Spiked Eights

The Spiked 8 Varieties of 1881-O

The "Spiked 8" group deserves a lot of attention because it appears so frequently.  The "Spiked 8" versions of the 1881-O became so common that they are not mentioned in the title of most varieties.  A common feature of almost half of the 1881-O VAMs, you can only determine which VAMs have this trait by reading the detailed descriptions.

 

It becomes obvious that such a common trait can help with grouping but can not be the final determinant of variety.  That distinction most often comes from the pairing with a reverse die and some unique feature on the reverse.  It is also helpful to think of the distinctions as layered with either one or two features beyond the Spiked 8.

 

However, in a very few cases a reverse feature can be shared by multiple dies, such as O/O mint marks or a doubled profile.  In at least one VAM it has now been recognized that there are spikes in both 8s.  It is also possible for coins to share features that place them in more than one grouping such as double ear varieties.  These can be both spiked 8 and double ear varieties.

 

VAMworld recognizes ten different groupings and we will describe them in ways that will help identify them visually.  In cases where our collection is lacking examples we will link back to VAMworld to temporarily provide those examples.

 

Clashed Dies

Gouge in DOLLAR

Double Ear

Overpolished Wings

Altered Hair

Spiked 8

Similitudes

The Concept

Single Feature Spiked 8 Varieties                                                            (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 1A - Spiked 8

This is the core or basic Spiked 8 VAM where the only obverse or reverse feature is the spike in the upper loop of the first 8.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 1D - Pummeled or Flaky Eye

While this is technically in this group, the distinguishing feature is the distortion at the front of the eye and on the nose.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die a.

 

 

 

VAM 1H - Die Gouge in Inner Wing #2

The reverse of this VAM is believed to be shared with VAM 34A.  While there are distinguishable gouge marks on the inner wing, there are a lot of other features to look for while identifying this VAM.  With die cracks they could wear away fairly quickly, so the inner wing issues become more important.

 

In addition to the wing gouges, look for a prominent die crack on the cheek that runs from the corner of the mouth all the way down to the lower hair.  Then look for a die crack running vertically through the tip of the nose.

 

This die was clashed and it is believed the clash was polished out leaving only faint traces of the clashing.  There is another less prominent die crack running horizontally above the bow on the reverse.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 15 - Doubled 1

The distinguishing feature of this VAM is the second 1 which is doubled slightly at the top left of the upper crossbar, and as a notch on the lower right side of the vertical shaft.  In these photographs the notch on the vertical shaft is difficult to see, but there.

 

The obverse is die 7, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 20 - Doubled 18

Like many other date doubling VAMs the issue rests with which digits and where they are doubled.  With VAM 20 the first 1 is doubled slightly at the top right of the vertical shaft.  The first 8 is doubled at top and right inside and bottom outside of the lower loop with a die chip at top left inside of upper loop at about 10 o'clock.

 

The obverse is die 12, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 24 - Doubled Second 1

On some occasions multiple die pairs exist for a VAM and that is the case with VAM 24.  In the case of VAM 24 there is a clear indicator of die swapping because with Die 1 the obverse and reverse are not clashed, while on Die 2 shows some signs of clashing.

 

The primary indicator for this VAM is a notch on the left side of the vertical shaft of the last 1.  With Die pair 1 there is a vertical die scratch above the top cotton leaf.

 

The obverse is die 14, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 28 - Doubled Profile

Like VAM 24 there are two die pairs for VAM 28.  The profile doubling is very distinct and shows clearly at the front of the lips like a double set of lips.  The doubling can extend out from there, but it is most distinct at the front of the top lip.

 

Die 1 - The Liberty head profile is slightly doubled from the forehead to the chin. The phrygian cap is weakly doubled at the top edges.  There is a spike in the upper loop of both eights.  There is a die marker of a scratch at the back of the eye at the hair line.

 

Die 2 - Die chip at top left inside of the left 8 upper loop.  There is a die marker of a diagonal die scratch below the right rear of the Phrygian cap.

