Banished from the Top 100

General discussion board about VAMs, but no buy/sell offers
Post Reply
DHalladay
Posts: 1550
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 4:38 pm

Banished from the Top 100

Post by DHalladay » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:02 am

Once upon a time, the Top 100 Morgan dollars set at PCGS consisted of 100 coins.

But on April 25, 2005, the flagship set of VAM collecting became the Top 97 Registry Set at the largest third party grading company, when PCGS joined other major TPGs in deciding that the micro-O mintmark dates of 1896, 1900 and 1902 were counterfeits.

Some of us were amazed it took so long.

PCGS immediately stopped certifying the three dates. ANACS did likewise, but NGC had stopped five years earlier. This meant the combined 95 examples that were already in PCGS holders (26 1896-Os, 31 1900-Os, and 38 1902-Os) was all there would ever be.

But today the total is less, thanks to a “wanted to buy” effort by PCGS to get back as many examples as it could. It offered strong money for them, but didn’t get many takers.

Steps were also taken to purge evidence that the micro-Os had ever existed:

– All three were removed from the PCGS Top 100 Registry Set, which has consisted of just 97 coins ever since.
– All three were eliminated from the monthly PCGS Population Reports.
– Search links for their coin number prefixes became “dead” and still are.

Despite trying every way I could think of for years, I had not been able to find a way into the PCGS population database to see how many illicit micro-Os were still out there.

But last week a kindly rabbit gave me a magic key that unlocked a secret door: a link to a PCGS micro-O Showcase Set. Once inside, current population data was visible and I was able to assemble the summary table seen here:

PCGS micro-O pops.jpg
PCGS micro-O pops.jpg (96.04 KiB) Viewed 1066 times

For those of you who were not involved in VAMing in the 1990s and early-00s, the three micro-O dates were a literal treasure hunt. In fact, it tended to be a dumpster-diving treasure hunt, since many were found in melt buckets and bargain bins.

As someone who was there, two coins in this summary table jump out at me: the 1900 and 1902 in AU. If you’ve never seen one of the counterfeit micro-Os in such a high grade, be assured there is nothing that looks “right” about them.

It is no wonder that a submission of three (as I recall) strong AUs – one was an AU58 in my opinion that needed no loupe to yell “fake!” – finally set off the “wait just a minute!” alarm at PCGS.

Before then, the micro-Os had managed to hide in plain sight thanks to decent workmanship and often extensive circulation wear. For example, the average grade of the PCGS 1896-Os in this table is 26, the 1900-O average is 21, and the 1902-O average is just under 20.

Despite being kicked out of the Top 100 set at PCGS, their illicit origin and the embarrassment they caused among TPGs ensure they will always be favorites of VAM collectors. And they are still part of the official VAM Top 100 set.
Last edited by DHalladay on Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.
When in doubt... don't.

lured_in_again
Posts: 251
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:16 pm

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by lured_in_again » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:19 am

Nice write-up Mr. Halladay. Lots of good information. thanks

User avatar
PacificWR
Posts: 1188
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 12:17 pm
Location: Kansas Flint Hills
Contact:

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by PacificWR » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:32 am

Good info.

collectinsince65
Posts: 632
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:55 am
Location: Florida

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by collectinsince65 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:37 pm

Excellent writeup. I remember finding my first micro o. It was a 96 o back in the 90's. It was at a small show inside a mall that I hit after attending the Dalton show. Not exactly sure of the year but guessing 96 or 97. Mike

User avatar
CascadeChris
Posts: 2300
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 10:41 pm

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by CascadeChris » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:57 pm

I'm not one to actually want something specific. It's not my collecting style. But, that said, I really WANT one of the micro's in a PCGS slab that escaped the buyback.
Alonzi VW 2.0!

fogie
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 9:45 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by fogie » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:42 pm

Dennis - thanks for the "walk down memory lane" . I wish I had slabbed my extras back then !!!

