Misplaced date or MPD varieties have grown in popularity since the
initial reports in the early 1990s of errant portions of dates
appearing in locations so far from the expected position that the
simple explanation of human error seemed implausible.
They are known for almost every denomination from the middle of
the 19th century and cease with the introduction of hubbed rather than
punched dates in the early 20th century.
Since this coincides with the era of the Morgan dollar, it is only
natural that misplaced date varieties are known for the series.
One of the more interesting and dramatic discoveries of this type
of anomaly was made by Brian Raines in 2009. He reported a
Philadelphia Mint 1882 dollar with the partial bases of a pair of 1s
sticking out of the dentils below the first 8. They may have been
punched at an angle so only a small portion sunk into the die. At
least one of the digits shows signs of an unsuccessful attempt to
polish it away. Minor repunching of the date on both 8s is also noted
in its description.
Raines’ find is listed as VAM-24 in New VAM Varieties of Morgan
Dollars by Leroy Van Allen.
Early examples with the misplaced date boldly defined should
command a significant premium as the variety becomes better known.
Collectors should be aware this marriage was in service for a lengthy
production run and later stage examples lack the definition seen on
the earlier strikes. The misplaced digits are no longer visible beyond
a mushy dot below the first 8. The later stage VAM-24 dollar is fairly
common and should command no premium.
Other die markers, particularly a patch of pitting on Liberty’s
ear, help confirm attributions of late stage examples and prove their
association with their more desirable counterparts.
Perhaps archival evidence will surface someday that explains the
purpose of these seemingly errant digits. For now, the speculation
such coins generate and the touch of mystery they enjoy only adds to
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.