December 2021 - Welcome

Coins1052Coins
Images10718Images
VAMs97VAMs
Discoveries25Discoveries
17

Welcome

New Toned Coins

More New Toned Coins

We continue to cross reference all our links both internal and external to the site.  This is a long and laborious process, but one we need to do continuously.

Feedback from John

We still have one coin to submit to John for evaluation (VAMs 77, 77A) , and while he and others have already expressed some doubt about this one we want to spend some time under a scope to make our case either way.

Checking Connections

Our web site has thousands of connections that need to be tested, updated, improved.  Even though we will not mention them here unless they are significant, we will be working on these behind the scenes for months.

 

If you find a dead link let us know please.

Die Fingerprints

By my count we are down to identification of the die cracks on just eleven VAMs in the 1881-O series.

1 - Normal Dies

1A - Spike in 8

28 - Doubled Profile (28.1, 28.2, 28.3)

34 - Doubled 18

50 - Doubled Ear Bottom

50A - Doubled Ear Bottom Clashed Obverse n & st Reverse M

73 - Doubled 18, Scratch Eye Front, Wing Top Gouges

74 - Doubled 18

79 - Doubled Left 8, Notched Right 1

80 - Slightly Doubled Liberty Head Profile & Cap Top

81 - Doubled Right 8, Cap Top, Profile, UNUM, Pitted Reverse

 

Setting aside VAMs 1 and 1A for later discussion this leaves just nine to analyze. (eleven counting the three VAM 28 variations)

 

Looking back this has been a three year project and one I am ready to draw to a close, only because I have other areas to explore.

Last month I decided to check out on eBay for toned coins and I guess I hit it just right.  For some reason there were a lot of toned 1881-O's listed and a number of them were bargains.  Here is what I found.  Click on any image for a larger one.

 

PCGS 41418118   VAM 53  MS64+

 

PCGS 84127940   VAM 27   MS64+

 

PCGS 42938181   VAM 30   MS62

 

PCGS 81450121   VAM?   MS62

 

PCGS 42699397   VAM 5   MS63

PCGS 24944369   VAM 6   MS62

 

PCGS 30730203   VAM 26A   MS64

 

More New Coins

PCGS 39179064   VAM 18   MS61

Mint Supervisors

Now that a great deal of the die fingerprint work is behind me I plan to return to the study of the Mint Supervisors in New Orleans.  We stopped this study with the onset of the Civil War, so time to get back to that look into time.

 

1837 - 1839 David M. Bradford

1839 - 1850 Joseph M. Kennedy

1850 - 1852 Robert M. McAlpin

1853 - 1857 Charles F. Bienvenu

1857 - 1861 William Augustus Elmore

 

Next up is, well it all depends......

Die Fingerprints

VAM 28 - Doubled Profile

VAM 34 - Doubled 18

VAM 74 - Doubled 18

Several years back the Double Profile VAM 28 was separated into three groupings based on physical die characteristics.

The VAM is a pairing of Obverse Die 17 with Reverse Die a.  Obverse Die 17 is associated with VAMs 28. and 23 and both have the descriptor of a "doubled profile."  Over the years three different versions of VAM 28 were identified and these are designated as 28.1, 28.2, and 28.3.

 

This VAM is not easy and it takes some analysis to distinguish the dies used for classification.  As of this writing in December of 2021 we have two examples of Die 1, five examples of Die 2, and fifty-five examples of Die 3.  Even though dies 2 and 3 were identified later, once Leroy made the designations and we went back through all our coins most fell into the Die 3 category.  However, to do this analysis we felt like we needed to go back through all 62 coins to verify the die designation.

 

DIE 1 Fingerprints

The dominant features of Die 1 are profile doubling and small die chips in the upper loop of both 8's at about ten o'clock, and a die chip behind the eye at the hair line.

29923226   Mint State 61

 

We only have two examples of VAM 28.1.  One is DMPL and the other has fields that would indicate recent polishing as they are reflective and free of any die cracks.

 

Die 2 Fingerprints

The dominant features of Die 2 are profile doubling and a small die chip in the upper loop of the first 8 only at about ten o'clock, and a diagonal die scratch below right rear of Phrygian Cap.

