A VAM Story

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A VAM Story

Post by Vamhammer » Sun Jan 08, 2023 10:31 pm

About 16 years ago I got interested in investing in silver US coinage: The typical 90% junk silver coins that have been circulating the past 100 years. My thinking was that 90% silver coins would not only have silver value but also potential numismatic value. Especially if silver values significantly declined the collector value might not drop as much. Also, bullion is boring. Rounds and bars stack nice but there is just not much to look at or look for.
Originally, I focused on Walking Liberty half dollars and Mercury dimes. They are both just beautifully designed coins and my coin collection from when I was just a kid had plenty of holes. Searching through all the junk silver I was buying I was happily filling holes and up grading every coin I could. My timing was perfect because silver was on its way to $20 an ounce in 2008 for the first time since the Hunt brothers tried cornering the silver market in 1980. There was silver that had not seen the light of day in over 30 years and most of it hadn’t been picked through yet. I was having an absolute blast going through 1000’s of coins and my coin collection was looking rather good too.
$20 an ounce silver only lasted a couple of days and it immediately declined back to the $10 range. I was confident that silver would rise again but locally there were not many people selling. So, I decided to look to eBay to supply some of the silver coins that I needed for investment and collecting. With the price of silver down again there were deals to be found if you looked hard enough. One of those deals was an uncirculated roll of 1923 Peace dollars for $300. I remember seeing the pictures with mint luster on each coin and thinking yeah, I scored on this roll. I know this is from the “dark side,” but it really is how I got started collecting VAMs.
When the USPS box showed up, I tore into it so I could check out the roll of silver dollars. I only had a few minutes before I had to leave to see one of my clients so I could only do a quick cursory review of the coins. Halfway through the roll I see this coin with a big scratch in the middle of Liberties cheek. My first thought was that coin will never grade and I set it aside from the other coins. I needed to get to work but planned to spend more time reviewing and grading the coins when I got home later in the evening.
When I got home, I was anxious to get started on a deeper dive into those Peace dollars. I picked up the “cull” first, more to just get it out of the way of the pristine coins. I had my loop out and was giving the coin a quick look over thinking MS63 if it did not have that dam scratch on the obverse. But that is not a scratch, that is a raised positive, what the hell is that? I knew this coin was different, maybe even special. Now I am more excited about this “cull” than all the other uncirculated Peace dollars. I needed to do some research.
That research led me to the old VAMWorld.com website. The error descriptions and the photos were fantastic! I was easily able to zero in on the 1923 VAM-1D. It even had a cool name, Whisker Cheek, and was part of the Top 50 grouping. Then I saw what it was worth and knew I needed to learn more about these VAMs. It has been an absolutely wonderful experience vamming every Morgan or Peace dollar I get my hands on. Thank you VAMWorld and everyone associated with this site, I’m hooked for life!

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Re: A VAM Story

Post by messydesk » Sun Jan 08, 2023 10:49 pm

Glad you're enjoying the hobby and the site!
Welcome to the VAMWorld 2.0 discussion boards. R.I.P. old VAMWorld.

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Re: A VAM Story

Post by Malachi35 » Sun Jan 08, 2023 11:10 pm

PCGS Member, NGC Member, ANA Member, YN Malachi Cress

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Re: A VAM Story

Post by keilg1 » Mon Jan 09, 2023 7:31 am

Thanks for sharing. What dreams are made of... and nightmares for those who purchase something similar to have the end coins looking great and the middle coins not so much.

Part of the allure (and something those of us who are hooked would never want to away).

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Re: A VAM Story

Post by 78-sLongnock » Mon Jan 30, 2023 1:41 am

Fantastic story of how you stumbled into the vamworld community.
Mine was a broken left leg and being non weight bearing for 3 months.
I stumbled into VW 1 and took 3 days to attributed my entire #12 ranked (at that time) standard morgan set.
Last edited by 78-sLongnock on Mon Jan 30, 2023 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A VAM Story

Post by morganman » Mon Jan 30, 2023 3:00 am

Coins/Vam stories are super special IMHO, as they keep interest even if there is not
something new & exciting in coins. Hearing how folks started and happenings along
the way contribute to fantastic reads and help others with collecting.

May the cool stories continue, with history as the backdrop.

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Re: A VAM Story

Post by Kurt28 » Mon Jan 30, 2023 5:39 am

Great story that many of us can relate to.

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Re: A VAM Story

Post by mark » Mon Jan 30, 2023 5:20 pm

Definitely relate, discovered VAMs when just starting to collect bullion/morgans and now 15 years later.. Time flies when you're having fun!

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