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Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:56 pm
by impairedsquirrel
No, this isn't what you thought it would be, but please play along anyway...
So I've made it known that for the last couple years it seems like I've had a harder time "picking" VAMs in wild, but is this just because I haven't been looking as hard? Because there are more eyes looking in the places I look? Or are VAMs just generally becoming "captive only" creatures and the cool ones are just not out there roaming free anymore?
Anyhow, I came up with this list of ten popular VAMs that range from "relatively easy" to "wish I could find one" scarcity. What I'd like to know is: When was the last time you found one? What grade is it? Have you ever found one? Do you want to find one? Rescued from the wild cherrypicks is what I'm looking for. Also, feel free to discuss your feelings about wild VAMs in general.

1)1878p VAM-9/9a - I found a couple, but was never fast enough to pull the trigger (lucky to have been gifted a 9 and traded for a 9a)
2)1880p VAM-1a2 - Haven't seen one in the wild for several years, but have picked a couple in my day (was one of my first really good picks ever, actually. And played a big role in my "Blind Squirrel" persona)
3)1880o VAM-6c - Haven't seen one in a couple years.
4)1882o VAM-38b - Used to see them regularly, but not a one for at least a year now.
5)1885p VAM-1d - Saw a few in a short span, but none for a couple years.
6)1888s VAM-13 - Kind of opposite. Didn't see any for a year or two, but several have popped up lately.
7)1888o Hot Lips (XF or better) - Found one last year, not sure I've seen any unattributed in ANY grade since
8)1889o VAM-13b - I bet it's been 5 years since I've seen a halfways decent one.
9)1891o VAM-14a - Another I haven't seen in several years.
10)1901o VAM-25a - Again, I think I've only seen one really beat up example in several years.

As you can see, this is a pretty random sampling, but when was the last time you've picked any of these?
Are you finding tough sledding when it comes to picking cool VAMs too, or is it just me? Are feral VAMs really going extinct?

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:09 pm
by CascadeChris
I found a #1 in xf40 earlier this year, a couple of #4's the last couple of years.. and why the heck did you put the 85p v1D on that list? I've picked at least 5 this year alone. The rest, generally, aren't on my radar as I can't think of which they are by memory aside the Hotlips which I have never been able to find above VF in the wild.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:25 pm
by Longstrider
Interesting question. I have never found one in the wild. I haven't looked much. I am now going to start buying a raw Peace Dollar or two from my dealer, there is only one within an hours drive of me, and giving them a good look. Worst case I end up with raw Peace Dollars..Thanks for this exercise..John

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:47 pm
by bjsilverfox
A dealer I know had a role of MS 1882 O's he let me look through. It had 5 VAM 38 B's in it. They all looked to be MS 61 or 62's to me so I passed. I told him what they were but I think he ended up just selling the whole role as MS.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:56 pm
by ljs123
Good question Rob.
Several of those I don't look for. Here is what I have found from your list.

1)1878p VAM-9/9a - A few years ago Nate and I found low grade V-9s within a few weeks of each other. His graded but mine did not
3)1880o VAM-6c - Within the last year I found a raw one that graded MS-62. I guess I still need to add that one to my ECM set.
6)1888s VAM-13 - Just saw a raw one on eBay a couple days ago, but passed.
7)1888o Hot Lips (XF or better) - Seen several low grades. So far not XF or better. But I have hopes. 8-)
I had to edit my post. I forgot my XF-40 was a raw pick, I think about 4 years ago. I got an XF-45 recently, but it was AOH.
9)1891o VAM-14a - I have purchased several raw in the last several years that went through JB's group submission. Some graded and some did not. The best I saw was the Heritage auction MS-64 that I ended up being the second highest bidder. It is now the Top Pop in the SSDC. Had it been a white coin, I would have bid much higher.
10)1901o VAM-25a - I think it was about two years ago I got the MS-66.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:07 pm
by DHalladay
1878-P VAM 9/9A... haven't found any in probably 15+ years, since finding 4 in a VF-AU roll of 8TFs.
1888-S VAM 13... I see them frequently enough on eBay that I never buy them, since I already have an MS64.

I never look for the others, although I automatically look for Hot Lips whenever I pick up an 1888-O.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:15 pm
by CascadeChris
DHalladay wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:07 pm
1878-P VAM 9/9A... haven't found any in probably 15+ years, since finding 4 in a VF-AU roll of 8TFs.