JohnGoldsmith
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 1:58 am

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by JohnGoldsmith » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:40 am

PCGS would have to come off some serious money to get my four back. Not that chicken fee buy back program they had.
I think a few stories I read many moons ago ended with, "and they lived happy ever after".

vamsterdam
Posts: 704
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:48 am

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by vamsterdam » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:48 am

I found an au 102o in 1996 at a show in OHIO, AND AN 1896O IN WHAT I THGOUGHT AT THE TIME WAS A STONG VF. oops, cap lock again. anyway, I said then, they had to be counterfeit but nobody cared what I had to say. the 1901o looked so wrong, and so different from other morgans. the 1896o was a little less obvious but still, it looked like crap for having so much detail.

User avatar
lioncutter
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:28 pm
Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by lioncutter » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:54 am

Great Story that will always live in VAM history.
Here is what is written in the VAMview #1 page 6 & 7
http://registry.ssdcvams.com/VV/VAMview_1.pdf.
I may not be the best, but I do not know anyone better.

vamsterdam
Posts: 704
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:48 am

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by vamsterdam » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:07 am

@li0ncut@lioncutter , nothing like a blast from the past.

DHalladay
Posts: 1550
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by DHalladay » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:25 am

lioncutter wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:54 am
Great Story that will always live in VAM history.
Here is what is written in the VAMview #1 page 6 & 7
http://registry.ssdcvams.com/VV/VAMview_1.pdf.
I was the Editor of VAMview and wrote most of the content.
When in doubt... don't.

User avatar
LateDateMorganGuy
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:11 am

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:29 am

Hey Dennis, with the PCGS info available now, maybe a combined POP census of PCGS, ANACS & NGC would be informative? Just a thought.

User avatar
messydesk
Site Admin
Posts: 2024
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 1:57 am

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by messydesk » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:33 am

Good info. My impression was that very few were bought back by PCGS. Thanks for copying the info before PCGS fixes the glitch and it disappears.
Welcome to the VAMWorld 2.0 discussion boards. R.I.P. old VAMWorld.

User avatar
CascadeChris
Posts: 2300
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 10:41 pm

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by CascadeChris » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:43 am

vamsterdam wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:48 am
I found an au 102o in 1996 at a show in OHIO, AND AN 1896O IN WHAT I THGOUGHT AT THE TIME WAS A STONG VF. oops, cap lock again. anyway, I said then, they had to be counterfeit but nobody cared what I had to say. the 1901o looked so wrong, and so different from other morgans. the 1896o was a little less obvious but still, it looked like crap for having so much detail.
What was your first thought the first time you saw a 90o v13A reverse?
Alonzi VW 2.0!

vamsterdam
Posts: 704
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:48 am

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by vamsterdam » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:40 pm

Just saw another raw veg 1890o v13a. I wondered if it was counterfeit at first. Soft details around the devices. Then I realized it was a vam 13a.

User avatar
CascadeChris
Posts: 2300
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 10:41 pm

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by CascadeChris » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:13 pm

vamsterdam wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:40 pm
Just saw another raw veg 1890o v13a. I wondered if it was counterfeit at first. Soft details around the devices. Then I realized it was a vam 13a.
Yup. That was my first thought too when I bought one at the last Buena Park show not knowing about the 13A. Looks so "counterfeit-ey" I'll post the reverse so lurkers know what were talking about. Must look wicked cool BU/Gem.
Alonzi VW 2.0!

Andy Hansen
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:04 pm

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by Andy Hansen » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:53 pm

Really good stuff Dennis.
Thank you for your efforts and diligence.
I hope to buy some one day.
Andy Hansen

DHalladay
Posts: 1550
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by DHalladay » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:48 pm

I just discovered that my 1896-O MIcro-O is most likely not included the the table above!

The PCGS database shows my coin's serial number as being a plain old 1896-O (PCGS coin #7242) rather than as a Micro-O (PCGS coin #87242), even though the attribution on my holder says coin #87242 and Micro-O.

I hope Customer Service can fix this.
When in doubt... don't.

fogie
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 9:45 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Banished from the Top 100

Post by fogie » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:39 pm

They will fix it alright!

Post Reply