37579836   Mint State 62

 

We have five examples of VAM 28.2, but only two in Mint State.  None of the five show any die cracks on the obverse or reverse.

 

Die 3 Fingerprints

Tiny die chip at top left inside of left 8 upper loop, and a single diagonal polishing line at right side of R in LIBERTY.  Die 3 coins are often higher graded coins and forty-four of our fifty-five examples are either PL or DMPL.

26203551   Mint State 64+ DMPL

 

We have fifty-five examples of VAM 28.3, so this might be the most plentiful of all the 1881-O VAMs.  Most examples are either PL or DMPL and as might be expected they show no signs of die cracks or breaks.

 

VAM 34 is either elusive, rare, or has been superseded by later discoveries.  We have only one lonely coin, and it is an AU50, so not a great study coin for die cracks and breaks.

 

However, VAM 34A, the Pinned Wing variety, shows no die cracks and we have 18 of those.  So we might reasonably assume that higher grade VAM 34 coins would also show no die cracks or breaks.

28502825   Almost Uncirculated 50

VAM 50 - Doubled Ear Bottom

VAM 50 is about in the middle on rarity.  We have 10 examples ranging in grade from Fine 15 to Mint State 63 DMPL.  However, only three of these coins are in mint state and one is PL and the other DMPL.

 

Examining all the coins from grade AU 58 or better, none show any signs of die cracks or breaks.

83947765   Mint State 63

VAM 50A - Doubled Ear Bottom Clashed Obverse n & st Reverse M

VAM 50A is notable for the length of the description if noting else.  The clashed version of VAM 50, it too shows no signs of die cracks or breaks.

 

For a clashed variety, VAM 50A has proven to be plentiful and as of this date we have 27 examples for examination.  Of those eight are Mint State, so we have a lot of material to work with.

33465346   Mint State 64

 

VAM 73 - Doubled 18, Scratch Eye Front, Wing Top Gouges

VAM 73 has proven to be difficult to locate and we only have one example of the VAM to study.  This coin is an AU58 but so close to Mint State that we feel sure any die cracks or breaks would be visible.

 

We can find no die cracks or breaks on either side of the coin.

84161425   Almost Uncirculated 58

VAM 74 is one of our discovery VAMs and is a pairing of Obverse Die 50 with Reverse Die a.  As of December 2021 we have only two examples of VAM 74 a Mint State 61 that is heavily toned and an Almost Uncirculated 53.

 

Neither coin shows no evidence of die cracks or breaks, and this is significant because toned coins often reveal faint cracks almost as if the color "catches" in the crack.

84236046   Mint State 61

VAM 79 - Doubled Left 8, Notched Right 1

VAM 79 is another of our discovery VAMs and is a pairing of Obverse Die 54 with Reverse Die a.  As of December 2021 we have only one example of VAM 79 an Almost Uncirculated 55.

 

The obverse of the coin is free of any die cracks, but the reverse has many cracks even though at this grade they often disappear.  The pattern on the reverse for the die cracks does not match up with any other VAM at this point.

 

35253626   Almost Uncirculated 55

VAM 80 - Slightly Doubled Liberty Head Profile & Cap Top

VAM 80 is another of our discovery VAMs and is a pairing of Obverse Die 55 with Reverse Die a.  As of December 2021 we have only one example of VAM 80 an Mint State 63+.

 

Both the obverse and reverse of the coin are free of any die cracks.

 

 

 

27802989   Mint State 63+

VAM-81 Doubled Right 8, Cap Top, Profile, UNUM, Pitted Reverse

VAM 81 is another of our discovery VAMs and is a pairing of Obverse Die 56 with Reverse Die a.  As of December 2021 we have two examples of VAM 81, but both are worn just enough to have obscured any die cracks.  One coin is an AU 53 and the other an XF40.  Perhaps when other examples materialize we will find higher graded coins with remaining die cracks.

 

But for now both the obverse and reverse of the coin are free of any die cracks.

28286431   Almost Uncirculated 53