In 1900, a new reverse hub (designated C4) was created for the Morgan
dollar. It was very similar to the hub in service from mid-1878 (C3),
but it has some subtle differences.
The Mint had a significant stockpile of reverse working dies with
the older design, and in an act of conservation, they rehubbed many
with the new design rather than scrapping them. These rehubbed dies
are by definition examples of Class III or design hub doubling. Most
of the resulting doubling is barely noticeable, but a few varieties
are quite dramatic.
One of the strongest can be found among 1900 dollars. The boldly
doubled reverse was discovered by Hoyt Warren in 1974 and listed in
the Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace
Dollars by Leroy Van Allen and A. George Mallis.
Their VAM-11 description notes doubling through most of the eagle’s
left wing, the lower part of the right wing, the arrow feathers and
shafts, and the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST. The two olives that are
diagnostic of the dual hubbing with the C4 and C3 designs as described
in the Van Allen-Mallis text are also mentioned. The obverse is listed
The Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties: The VAM Keys by Michael
Fey and Jeff Oxman revolutionized VAM collecting in the late 1990s by
focusing attention of some of the most dramatic varieties. The VAM-11
marriage was part of their original set. In 1997, John Baumgart
reported two different obverses were paired with the VAM-11 reverse,
and one was a minor doubled die.
This DDO/DDR combination was listed as VAM-24 and is now also part
of the Top 100 set. It features doubling on the obverse stars, but
these are poorly struck on most examples. The front of Liberty’s eye
is also slightly doubled, and this is a reliable diagnostic.
An attribution of the “normal” obverse found with the VAM-11 variety
can be made by noting a vertical die scratch that runs parallel to the
front of Liberty’s eye. Since the diagnostics for the two obverses are
in the same area, they should be fairly easy to remember.