November 2016 - Welcome

Study Images5443Study Images
VAMs in Collection78VAMs in Collection


New Missing VAMs Page

VAM 33B Located

Last month we finished up raw coins for a bulk submission by VSS to PCGS.  So some time late in the year or early in 2017 we will have another 100 in the pipeline for analysis.


Since this is the most cost efficient method of processing coins for grading we have started another group to follow this one some time next year.


Our previous submission to VSS of 80 coins is back and we had one coin that was forwarded to LVA for his opinion.  It came back as the new VAM 70 - Doubled Cap Top, UNUM, O Set Left.  This is our nineteenth discovery (20 if you count the implied 55) and keeps us looking for more.

Images for all 80 coins back from VSS are now up on the web site, bringing our total inventory to around 540 coins.  Our study images are just over 5,400 and grow almost daily.


There are 91 VAMs listed on VAMworld for the 1881-O and we have located 79 of them, and for almost all have multiple grades.  So we are 87% (well actually 86.813186%) of the way to a complete set.

An additional VAM project is expanding our VAM 5 inventory to study how the VAM 5 looks at much lower grades.  We started searching for the lower grade coins last month and have already located a few.  Currently we go no lower than AU 58 and we are sure that there are many lower graded coins out there to find.

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.

Toned Coin Additions

This latest batch of images from VSS had some great toned coins in the group.  Those have been added to the Toned Coin Section of the web site and if you like toned coins this is a nice little grouping.

If you collect toned coins you know they come in all flavors and have unusual beauty.

If you have not checked that section there are some nice additions and worth a few minutes to look and read our analysis.


Because our acquisitions are often limited to Internet shopping we have devised some different methodologies for locating and acquiring coins of interest.  Without having a coin in hand knowing the exact die, and therefore VAM, is almost impossible.  The type images needed are rarely provided by Internet sellers, and most would not take the time to check the VAM.


So we added a page to the web site describing the twelve VAMs we are missing and how we plan to search for them.  At a very high level, there are features that photograph reasonably well on any coin.  If you can identify which of these features show up on which dies you can at least come close to what you need.

This is much like throwing hand grenades and hoping for a kill, but it at least will get you in the range.


Is the methodology perfect?  No!  But our study also involves broad ranges of grades for every VAM, so we can use just about any coin for one side or the other of our work.


A clear example of our methodology is exhibited in VAM 21.  This VAM shares a reverse with VAM 10, but without the date doubling/tripling on the obverse.  The reverse of most coins photograph better than the obverse.


So we picked out seven characteristics of the reverse of VAM 10 (die h) that if they exist on the coin in question you have a reasonably good chance you have this die.  All of these traits photograph well.  Since dates rarely photograph well you cannot be sure you have the elusive VAM 21, but you probably have either a 10 or a 21.

This may result in our having an abundance of VAM 10 coins, but for us that is not as problem because they just become a part of the grading set.


This is more of a shotgun than rifle approach to finding these, but they are so elusive that we don't know of another way to find them.


Last month we located and had confirmed by VSS our first VAM 33B.  In addition to just filling in a hole in the list of VAMs this is one of the WOW VAMs and makes a nice addition to the collection for its clash characteristics


The VAM 33B has a lot of great features, but the most notable is the strong neck clash.

Coupled with the clash at the lips this makes this one easy to recognize, but very difficult to find.

Our coin is an MS 62, PCGS number 33582020 and can be viewed in more detail by clicking here.


VAM 1D Study Continues

We believe that we have located a very early state of the VAM 1D Pummeled "Flaky" Eye.  Although we want some additional confirmation from VSS, the coin has all the trade marks of the right VAM.


If we are right then the deterioration of the area just above the eyelash is just beginning to cave in, and the "spider veins" across the eye and nose are also just beginning.

Although we will wait on final confirmation from VSS and PCGS we think this is a bit of a coup in learning how the Flaky Eye evolved.

In July we found a similar proof like coin without the usual deterioration, and this new coin can potentially be either proof like or deep mirror proof like.