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What Is A VAM?
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There are several obvious areas to examine on the obverse of any Morgan Dollar to figure out if you have a clashed coin. The first and most obvious is the neck area. Most often the high point of the eagle's right wing will transfer through as a line that is clearly visible. This line can appear slightly higher or lower on the neck depending on the alignment of the dies. But the line can also appear more than once when multiple clashes occur.
The next most visible portion of a clash, and it does not always appear, is the intersection of the left wreath with the lips or chin of the face. This is a nice flat place in the field of the coin and the clash can show clearly if there. Depending on die alignment or rotation the leaf transfer can be higher or lower than depicted here. The right wreath can appear at the back of the hair line for the same reasons.
But to be a true VAM there needs to be a letter transfer along with the other markers. For this look where the motto "In God We Trust" intersects the neckline and lower hair. On the left side the letters "In" will transfer in reverse. To the right side just outside the hairline the letter "t" or "st" will appear. There is nothing easy about detecting the letters. Coin rotation under various light strengths are needed to find them.
Just as with the obverse clashes, there are several obvious areas to examine on the reverse of any Morgan Dollar for signs of clashing.
The first and most obvious is at the top of the right wing where the high point on Liberty's neck would have transferred. This transfer appears as a straight line beginning at the wing and extending straight up toward the motto.
Next are the field areas to the right and left of the eagle's wings where Liberty's profile or phrygian cap will transfer.
Less frequently the "M" initial found at the end of Liberty's hair will transfer, but like checking for obverse letters light and angle are needed to detect the letter.
To see the current list of recognized check our section in "Similitudes" for Clashed VAMs.
To see a larger image of either the obverse or reverse click on either image