 

One observation about our collection is that a disproportionate number of DMPL and PL coins are VAM 28s and you can almost always start your VAM identification with DMPL and PL coins with this VAM.

 

The obverse is die 17, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 52 - Doubled 18-1

VAM 52 is differentiated by a doubling of the 18-1 in the date.  The left 1 is slightly doubled at top right; the left 8 at the bottom outside of the lower loop with a short die chip at the top left inside of the upper loop; and the right 1 at the top of the upper crossbar with a slight notch at the lower left of the vertical shaft.

 

The obverse is die 33, and the reverse is die a.

 

 

 

VAM 53 - Doubled 18

VAM 53 has a doubled 18 with the left 1 slightly doubled at the top right, and the left 8 at the top outside, and with a short die chip at the top left inside of the upper loop.

 

As an additional die marker there are a couple of horizontal die polishing lines below the cap fold.

 

On the reverse on later die stages a die crack develops that goes from the left ribbon down across the lower edge of the mint mark.

 

The obverse is die 34, and the reverse is die a.

 

 

 

VAM 65 - Doubled 18-1

VAM 53 has the 18-1 doubled in the date, with the left 1 doubled slightly at the top right.  The left 8 has a flat doubled top outside of the upper loop.  The right 1 is doubled at the lower left of the vertical shaft.  As a die marker there is a fine vertical polishing line on the right side of the upper hair curl

 

On the reverse there are about ten mostly vertical fine line die scratch lines in the eagle's right wing with one on the wing opposite the left wreath top being most prominent.

 

The obverse is die 43, and the reverse is die a.

 

 

 

Spiked 8 with Doubled/Tripled Legend Varieties                                            (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 41 - Doubled 1, Tripled Left Wreath, Doubled Legend

VAM 41 has a doubled second 1 that is doubled slightly at the top left of upper crossbar and has a notch on the lower right side of the vertical shaft.

 

There is a spike in upper loop of first 8 at top left at about 10 o'clock.

 

On the reverse leaves in the left wreath are tripled toward the rim, and the legend is doubled.

 

The obverse is die 7, and the reverse is die p.

 

VAM 44 - Doubled Reverse Legend and Wreaths, Die Scratch in Front of Eye

VAM 44 is primarily distinguished by the doubled Legend and Wreaths on the reverse.

 

The VAM is also identified with a vertical die scratch in front of the eye on the bridge of the nose.  The scratch is often difficult to see in photographs and is best viewed under magnification.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die q.

 

VAM 51 - Doubled 1, Tripled Left Wreath, Doubled Legend

VAM 51 is a clashed die of VAM 26A with partial incuse us at lower right hair vee, but a later die state with double clash lines at the neck.

 

The reverse is not clashed but features the tripled left wreath and doubled legend.

 

The obverse is die 15, and the reverse is die p.

 

Our collection does not include a VAM 51 yet but this link will take you to the VAMworld page for the VAM 51.

VAM 59 - Doubled Reverse Legend and Motto

VAM 59 has the left 8 short die chip at the top left inside of the upper loop.  There are several vertical polishing lines in Y of of LIBERTY

 

There are polishing lines at the top inside of the wreath bow.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die n.

 

 

 

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

VAM 60 has the left 8 short die chip at the top left inside of the upper loop.  There are several vertical polishing lines in Y of of LIBERTY

 

There are polishing lines at the top inside of the wreath bow and a slightly doubled OF AMERICA towards rim. The O mint mark very slightly doubled as shallow bar with curved top at left inside with mint mark set left.  There are fine diagonal polishing lines at eagle's left wing-neck gap.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die r.

 

 

 

VAM 70 - Doubled Cap Top, UNUM, O Set Left

VAM 70 has UNUM doubled as a part of the Legend.  The doubling is toward the bottom of each letter.  In addition the second U in PLURIBUS is doubled.

 

Additionally the mint mark is set left.