😲😲😲

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:17 pm
by TheYokel
1882-O 38B: I have found a couple of these this year.

Hot Lips: these are everywhere but getting harder to find unattributed. people know to look for this one.

1889O 13B: posted mine when i found it on here, but haven't looked for a second.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:33 pm
by DHalladay
CascadeChris wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:15 pm
DHalladay wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:07 pm
1878-P VAM 9/9A... haven't found any in probably 15+ years, since finding 4 in a VF-AU roll of 8TFs.

😲😲😲

Yep. They all went to PCGS and they all graded... 45, 45, 50, 50 if I recall correctly.
There were also 5 (I think) VAM 169s that all graded about the same.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:31 pm
by ljs123
@impairedsquirrel

Rob,
I'm surprised that you didn't ask about the 29A/B/C. ;)

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:07 pm
by impairedsquirrel
Lee, 29a/b/c are too rare to get a good feel for...
I'm surprised there hasn't been any posts about the general scarcity (or not) of cool wild VAMs...

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:05 pm
by colwillys
I always look for those Morgan dollar but , it the high price :? . I do not have deep pockets for the Morgan dollar. :D
I can pull the trigger for the Peace dollar . :mrgreen:

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:54 pm
by VamHelsing
1)1878p VAM-9/9a - Found one several years ago, nothing since.... And I look....
2)1880p VAM-1a2 - Found one in my aunt's stash, haven't found one since
3)1880o VAM-6c - Picked one or two of these within the last year, on is a PCGS AU58
4)1882o VAM-38b - Picked one a while ago, haven't seen one recently
5)1885p VAM-1d -found one I already owned.... Don't look for them
6)1888s VAM-13 - I see these from time to time on Ebay
7)1888o Hot Lips See them, but not XF or better. All i've seen are listed as hotlips
8)1889o VAM-13b -haven't seen one
9)1891o VAM-14a - haven't seen one
10)1901o VAM-25a - don't look fo rthis one

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:08 am
by LateDateMorganGuy
I think my take might be a bit different. First, I don't search B&Ms much anymore, so I am not on the hunt for the coins you mentioned.

But I think the Morgan silver dollar market has been depressed for a few years. I don't see dealers buying bulk much anymore. Try and get rid of extra coins and get what you think they are worth. Likely the B&M's in your area have not been cycling Morgan's. The stock they have on hand may be old and stale while they wait for the silver dollar market to turn.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:43 am
by PacificWR
I picked-up two 1901-O VAM-25A's last year from the coin gallery I go to. The coin gallery (B&M) I go to has fresh stock on an almost daily bases (folks come from a three state area). Some really good VAM's walk in the door.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:37 pm
by vamsterdam
I have found quite a number of vam 9/9a, 1888s vam 13(but have left all of them for probably 3-4 years), found several 1880 v1a2’s, and many others on the list except for 1901o v25a.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:29 pm
by bob259
1880P - 1a2 Found 3 couple of years ago. One I sent in and was graded by ANACS as AU53 Hard to find high grade Knobbed 8s
1882O - 38b Bought 20 of these within a week, all in ICG holders from the same dealer. Another bunch got away from me as they went too high. I always wondered if the guy had a whole roll of them. Not attributed and very reasonable. I sent them to ANACS and got them to cross over. Was happy with the MS ratings. 4 AUs, 1 MS62, 10 MS63, 4 MS64, and 1 MS65. The 65 is the only one still in an ICG holder.
1885P - 1d Found one in MS but haven't sent it in.
1888O - Hot Lips - Have 6 but only one goes VF

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:16 pm
by iwillbenice
38B have left them on regular basis.
9A never but on the wild wish list.
others never really looked for.

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:25 am
by mark
I mostly search for 1878p and have picked 20+ VAM-9's off eBay. Still own 4 in grades ranging from G04 to AU55. Sorry, sounds like I took most them. :o

Re: Are VAMs going extinct?

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:20 pm
by keydates
I picked up a 1978 vam 9A unattributed ngc ms 61 in Omaha several years ago..
paid 180.00,
Crossed to pcgs au 58.

Wish it could have crossed ms but happy