Obverse Die 4
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Die 4 appears with only two VAMs, numbers 9 and 13.
When die 4 is paired with reverse die g it produces VAM 9, and when paired with reverse die k it produces VAM 13.
On die 4, the first 8 is slightly doubled at top inside of the upper and lower loops, and strongly doubled at right outside of both loops. The first 1 is slightly doubled at the right side of the vertical shaft. The second 8 has an indentation at to left outside of lower loop.
With VAM 9 both the 1 and 8 are doubled in the date. With VAM 13 the same numerals are doubled even though only the 8 is mentioned in the VAM description. VAM 13 is more easily distinguished by its reverse O/O, and VAM 9 by its lack of the O/O feature.
(You can see the coins in our collection by clicking on the VAM link below.)
VAMs Featuring Die 4
9 - Doubled 18, Dot O
13 - Doubled 8, O/O High
NOTE - The VAM 9 and 13 associations are under review and may or may not prove to be correct.
Obverse Die 4, VAM 9
Obverse Die 4, VAM 13
Obverse Die 4 is found on two VAMs, 9 and 13. It is most often distinguished by the doubling of the 18 in the date. Even though VAM 13 only lists the doubling of the first 8, they are the same.
We have a lot of material to work with here. With VAM 9 we have 11 Mint State coins, and with VAM 13 we have another 5. But which came first, VAM 9 or VAM 13? Or were the two interspersed with the die being used intermittently on both? We will first examine them in VAM order just to keep them separated.
Of the 11 Mint State coins we have for VAM 9 none of them exhibit any die cracks except for a very faint crack at the base of the bust toward the first 1 in the date. This faint crack or indicator of a crack to come, is not seen on all coins.
With VAM 13 we have coins with no die cracks, and coins with die cracks. Coins without die cracks would include 33971950. Once the die began to fail it seems to have failed in many places around to the perimeter of the die.
These images are from coin 28597078 a VAM 13, and show the cracks in the various quadrants.
Our conclusion is that Die 4 was used in production first with Reverse Die g to produce VAM 9. Then it was paired with Reverse Die k to produce VAM 13. Obverse Die 4 shows no signs of polishing between the use, so the swap may have been as simple as the end of the day or the end of a production run, and the operator using a different die to continue.
There is very little evidence of die fatigue on VAM 9, but the fatigue began to show on VAM 13 as the cracks appeared.
This image is from coin 26506499 an Mint State 62, VAM 9 coin. The doubling in this photograph are not as clear as on the coin, but the notch in the second 8 is clearly visible.
This image is from coin 25171156, an Mint State 63, VAM 13 coin. The doubling matches that of the VAM 9 above.