1878-P VAM-14.2 8TF Polished Ear, Doubled Date, Tripled Left Stars
Discovered by Guy Messing, April 1973. Revision April 2003 by Mike Torgrimson.
14-2(revised) I14 · A1l (Polished Ear, Doubled Date, Tripled Left Stars) (181) I-2 R-4
Obverse I14– Doubled date with 1 doubled below upper crossbar, both 8's slightly doubled at top inside and lower left outside of upper loop and 7 slightly doubled below upper crossbar and doubled at top right of vertical shaft. All left stars slightly tripled to quadrupled towards rim. Die over polished with shallow stars, date, ear fill and hair lines to right of ear. Die markers– Thin die scratch line from middle of L in LIBERTY thru top of I up to bottom wheat leaf tip. Short triangular inner ear fill.
Reverse A1l– All legend letters, stars, right wreath and lower left wreath doubled towards rim. One long and two short feathers added on eagle’s right and two on eagle’s left side between leg and bottom of wing. Die marker– Heavy vertical polishing scratch above extra feathers on eagle’s left wing.
1. The 1878-P VAM-14.2 8-Tail Feather Variety has the I²4 obverse and the A¹I reverse. It shares the same reverse as the ultra-rare VAMs 1878-P VAM-14.15 and 1878-P VAM-14.20 so it is important to be able to differentiate them between the more common VAM-14.2 attributions.
2. The EDS example of this coin does not have the cracks around the stars as some books show. The EDS has the crack starting from the wheat leaf headed towards the L & I (the "I" first) of liberty. It is also possible to have one which has a 193 reed count, whereas some books lead you to believe it only has a 181 reed count. Though different.
3. The 14.2 may also have heavy (much heavier than the pics on this page show) polishing lines in the same places as the 14.20. Because the three varieties share the same reverse, they also share attributions such as the same engraved feathers at the base of the eagle's left and right wings, a horizontal polishing line in the letter N of ONE, and a die scratch on the olive leaf adjacent to the eagle's right leg.
LVA Plate Photos:
A key identifier on the obverse of the VAM-14.2 is the heavily polished inner ear, hence its name. It also can be distinguished from the other two ultra-rare varieties by the slight doubling in the 7 of the date, polishing lines in Liberty's hair, die chips and polishing lines on Liberty's cap, and a unique die scratch above the L in LIBERTY.
One of the key distinguishing attribution points on the VAM 14.2 reverse is a long vertical die polishing line on the eagle's left wing just above the engraved feathers. It also should be noted that the right wreath and the bottoms of letters in AMERICA are strongly doubled. see above
The VAM-14.2 has a well-known LDS with a large reverse field die break that is mentioned in the 8tf Attribution Guide. Leroy Van Allen has examined this break and says the break is too small to gain a VAM-14.2A listing. This is, by far, the more common state. Those specimens with no break from the O of OF on the reverse are VAM-14.2 EDS in registering with the SSDC Registry. It is exceedingly rare as an EDS coin.