Obverse Dies

Dies

As straightforward as the discussion on hubs might be, dies are the opposite.  The variations in dies can be thought of as deviations from the norm, starting with the original coin image and fanning out every time there is a discernible difference from the original intended form.  And then for more fun there are deviation from the original deviant.

 

For every coin there is obviously an obverse and reverse die that come together to stamp out a coin.  So you can have either a normal die, or a "deviant" die for each.

 

It is ultimately the combination of the dies that produce VAMs.  But the further delineation comes from deviations within a die, or die pair from the intended strike.

 

Rarity of an issue is definitely defined by the frequency of the appearance of coins with these combinations, and the experience of dedicated collectors.

 

The list on the right groups recognized VAMs by obverse die, which helps understand the designation system and differences in VAMs.  You can click on the VAMs or dies to see more detail.  What can be confusing is that the descriptive names are not the full description of the coin variances.

 

Obverse Dies

For collectors of VAMs the obverse die is delineated by a number.  Since all 1881-O coins are struck using the III hub, and a sub hub designation of 2, then the designation for the hub combination is III2.

 

When you introduce the die into the designation you will see designations like III2-2.  There are 40 different dies that have been identified for the obverse of the 1881-O.

 

But the investigation into 1881-O dies can go much deeper.  According to information in the appendix of "The Comprehensive U. S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia" there were 119 dies produced for use in the New Orleans Mint.  Not all dies were different, but the possibility for further discoveries seems highly likely.

 

As the list on the right shows, collectors have already identified 52 different obverse dies for the 1881-O.  The bulk of these are die 1, which shows up in 29 different VAMs.  The die has been found in combination with 14 different reverse dies.  No other obverse die even comes close to these figures.

 

Obv Die

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

3

3

4

4

5

6

7

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

13

14

15

15

15

16

17

17

18

19

20

21

22

22

22

23

23

23

24

25

25

26

27

28

29

29

30

31

32

32

33

34

35

35

37

38

39

40

41

42

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

Rev Die

a

a

a

a

a

a

a

a

a

a

a

a

b

b

b

d

d

e

f

j

i

h

m

n

n

n

o

q

r

n

r

l

a

c

g

k

h

a

a

p

a

a

a

a

a

d

a

a

a

a

p

a

a

l

a

n

a

l

a

a

a

a

a

l

l

o

o

a

a

a

a

a

e

g

a

a

a

a

l

a

l

l

a

s

d

l

a

a

s

d

i

l

p

a

a

a

s

VAMs Sorted by Obverse Die

1 - Normal Die

1A - Spike in 8

1B1 - Die Gouge in DOLLAR, Denticle Impressions

1B2 - Die Gouge in DOLLAR, clashed obverse n & st

1D - Pummeled or Flaky Eye

1E - Pitted Ear

1F - Pitted Obverse Right Field and Eagle

1G - Die Gouges Inner Wing #1

1H - Die Gouges Inner Wing #2

1I - Clashed Obverse n and st

1J - Clashed Obverse n and st

1K - Clashed Obverse n and st

2 - O/O Low

2A - O/O Low, Spike in 8

2B - O/O Low, Pitted NE-D

6 - O Tilted Left

6A - Spike in 8, O Tilted Left

7 - O Set High

8 - O Tilted Right

12 - O/O Lower Right

11 - Spike in 8, O/O Left

21 - O/O Top Right

25 - O/O Right

37 - Doubled Reverse Legend and Motto

37A - Doubled Reverse Legend and Motto, Clashed n and st

37B - Doubled Reverse Legend, Beveled Field STAT and AM

38 - Triple Left Wreath, Doubled Reverse Legend

44 - Doubled Reverse Legend and Wreaths

48 - O/O Lines

59 - Doubled Reverse Legend and Motto

60 - Doubled OF AMERICA, O/O Left and O Set Left

3 - Doubled 18-1, O Set Left

4 - Doubled 8-1

5 - O/O Right, Doubled 1

9 - Doubled 18, Dot O

13 - Doubled 8, O/O High

10 - O/O Top Right, Tripled/Quadrupled 18-1

14 - Doubled First 8, Die Gouge in DO

15 - Doubled 1

41 - Doubled 1, Tripled Left Wreath, Double Legend

16 - Doubled 1, Overpolished Reverse

17 - Dash Under 8

18 - Doubled 18, Die Gouge in DOL, Denticle Impressions

19 - Doubled 1--1 and Profile

20 - Doubled 18

22 - Doubled 1--1, O Tilted Left

49 - Doubled 1--1, Die Gouge in DOL

24 - Doubled Second 1

26 - Doubled 18

26A - Doubled 18, Clashed Obverse us

51 - Doubled 18, Tripled Left Wreath, Doubled Legend

27 - Double Ear

28 - Double Profile

23 - Double Profile, O Set Left

29 - Double 18 and Stars

30 - Doubled 1--1 and Earlobe, Reverse Legend, and Motto

31 - Doubled 18

32 - Doubled 18-1, O Set Left

33 - Doubled Ear Bottom

33A - Doubled Ear, Clashed Obverse n and st, Reverse M

33B - Doubled Ear, Clashed Obverse In and st, Reverse M

34 - Doubled 18

34A - Doubled 18, Pinned Wing

61 - Doubled 18, O Set Left

35 - Doubled 188, O Set Left

36 - Doubled 8-1, O Set Left and Tilted Left

36A - Doubled 8-1, O Set Left and Tilted Left, Clashed n and us

39 - Doubled Phrygian Cap and UNUM

40 - Doubled Ear Inside and Bottom

42 - Doubled Left 8, Die Gouge DO

43 - Doubled Left 8 and Phrygian Cap, Die Gouge DOL

47 - Doubled Left 8 and Phrygian Cap

45 - Doubled Left 1, O Set High

46 - Doubled 18, Dot O

50 - Doubled Ear Bottom

50A - Doubled Ear, Clashed Obverse n and st, Reverse M

52 - Doubled 18-1

53 - Doubled 18

54 - Doubled Right 1 Bottom, O Set Left

66 - Doubled Right 1 Bottom

56 - Doubled Right 1 Lower Right

57 - Doubled Ear Right Inside, O Set Left

58 - Doubled Left 8

62 - Doubled Date, Ear Bottom, and Upper Reverse

63 - Doubled Obverse Stars, O Tilted Left

64 - Doubled 18, Polished Forehead, O Set Left

72 - Doubled 18, Polished Forehead

65 - Doubled 18-1

67 - Doubled 18 and Upper Reverse

68 - Doubled 18, O Tilted Left

69 - Doubled Profile, Cap, and Left 8, O/O Left

70 - Doubled Cap Top, UNUM, O Set Left

71 - Doubled 18-1, Legend, and Left Wreath

73 - Doubled 18, Scratch Eye Front, Wing Top Gouges

74 - Doubled 18

75 - Doubled 1, Tripled 8

76 - Doubled 18 Top