 

 

 

Spiked 8 with O Mint Mark Set Left                                                          (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 3 - Doubled 18-1, O Set Left

VAM 3 has the numbers 18-1 doubled in the date. The first 1 has doubled vertical bar on right side. The upper and lower loops of the first 8 are doubled on the left inside and on the surface on right outside. The right 1 has broken doubling diagonally across bottom left side of vertical shaft to center of the base, possibly due to a defective digit punch.

 

The O mint mark is upright but set closer to the D in DOLLAR and the left wreath bow loop.

 

The obverse is die 2, and the reverse is die i.

 

VAM 23 - Doubled Profile, O Set Left

VAM 23 is a generic O Set Left variety with a doubled profile all along the front of Liberty's profile.

 

The O mint mark is upright but set closer to the D in DOLLAR and the left wreath bow loop.  On some later die state examples the right wing is over polished.

 

The obverse is die 17, and the reverse is die i.

 

VAM 35 - Doubled 188, O Set Left

VAM 35 has a doubled 188 in the date. The 1 is doubled below upper crossbar. The first 8 is doubled at the top inside and right outside of the upper loop, and the bottom outside of the lower loop. The second 8 is doubled at the right outside of the upper loop.

 

The O mint mark is centered, upright, and set to the left.  The eagle’s right wing is over polished on some specimens.

 

The obverse is die 24, and the reverse is die l.

 

VAM 54 - Doubled Right 1 Bottom, O Set Left

VAM 54 has the right 1 doubled as a strong notch in the middle of the base bottom.  Both 8's are very slightly doubled at the lower left outside of the upper loop.  The left 8 has a short die spike at the top left inside of the upper loop.  EDS shows raised metal chips below 18 from the master die and on the working hubs in and above denticle spaces.

 

On the reverse there are light polishing lines at the top and bottom inside of the O mint mark which is set left.

 

The obverse is die 35, and the reverse is die i.

 

 

 

VAM 56 - Doubled Right 1 Lower Right, O Set Left

VAM 56 has the right 1 slightly doubled as notch at lower right of vertical shaft.   There is a short diagonal die scratch in front of eyelash.

 

The obverse is die 37, and the reverse is die i.

 

 

 

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

VAM 60 is listed in the section on Doubled Legend and Motto

VAM 64 - Doubled 18, Polished Forehead, O Set Left

VAM 64 has a slightly doubled 18 with the 1 doubled on the lower surface of the upper crossbar, and the left 8 slightly doubled at the top left inside of the upper loop, and bottom outside of the lower loop.  The left 8 has a short die chip at the top inside of the upper loop.

 

The left and right sides of the phrygian cap are slightly doubled at the top.  Liberty's head profile is very slightly doubled from the front of the LIBERTY band, hair front, nose, and lips.

 

There are mostly horizontal die polishing lines on the forehead.

 

The O mint mark is vertical and set slightly left.

 

The obverse is die 42, and the reverse is die l.

 

 

 

VAM 66 - Doubled Right 1 Bottom

VAM 66 has the same obverse as VAM 54

 

The right 1 is doubled as a strong notch in the middle of the base bottom.  Both 8's are very slightly doubled at the lower left outside of the upper loop.  The left 8 has a short die spike at the top left inside of the upper loop.  EDS shows raised metal chips below 18 from the master die and on the working hubs in and above denticle spaces.

 

The O mint mark is vertical and set slightly left.

 

The obverse is die 35, and the reverse is die a.

 

 

 

 

VAM 70 - Doubled Cap Top, UNUM, O Set Left

VAM 70 is listed in the section on Doubled Legend and Motto

Spiked 8 with O Mint Mark Tilted Left                                                      (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 6A - Spike in 8, O Tilted Left

VAM 6A has the single characteristic of the O mint mark being tilted left.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die d.

 

VAM 22 - Doubled 1--1, O Tilted Left

VAM 22 has the first 1 doubled at the top right of the shaft as a notch. The second 1 is doubled at the top of upper crossbar and on the lower left side of the shaft.

 

On the reverse the mint mark is centered and tilted left.

 

The obverse is die 13, and the reverse is die d.

