are potential new varieties.
In February we received clarification from LVA on a coin we sent for analysis. The coin proved to be a VAM 51, which was missing from our inventory.
We also got back one that proved to be a VAM 26A. But the review of these coins produced revisions to the descriptions for VAMs 26 and 38.
The 1881-O Market
Earlier in February, David Hall had a video on the PCGS web site discussing coin prices. His conclusion was that coin prices have been soft for a couple of years now, but that if you are a long term investor this is a buying opportunity.
We have seen little movement in pricing below MS64. On a few occasions we have had to pay up slightly for an MS62 or MS63 when bidders recognize the VAM or nice color is present.
But we can see the softness in the market. MS64 coins have been steady at around $195 for the past year, and then suddenly last month we found them dropping down as low as $160. There was an MS65+ floating around for about $3,200 when all the others are at or above $4,000.
But to shake things up a bit, there is an MS66 out there for $9,900 when this coin would normally sell closer to $15,000. It is not the best MS66 we have seen, and might truly be an MS65+ or MS65. But it has the label and pedigree and we were tempted to sell the dog and get it. But so far our dog is winning out.
Studying Hair for Fun and Profit
For right now we are done with hair alteration discussions, but we will add to that information as more is known and new VAMs are acquired. The work proved to be more than a little interesting and also valuable for our collection.
We check eBay daily for coins of interest and really did not plan to buy this coin until we spotted something from our study. We have spotted only one VAM with the second, or lower, curl polished so much that it is broken in several places.
That VAM is 5, the "Doubled 1s, O/O" variety which is a "Hit List 40" VAM. When the coin arrived it is in fact a VAM 5 and without our little look into the hair curls we would not have spotted this one.
Adding to that score was the seller's desire to get rid of the coin and it was selling at a pretty good discount to the normal MS64DMPL price. So we picked up this valuable coin at a discount. It ties the best certified by PCGS.
So study your coin's hair, it can be worth more than a haircut. Rare VAMs can have unique hair qualities.
We recently started a conversation on polishing variations in the wings on different dies. We will get back to this topic this month, but it will come after we add our latest VSS images to the web site.
Check back for updates to this discussion, it should prove as interesting as the one on hair.
New Toned Coins
Toned coins are always of interest to us because they are so unpredictable and offer some opportunity for speculation as to origin. These coins are from our latest VSS submission and as usual the quality of the images is great.
We select coins out of interest, but also coins that we think add educational value.