July and August 2021 - Welcome



New Coins

A Cipher Just for Fun

This month we are taking as break from the research into the lives of the Mint Supervisors to address a large number of coins recently received back from VSS and Leroy Van Allen.

LVA Submissions

We received the first fourteen coins back from Leroy and he has provided a number of changes to VAM descriptions, some VAM removals, and just some good clarification to existing VAMs.  This will lay some good foundation to our effort to clean up the VAM listings for the 1881-O.


Leroy still has a large batch of coins that he is evaluating for us and hopefully we will get those back later in the month.


VSS Submissions

We also received twenty-six coins back from VSS and these have been added to the inventory.  Included in the group are some nice examples of VAM 27 - Double Ear, VAM 5 - O/S, and VAM 1D - Flaky Eye.


Also in this lot are several toned coins and those have also been added to the web site.


Die Issues Listed on VAMworld


The Issues listed on VAMworld are shown here, and Leroy's response in his letter of July 22, 2021 are shown in blue.


VAM 50 - Same die pairing as VAM 75 just a different die state.

Obverse III232 - Slightly doubled 1 at top of vertical shaft and left 8 tripled at top inside of upper loop that disappears on LDS.  Die Marker - Diagonal die polishing lines inside ear.  Diagonal line at nose edge in front of eye.  Long polishing line at top of T in LIBERTY.


Reverse C3a - Die Marker - Single short horizontal polishing line right side of horizontal feathers in upper TF.



Obverse III232 - Clashed die with partial incuse In next to Liberty head neck and partial incuse st of Trust from reverse showing in right hair vee of lower hair edge.


Reverse C3a - Clashed die with raised designer's initial M from obverse showing above od in God.


VAM 75 - Deleted, EDS of VAM 50

VAM 56 - has the same die markers as VAM 58.  This may be the obverse die used on what is identified as VAM 1A.

Expanded the description of VAM 56 and deleted VAM 58.


VAM 58 - Same markers as VAM 56. Should be eliminated.

VAM is deleted and merged with VAM 56.

VAM 57 - May be a duplicate of VAM 15.

This is not a duplicate of VAM 15

Has doubled ear right inside and O mint mark set left.  Added slightly doubled 1 top to the description.  Middle of eagle's right wing over polished.  Slight roughness at the base of the I in LIBERTY.  Just a few lines in LIBERTY.  II O mint mark set slightly left.  No roughness between 2 & 3 tail feathers.

VAM 62 - Duplicate listings, see VAM 62 and VAM 63.  VAM 62 shares the exact obverse as VAM 49.

Expanded the description - All left and right stars doubled toward the rim.


VAM 63 - Duplicate listings, see VAMs 62, 63, 67, and 76.

Eliminated, the same dies as VAM 62.

VAM 67 - Earlier die state of VAM 62, duplicate listing see VAM 76

VAMs 62 and 67 are not the same.  VAM 67 has the doubled 18 but not the 81 of VAM 62.  No doubled ear or stars.  Die marker of line rear of eye.  Nothing besides doubled 18 matches VAM 62 coin obverse.  Same reverse of VAM 62 as listed.

VAM 71 - Shares the reverse die with VAM 15 and the obverse die of VAM 65.

Has C3p reverse of VAM 38 with tripled left wreath, doubled legend and O tilted left.  VAM 15 coin doesn't have listing with any of these features.  VAM 71 obverse III248 has same description and photos as VAM 65 obverse III243.  Revised VAM 71 to have III243 obverse.

VAM 76 - Deleted and the same as features as VAM 67.

VAM 77 - Appears to be a duplicate of VAM 68.

The rust pitting at the wing-neck gap is different in VAMs 77 and 68.  The VAM 77 obverse of doubled 188 is the same as VAM 35 pictured in the 2005 VAM Supplement.  VAM 68 has doubled 18 pictured in the 2016 VAM Supplement with the same die crack bottom of 188, same dies, revised to III224.


From the list below it will be obvious that these were purchased as coins became available at what I considered to be reasonable prices.  I am a sucker for coins below AU because I think attributable coins in this range are important to understand grading and what VAM features look like at different grades.  Two of the coins are labeled as "California" indicating that they are from the Lloyd Gabbert Collection.

Fair 02

16432707   Not Attributable


Extra Fine 45

11887017   VAM 40

37579837   VAM 20


Almost Uncirculated 53

29526808    VAM 9.1  Toned

35029910     VAM 23


Almost Uncirculated 55

10761079  VAM 27 California

22096484   VAM 27 California

34421149   VAM 50A

37579832   VAM 1D


Almost Uncirculated 58

38100041   VAM 27


Mint State 60

13448524   VAM 68


Mint State 60 PL

27778821   VAM 50


Mint State 61

35253654   VAM 51

36965916   VAM 24.2

39234266   VAM 40  Toned


Mint State 62

29282206   VAM 17

35147115   VAM 53

36946351   VAM 24.1

37579836   VAM 28.2

38100040   VAM 27


Mint State 63

30895796   VAM 32  Toned

35684421   VAM 53

36502440   VAM 25

36801157   VAM 9.1

37345338   VAM 05

37579835   VAM 1D

New Toned Coins

This group of coins includes a number of toned coins ranging from near monster toned to barely toned.

29526808    AU 53    VAM 9.1

39234266   MS 61   VAM 40

30895796   MS 63    VAM 32

So far no one has been able to solve the cypher I posted last month.  So I have decided to up the ante and add another coin for the correct solution.  Our give away now includes an 1880-CC PCGS G04 AND a 1901 PCGS AG03 to the first person who can break this cipher.  (I only have one of each of these, so I cannot do more than one prize.)  I believe the 1880-CC is a VAM 3A.  I have not tried to identify the 1901, but as you know I stick to the 1881-O, so no guarantees.

Full disclosure, the slab for the 1901 is cracked and the winner may want to have it reholdered at their expense.


The cipher is a word cipher based on one of the most famous documents in our Nation's history.  There is no punctuation in the solution, just a series of words that might or might not have a little meaning in the world of VAM's.

Your spelling must be EXACT and the word order EXACT to win.  When you have the solution just message it to me at  VAMworld or my external email address.

I have checked this about ten times, so it should be accurate, but if I (or you) discover an error I will post it here.

The Cipher Is

16  23  148  367  281  346  363  93  90  150  144  169  8  87  1208  398  38  68  217  40  467