For the first time in 37 years, a new die marriage has been
discovered for the 1882-CC Morgan dollar. The variety was uncovered as
a direct result of research into the complex progressions known for
this date. Prior to the find, indications suggested the existence of
an unknown marriage based on the stages of the reported listings.
In an April 23 letter, Leroy Van Allen added the VAM-7 1882-CC dollar
to his listings. It will be published in next year’s edition of New
VAM Varieties of Morgan Dollars.
Reported by Mark Daveler, the find is a combination of two previously
known dies. The obverse is a match for the VAM-2E stage, another
discovery for this date by Daveler. The reverse is the now earliest
known stage of the die paired with all the various major and minor
stages in the VAM-3 progression. Early stages of the VAM-3 are clashed
on the reverse only, which is a clear indication the event occurred in
a previous marriage. This had been a long-standing unsolved mystery.
More than 50 percent of the total mintage was in the General Service
Administration sales. It is among the most commonly encountered dates
in the GSA’s hard plastic holder. It is odd that the issue is common
in Mint State, but quite rare in circulated grades.
The VAM-7 discovery piece is well circulated, likely having traveled
from pocket to pocket throughout the Old West in the final decades of
the 19th century.
Like the coin itself, the obverse die had a tough life, suffering
multiple clashes, a counterclash, several aggressive polishing jobs,
breaks and gouges. The reverse die, on the other hand, seems to have
been at the very beginning of its production run, The clash marks and
die gouge of its later stages are not present.
It is entirely possible that a still unlocated clashed stage of the
new VAM-7 marriage exists, but it is also easy to imagine that the
event visible in the early stage of the other marriage employing this
reverse was a fatal blow to this well used obverse. It is also a
plausible explanation for the apparent rarity of the new discovery.
John Roberts is director of attribution services for ANACS. He is a
longtime collector of Morgan dollar varieties and is considered an
expert in attributing Morgan varieties.