1901-O VAM-58 Privately Made Medium O Mint Mark Privately Made
Discovery September, 2010 by Brian Raines
(Privately Made)(Medium O Mint Mark) (181) I- R-6
Obverse- Numerous raised casting flaws at second left star, U-US in PLURIBUS, top of Phrygian cap, top left cotton leaf, hair back of ear and below jaw. Slightly rounded edges where design meets field. No polishing lines in hair or LIBERTY.
Reverse- Medium III O mint mark centered and slightly high. Numerous raised rough casting flaws at N-D in UNITED, ST in STATES, M-R in AMERICA, LLA in DOLLAR, and O in ONE. Slightly rounded edges where design meets field. No Polishing lines in eagle or wreaths.
LVA Comments: In September 2010, a 1901-O Morgan dollar in about vf condition was sent for examination by Brian Raines. He said it was extremely likely that it was privately made. After examination with a 30X stereo microscope, I have to agree that there are too many flaws on both obverse & reverse that aren't on genuine Morgan dollar dies. This coin was struck with dies make from a casting process and struck in a collar outside the US mint.
When viewed with the unaided eye, the obverse and reverse looked like a genuine Morgan dollar. The obverse and reverse designs were correct for the year and the detail was fairly sharp. However, when viewed with a 10X hand glass or 30X stereo microscope, numerous flaws were apparent.
For the obverse, the date digits had rounded top surfaces as did the stars and motto letters. there were quite a few casting flaws of rough raised dots and splotches at the second left star, U-US in PLURIBUS,top of Phrygian cap, left of top left cotton leaf, hair back of ear and below the jaw. The design was slightly rounded where it met the field. There were no polishing lines in LIBERTY or the hair. The 90 digits were not filled like the 1901o VAM 44_ VAM 56 counterfeits. So this obverse was struck from a different die.
For the reverse, there was a patch of raised pitting dots at the top of the left wreath. Raised rough casting flaws were at N-D in UNITED, ST in STATES, M-R in AMERICA, right star, LLA in DOLLAR, and O in ONE. The O mintmark was slightly high and the reverse was of the correct C3 design type. There were no polishing lines in the eagle or wreaths, but late die date 1901o-1904o often didn't have many polishing lines. It would be a strange coincidence that both the obverse & reverse genuine Morgan dies would deteriorate at the same time and in the same fashion of die chips at the periphery. The design was also slightly rounded where it met the field. The reverse didn't have the die crack at TED of 1901-O VAM-44 or the long die gouge at D in UNITED of 1901-O VAM-56 reverse.
The circulated vf 1901o weighed 412 grains which is a little heavy side for a circulated Morgan dollar. It's diameter was 1.493-1.494" which is within the normal tolerance. The coin's ring was normal indicating about the correct metal composition. The edge reeding was normal a 181 and there were slide lines in the reeding troughs indicating the coin was die struck in a collar.
The coin has the appearance of a genuine Morgan dollar with the correct weight and diameter. There was extensive casting flaws on the obverse & reverse indicating the coin was struck with cast counterfeit dies in a collar that produced slid(e) lines in the reeding. It did not match any of the obverse or reverse dies of the known VAMs 42, 44 or 56 counterfeits and could not be related to the infamous micro O counterfeits at this time. Except for numerous casting flaws, this counterfeit has better quality dies than the micro O series counterfeits.