 

VAM 34 - Doubled 18

VAM 34 has the 18 in the date doubled. The 1 is slightly doubled on the left side of vertical shaft.  The first 8 is doubled on the surface of the right outside of the upper loop and the top right inside of the lower loop.

 

The obverse is die 23, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 34A - Doubled 18

VAM 34 has the 18 in the date doubled. The 1 is slightly doubled on the left side of vertical shaft.  The first 8 is doubled on the surface of the right outside of the upper loop and the top right inside of the lower loop.

 

Normal die but with a short die scratch between the eagle's wing and body. There are three small die chips at top of eagle's right wing inner feathers.

 

The obverse is die 23, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 55 - Doubled Right 1 Top and Right Side

VAM 55 has the right 1 slightly doubled at the top, and lower right of the vertical shaft as a notch.  As an additional marker there is a single diagonal polishing line at the bottom of the Y in LIBERTY

 

On the reverse the mint mark is centered and tilted left.

 

The obverse is die 36, and the reverse is die a.

 

 

 

VAM 55A - Doubled Right 1 Top and Right Side, Clashed Obverse n

VAM 55A is the clashed version of VAM 55.  It has the right 1 slightly doubled at the top, and lower right of the vertical shaft as a notch.  There is a clashed obverse n at the front of Liberty's neck.

 

As an additional marker there is a single diagonal polishing line at the bottom of the Y in LIBERTY

 

On the reverse the mint mark is centered and tilted left.

 

The obverse is die 36, and the reverse is die a.

 

 

 

VAM 63 - Doubled Obverse Stars, O Tilted Left

VAM 63 has all the left and right stars are slightly doubled toward the rim.  As a die marker there are fine raised die pitting dots below the ear.

 

 On the reverse the mint mark is centered and tilted left.

 

The obverse is die 41, and the reverse is die d.

 

 

 

Spiked 8, Doubled Profile with O Mint Mark Tilted Left                               (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 19 - Doubled 1--1 and Profile

VAM 19 has both 1s doubled in the date.  The left 1 is strongly doubled below the upper crossbar. The right 1 is faintly double below the upper crossbar.  The first 8 has short die chip at top left inside of upper loop at about 10 o'clock.

 

The profile is slightly doubled from the hair down to the chin, the top of Phrygian cap, and the bottom edge of the hair.

 

The right stars are very slightly doubled/quadrupled .

 

On the reverse there is a patch of random die scratches below God

 

The obverse is die 11, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 23 - Doubled Profile, O Set Left

VAM 23 is listed above in the section on O Tilted Left

Spiked 8, O/O Mint Mark                                                                  (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 2A - O/O Low, Spike in 8

VAM 2A has the requisite short spike at top left inside of upper loop of the first 8 at about 10 o'clock.

 

On the reverse the mint mark is tilted to the left and re-punched with the original showing at the bottom of the opening.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die b.

 

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

VAM 2B has the requisite short spike at top left inside of upper loop of the first 8 at about 10 o'clock.

 

On the reverse the mint mark is tilted to the left and re-punched with the original showing at the bottom of the opening.  Also on the reverse there are raised dots from die rust pitting at NE-D in ONE DOLLAR.

 

On our specimens both the obverse and reverse are clashed with hair from Liberty's neck showing on the lower inside of the eagle's neck as a distinguishing characteristic.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die b.

 

VAM 11 - Spike in 8, O/O Left

VAM 11 has the normal spike in the upper loop of the first 8.

 

On the reverse the mint mark is centered, upright, set slightly to left, and doubled slightly on the left inside as a thin vertical line. There is a slight doubling of TATES OF AMER and top of wreath towards rim

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die i.

 

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

VAM 60 is listed in the section on Doubled Legend and Motto

Spiked 8, Over-Polished Reverse                                                           (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 1J - Over-Polished Reverse

VAM 1J has the normal spike in the upper loop of the first 8.

 

On the reverse the the die is over-polished with roughness outline around eagle, wreaths, and motto letters.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die a.

 

Our collection does not include a VAM 1J yet but this link will take you to the VAMworld page for the VAM 1J.

