October 2016 - Welcome

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VAMs in Collection78VAMs in Collection


New Search and Study Underway

VAM 27 Catches

This month we will finish up raw coins for a bulk submission to PCGS and will have another 100 in the pipeline for analysis.

Our previous submission to VSS of 80 coins is back and we have one coin that has been forwarded to LVA for his opinion.  It appears to us to be something new, but the expert opinion is always needed.


Images will  be back this month and we will get the coins up on the web site for viewing by mid-month.

An additional VAM task will be to expand our VAM 5 inventory to study how the VAM 5 looks at much lower grades.  The challenge will be that we need to buy them all raw because very few graded VAM 5 coins exist below Mint State (at least PCGS graded).


Currently we go no lower than AU 58 and there are much lower graded coins out there to find.

In working to fill in gaps in our VAM inventory we needed a 33B.  We have now located more than one, so some comparison coins are on the way there.  It will be nice to get this one in the inventory since it is the only WOW VAM in the series.

And then there is the elusive VAM 21 which has not been seen in 36 years.  After some study we believe we have a unique marker or two that will help with that search.  However, the markers are shared with other VAMs so we may need to just flood the inventory with these markers to make this one happen.

Rarest of the Rare

Our assault on the grading side of the web site got a real boost in the final days of September.  We secured another Poor-01 coin from Alaska and now hold three of the four PCGS certified coins for comparison and study.

Given the rarity of Poor 01 graded coins we put this trio in the "finding the Holy Grail" category.


Our thanks to Coinman2000!

We made an accidental discovery that others may have been aware of but for us it was a discovery.  While looking for some VAM 1D Flaky Eye coins we happened on an MS62PL coin that just looked a little different.  Because the coin was still frosty we thought some of the "Flaky Eye" characteristics were obscured.

Then we found another one with similar characteristics that was a circulated coin that is raw and needs to be certified.  But all of this points to there being VAM 1D coins available in various states of degradation.

Notice in this coin the damaged area above the eyelash is there, but the lines radiating from the eyeball across the nose are much softer or missing.  We have another example or two with the lines just starting to be formed.


So that now puts us on the track of trying to find VAM 1D coins in various states of deterioration or flux.  This is a possibility that we had not considered before and adds some intrigue to the process.  The VAM 1D is more difficult to spot in on-line auctions, but we are getting better at it and will find more.  One good thing is that most on-line sellers cannot spot them!


This might be a good "chicken and egg" discussion about are the lines coming with die deterioration or are the going with die wear?

Grading Set Catch

When trying to build a complete grading set we are discovering that the plus grades are often the most difficult because they are based on eye appeal.  So we are always on the lookout for plus grade coins to fill those gaps.

PCGS has only graded eleven MS62+ coins, and we have not been able to get one of our raw coins in a holder.  So when this one showed up we grabbed it at a very low price.

This could have been a hole in the grading set for quite a while.

September 29 and 30 were apparently good days to find PCGS VAM 27 coins because we ran across two and grabbed them both.  They are AU 50 coins, so they do not move us up the grading scale, but they were reasonably priced.

Of the two, this one is the most interesting because the "California" designation places this coin in the Lloyd Gabbert collection.  A nice pedigree for a tough VAM.  When the coin arrived it was even nicer than we hoped.  The slightly darker ring around the rim is the remnant of a highly reflective field at some point in the past.  So someone made a pocket coin out of either a PL or DMPL coin!  OUCH!!


The other coin is no slouch, but lacks the pedigree of the first.

But for real analysis of the VAM 27 we need to go up into the MS range and that will happen as soon as we can focus our attention there.


Web Site

It will not be immediately obvious but we are reorganizing some high level portions of the web site.  As the collection has grown access to all sections needs to have a consistent look and feel that we felt was missing.

For the most part it will not be noticed unless you just happen to run into a page here or there, but it is a significant amount of work.  With a major inventory addition this year this is something we needed to do now while we have time.