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I finally found one!

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:24 pm
by DHalladay
VAM 41A detail.jpg
VAM 41A detail.jpg (210.44 KiB) Viewed 627 times

As I slide ever deeper down the 1921-P Morgan rabbit hole, certain coins become much more meaningful than their published R values suggest – and grading company attributions sometimes become a joke.

VAMs 41A and 41B are a prime example.

In buying many groups of sight-unseen 1921-Ps over the years, I’ve probably had ten VAM 41Bs fall into my lap. But I have never found a 41A. And up until two weeks ago, searching for certified and attributed 41As in online auctions had never turned up a coin that was in fact a 41A, despite what the holders said.

I am now thrilled to finally be able to say that I have a 41A for my SSDC 1921-P date set, because it was a long time in coming. What’s even more satisfying, it is in a PCGS holder that says “VAM 41A” on the label. (More about this later.)

VAM 41B may be the most heavily represented 1921-P Morgan on eBay. It is a darling of sellers who think they have something hard to come buy. With that jungle of reverse pitting and polishing lines it is a neat coin for sure, but it is far from rare… or even scarce.

VAM 41B detail.jpg
VAM 41B detail.jpg (221 KiB) Viewed 627 times

Before I began writing this I did an eBay search; there were 90 advertised 41Bs for sale. There were just 13 advertised 41As by comparison… except in looking at the photos 12 of them turned out to be 41Bs.

This is no surprise at all, because every VAM 41A in PCGS and NGC-attributed holders I have ever picked up has turned out to be a 41B. I’m not saying there aren’t some 41As out there in 41A holders, but until two weeks ago I’d never seen one.

ANACS knows what it is doing with 41A and 41B attributions, but some companies appear to make no distinction between the two. So be careful.

Over at SSDC, there are more VAM 41Bs registered (99) than any other 1921-P. The “we don’t know which ones these are” catch-all attributions of VAMs 1 and 3 are next at 57 and at 52, respectively. There are 31 VAM 41A examples registered and I wish I could look at every one because, well, I’m skeptical.

So guess which coin has a higher R value.

41A is an R-5.
41B is an R-6.
Both are jokes in my opinion.

If the powers that be were foolish enough to let me reset the ratings, 41A would be at least R-6 and 41B would be at most R-3 – but R-7 and R-2 would be in play too.

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:33 pm
by ljs123
WTG Dennis :P

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:34 pm
by DHalladay
ljs123 wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:33 pm
WTG Dennis :P

Lee: What are your thoughts about 41A vs 41B rarity? Am I misreading the tea leaves?

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:37 pm
by vampicker
Even with ANACS holders you have to check the attribution. The distinction between VAMs 41A and 41B didn't exist until 2009. Any done prior to that year, like all the little white slabs, will have the 41A designation

And yes, an actual VAM 41A is a fairly rare bird

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:49 pm
by ljs123
When you emailed me the photos last week, it was the first 41A that I have seen.
So I find it hard to disagree with you and JR. You don't see one too often, if at all.

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:35 pm
by Tekkie1
Nice find Dennis and Congrats!
:D :D

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:51 pm
by Kissov
Great work!

And you are right about grading companies not recognizing the distinction.


WIN_20200229_14_49_27_Pro.jpg (193.28 KiB) Viewed 598 times

Came in this:

WIN_20200229_14_49_04_Pro.jpg (104.15 KiB) Viewed 598 times

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:25 pm
by alefzero
Until the 41B was "discovered", that is - listed, bother were 41A. Due to popularity of the Top 100 and, as you point out, the fairly common nature of the 41B, a ton of those 41Bs got slabbed with attributed tags as 41A. It wasn't that the grading services did a sloppy job, just that there was no listing distinction. The unfortunate thing is that the market is flooded with VAM-41B attributed 1921 Morgans tagged as VAM-41A. The majority in the SSDC Registry I would suppose are wrong on that point.

I, like others here, must have handled close to a hundred slabbed and attributed "VAM-41A" 1921 Morgans. I have a single one and the only one I can be certain is and was VAM-41A. I will never know which the others were, but I would not be surprised if they all were VAM-41B.

When the VAM-41B got listed, we all looked at ours and looked for others, thinking it might be the rarer one, just as Leroy assumed when he gave it a higher rarity. This is a big lesson in hindsight. A genuine VAM-41A is a rare beast and, from what I see, arrived in average lower grades than VAM-41B. Seems they got out into circulation and the VAM-41B tended to sit in bags.

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:22 am
by bhinkle
GREAT POST Dennis and great find.
I still have every vam, that I have ever found and I know I have some 1921 P's, with the pitted reverse.
Mine were attributed, with the help of the 'OLD V W' posts, which seems like ages ago..
I was unaware, that another variety had been discovered.
I will now be anxiously searching through mine.
Thanks, Bert

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:04 am
by lioncutter
Good write up Dennis.
I did check my ANACS 63 41A and it is truly a 41A. (can be seen in the SSDC registry) The pitting is amazing. It is in a newer ANACS holder so I know it was attributed correctly.

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:14 am
by dave700x
Here are crops of the 2 41's I have. I'm pretty confident the example with the die polish lines is a 41B but I'm not sure which the second (NGC graded) example is..
1921P.V41.crop1.jpg (140.08 KiB) Viewed 466 times
1921P.V41.crop2.jpg (168.35 KiB) Viewed 466 times

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:41 am
by DHalladay
Dave, the first photo you posted is 41A. The second photo is 41B.

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:06 am
by dave700x
I appreciate your help Dennis. I initially thought the NGC graded was a 41A but second guessed it with the recent posts.

Re: I finally found one!

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:53 am
by DHalladay
The crisply defined 'edge' in the pitting area over DOL is the key PUP for 41A. The strong file lines through the O and E in ONE are key PUPs for 41B.

Your 41B, by the way, is a fairly LDS example, as many of the polishing lines have been worn away through die use.