VAM 16 - Doubled 1, Over-Polished Reverse

VAM 16 has the normal spike in the upper loop of the first 8.  The left 1 is slightly doubled at the bottom of the upper crossbar and at the top right of the vertical shaft.  There is a very slightly doubled profile from hair down to chin.

 

A normal die with over polished die areas with roughness outline around eagle, wreath and In God We Trust motto.

 

The obverse is die 8, and the reverse is die a.

 

Spiked 8, Die Gouge DO and DOL                                                         (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 1B1 - Die Gouge in DOLLAR, Denticle Impressions

VAM 1B1 has no die clash marks or just a single diagonal clash line at the neck, no clashed letters on the obverse.

 

The reverse is also a normal die, but with a long thin die gouge from the D through the O in DOLLAR, with a few faint denticle impressions with spacing of denticles above the gouge.  The denticle impressions were likely worn away quickly.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 1B2 - Die Gouge in DOLLAR, Clashed Obverse n and st

VAM 1B2 has a double diagonal clashed die at the neck, with a partial incuse n of In from reverse next to Liberty head neck, and a partial incuse of st of Trust showing in right hair vee of lower hair edge.

 

The reverse is also a normal die, with a long thin die gouge from the D through the O in DOLLAR, and with faint denticle impressions.

 

The obverse is die 1, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 14 - Doubled First 8, Die Gouge in DO

VAM 14 has the a spike in the upper loop of the first 8.  The first 8 is also doubled on the surface at the bottom right outside of the lower loop.

 

The reverse is a normal die with a doubled die gouge through the DO in DOLLAR, but unlike VAMs 1B1 and 1B2 the gouge sweeps down and not up.

 

The obverse is die 6, and the reverse is die a.

 

VAM 18 - Doubled 18, Die Gouge in DOL

VAM 18 has the first 1 doubled under the left serif.  The first 8 is doubled on the upper inside of lower loop, and has a short spike at top left inside of upper loop at 10 o;clock.

 

The reverse is a normal die but with a long thin die gouge from D through the top of the O over to the L in DOLLAR. The gouge is from the die rim edge, impressed into die. There are denticle impressions, likely wore quickly away on the die leaving only a bold gouge.

 

The obverse is die 10, and the reverse is die a.

 

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

VAM 43 has a slightly doubled top inside and right outside of left 8 lower loop. Spike at top left inside of left 8 upper loop at 10 o'clock.  There is a slightly doubled Phrygian cap top and forehead.

 

The reverse is a normal die with a long thin gouge through the letters DOL in DOLLAR.

 

The obverse is die 29, and the reverse is die a.

 

Our collection does not include a VAM 43 yet but this link will take you to the VAMworld page for the VAM 43.

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

VAM 43 has the first 1 doubled at the right side of the vertical shaft, and the second 1 doubled at the top left of the flag.

 

There is a series of vertical polishing lines below cap ribbon as a die marker.

 

The reverse is a normal die with a long thin gouge through the letters DOL in DOLLAR.

 

The obverse is die 13, and the reverse is die a.

 

Spiked 8, Doubled Ear                                                                      (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 33 - Doubled Ear bottom

VAM 33 has the ear is slightly doubled at the bottom of the earlobe.  There are also two die gouges within the inner ear near the bottom.

 

The reverse is a normal die.

 

The obverse is die 22, and the reverse is die a.

 

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

VAM 33 has the ear is slightly doubled at the bottom of the earlobe.  There is a strong second die clash almost exactly on top of first one strengthening the clashed letters so that In shows next to neck.

 

The reverse is a normal die.

 

The obverse is die 22, and the reverse is die a.

 

 

 

Spiked 8, Dash Under 8                                                                       (Click on the VAM title to go to our specific VAM page)

VAM 17 - Dash Under 8

VAM 17 has a thin dash below the second 8.  The first 8 has a die chip in top left of the upper loop at 10 o'clock.  The "dash" line is believed to be a reference line used to guide the date punch.  It should have been polished out but was missed in this area.

 

The reverse is a normal die.

 

The obverse is die 9, and the reverse is die a.