December 2015 - Welcome


During November we spent time absorbing another group of coins from VSS and added another 30 coins to the web site.  There were six coins requiring additional analysis and those coins are off for opinion by LVA.


We know that there is some debate about the existence of clashed denticles, but two of the coins we sent to LVA sure looked like they were possibilities.


During late November we did a major rewrite of portions of the web site including the navigation.  We also reviewed a number of behind the scenes items and made technical changes that will make maintenance a little easier.


The web site has now grown to include almost 3,200 coin images of various sizes and details.  The bulk of these are full coin images, but there are many additional images for VAMs and toned coins.


New Toned Coins

Included in the new coin images are several nicely toned coins.  We are working on the analysis of these, so there are a few gaps in the analysis, but all the coin images are there.  If you like toned coins take a look.




Two of the coins have the distinct shape that goes with end roll coins where the flaps from the roll are squared off or otherwise shaped as a the roll was closed in.



The 1881-O Market

Market Pricing

According to PCGS there was very little movement in the prices for the 1881-O series in the month of November.  We could find only 2 changes and these were for the MS60PL and MS60DMPL, but there are so few of these that it is almost irrelevant


There has also been little movement in the total value of all PCGS graded 1881-O Morgans.  In January the total value was $4,008,908, and at the end of November that value had grown to only $4,124,803.



Through the end of November, PCGS certified 921 new 1881-O Morgan Dollars during 2015.  The highest percentage change was in coins certified below AU grades at 27%, but we know that was us certifying coins for our grading set and it is an anomaly that will not continue.


In AU grades the number of certified coins increased by only 105, but a 8% increase none the less, and we did not grade many of those.


The largest percentage of new coins graded this year is in the MS, PL, and DMPL grouping with an additional 801 coins now hitting the market for collectors.  This is a 5% increase, but the law of large numbers is at play.  The most active grade is always MS 63 where there were a fresh 369 base coins graded.


In the key area above MS64 there were some new coins.  There were 3 new MS65 in November and 3 new MS65+.


VAM 1D - Pummeled Eye

As our collection has grown the span of grades for each VAM has also grown.  This gives us the somewhat rare ability to compare how a VAM looks as it wears.


For the 1D - Pummeled Eye, or Flaky Eye, we have 8 coins in 6 different grades.  The grades range from Very Fine 35 to Mint State 64, with duplicates in grade AU55.


As coins wear, identification of VAM characteristics can increase in difficulty as key features wear or become obscured with dirt.  But we have not found this to be true with the VAM 1D because the key identifying feature is in the recess of the eye and the lower area of the nose.


These first two images compare an MS64 VAM 1D to a MS 63 VAM 1.  With the VAM 1 it is obvious how the eye was designed and how it should look.




     This is a Mint State 63 coin, PCGS 28488723 and at this state there is little change from the Mint State 64.  The fine lines at the bottom of the lower lid are gone in this example.  On this specific coin there are some additional bag marks around the eye, but obviously not a VAM feature.


     At Almost Uncirculated 55 things start to change a little.  The indention on the eyeball is starting to flatten a little.  But interestingly the detail in front of the eyeball to the nose bridge is largely intact.  However, the detail in this area looks a little smoother indicating wear.  This is coin PCGS 20310520.


      At Almost Uncirculated 53 the coin is taking on a smoother look and toward the bridge of the nose the metal flakes are starting to wear.  The remainder of the flakes are smoother and the cheek is losing some detail.  This is PCGS 26746239.


     Down to grade Extra Fine 45 other damage and wear to the coin are starting to detract from the ability to identify the eye features.  Much of the detail still visible at AU 53 are gone.  A good wear indicator is the curl at the brow that is almost flattened.  This coin is PCGS 24392368.


    And finally at our lowest grade it takes more knowledge to find the VAM marker.  The hollow in the eyeball is still identifiable as well as the flakes closest to the eyeball.  Toward the bridge of the nose almost all the detail is gone or obscured by wear.  It is also obvious that at this grade you are looking at a well worn and scared coin.  This coin is PCGS 26287173.