1891-O Morgan dollar has several major varieties to search for including VAM-20

About VAMS column from the March 23, 2015, issue of Coin World
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 03/05/15
Text Size

The 1891-O Morgan dollar has several major varieties that specialists routinely search for. The VAM-20 dollar was first reported in 2009 and formally described and published in New VAM Varieties of Morgan Dollars by Leroy Van Allen.

The variety’s obverse is instantly recognizable by its repunched date with an unusually strong shift. While all four digits show signs of secondary images, the remnants inside the upper loop of the 8 are by far the most dramatic.

The traces of the errant date punch are higher and slightly further left than the primary date. It took several blows to sink the date to its desired depth. In this period, the die shop had both four-digit gang punches and single digits for touch up work.

Since all four secondary images are in a similar alignment, it’s safe to assume this was from the full date punch. 

The reverse die was used earlier in the VAM-14/14A marriage. This particular reverse is listed as a minor doubled die, most evident inside the top of the wreath bow.

During production, a significant offset clashing episode occurred. The outline of the bottom edge of Liberty’s portrait can be seen winding its way through the letters of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.

Additionally, the clashed reflection of Morgan’s initial can be found directly below the D of GOD. If the dies were normally aligned when they clashed, these images would be at least 2 millimeters higher and clearly above the motto. The VAM-20 coin highlights the later use of this reverse, as the odd clashing is on that side only. 

The VAM-20 1891-O dollar has yet to capture widespread attention and only a few examples have been found since its 2009 discovery. A firm trading history has yet to be established.

I’d estimate its retail value to be roughly equivalent to its counterpart, the VAM-14A dollar.

More from CoinWorld.com:

Australian gold prospector unearths 87-ounce nugget worth more than $100,000 in U.S. dollars

Britain's Royal Mint unveils fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II:

How much gold and silver has the U.S. Mint sold so far in 2015? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Bank of Canada says not illegal to 'Spock' its $5 notes in homage to the late actor

Scottish token honors independence hero William Wallace

Please  sign in  or  join  to share your thoughts on this story.

Keep up with all of CoinWorld.com's news and insights by  signing up for our free eNewsletters liking us on Facebook , and  following us on Twitter . We're also on  Instagram !

You are signed in as:null

Please sign in or join to share your thoughts on this story

No comments yet