TOP50 Peace VAMs by Rarity Scale
Exerpts from an article written by John Baumgart on Rarity Scales
One of the pieces of information a collector of any series or specialty wants to know in order to help establish value
or desirability of a given coin is how rare it is. So when Leroy Van Allen examines a coin, just how does he arrive at an
R-value? First, it is important to know that his initial R-value assignment is merely a rough estimate that he is making
based on seeing the variety only once or twice. For a starting point, Leroy currently uses R-4 or R-5, with the following f
actors influencing his final decision:
Underlying mintage of the coin
- Number of die pairs known thus far. Mintage divided by number of die pairs known gives a good limit for how common the coin is.
- Number of coins of the same date and mint that have been inspected without seeing the new variety.
- How dramatic a die sinking feature is. Dramatic doubling or repunching that should have been seen by now is likely more rare than
a more mundane die sinking artifact like scribbling scratches or minor doubling.
- Die wear. The more a die is worn, the longer it was in service, therefore the less rare the die marriage is.
- Expected remaining die life. Terminal and late state die damage like large die breaks and displaced field breaks can indicate that the die was about to be retired, and results in higher R-value.
- Die wear in the presence of near terminal breaks. Die erosion and fuzzy breaks imply a higher mintage, while PL surfaces and sharp details with breaks (especially radial breaks) indicate early die failure. Once an R-value assignment is made and the variety is listed, it is important to realize that the actual rarity in the marketplace will only be determined over time as collectors attempt to locate a specimen for their collection.
Population reports at grading services will also serve to refine the R-value. If the coin is relatively easy to find, the number could be revised downward. If people are looking and can't find another, the number could be revised upward. One thing the R-rating assigned to the coin makes no attempt to address is "condition rarity." Condition rarity refers to how rare a particular die marriage is in a certain grade. Coins like the 1891-O VAM 1A clashed E are not difficult to find in F and VF grades, but only a couple uncirculated coins are known. Condition rarity assessments can only be made by collectors seeking and finding specific varieties and observing the grades in which these coins are found. Over time, these observations will also be reflected in population reports of third party grading services.
Regarding value, the rarity of a particular die pair is only part of the equation. Unlike early U.S. material, which is exhaustively cataloged and collected, by die pair, there are many VAMs that are for the most part ignored by collectors, simply because there are thousands of die pairs through the Morgan and Peace dollar series. A coin can have an initial rarity rating of R-6 and no demand and sell for no more than an unattributed coin. Use caution not to simply react to the R number when shopping for coins, and remember that RARE L@@K is also not part of the scale.
Copyright © 2009, Society of Silver Dollar Collectors, all rights reserved.
SSDC • P.O. Box 42112 • Greensboro, NC 27425
R1 & R2
None in this Rarity
1922-P VAM-4 Doubled Motto
1922-P VAM-7 Doubled Wing
1922-D VAM-3 Doubled Leaves
1922-D VAM-4 Doubled Motto
1922-S VAM-3 Tripled Reverse
1923-P VAM-1F Chin Bar
1924-P VAM-2 Doubled Reverse
1925-P VAM-3 Doubled Shoulder
1925-S VAM-2 Doubled Reverse
1925-S VAM-3 Doubled Wing
1922-P VAM-1A Line in Tiara
1922-P VAM-2A Ear Ring
1922-P VAM-2F Hair Pin
1922-P VAM-5 Tripled Leaves
1922-P VAM-6 Doubled Leaves
1923-P VAM-1A Whisker Jaw
1923-P VAM-1B Extra Hair
1923-P VAM-1D Whisker Cheek
1923-P VAM-1E Broken Wing
1923-P VAM-2 Doubled Tiara
1923-P VAM-3 Doubled Reverse
1924-P VAM-1A Bar D
1924-S VAM-3 Dbld.Lower Reverse
1925-P VAM-1A Tiara Die Gouge
1926-P VAM-2 Doubled Reverse
1926-S VAM-5 Doubled Reverse
1927-S VAM-3 Doubled Leaves
1927-D VAM-2 Doubled Motto
1928-S VAM-3 Doubled Motto
1934-D VAM-3 Dbld. Obverse, Med. D
1935-S VAM-4 Doubled Reverse
1922-P VAM-8 Doubled Tiara
1922-D VAM-7 Tripled Lower Rev.
1922-D VAM-7A Tripled Lower Rev._ Spike
1923-D VAM-2 Dbld. Eagle's Head
1926-S VAM-4 Dot. (Extra Berry Rev.)
1926-S VAM-4A Dot. & File Lines Reverse
1927-P VAM-2 Doubled Motto
1934-D VAM-4 Dbld. Obverse, Micro D
1922-P VAM-1F Field Break
1922-P VAM-2C Extra Hair
1922-P VAM-2E Wing Break
1922-P VAM-5A Scar Cheek
1922-P VAM-12A Moustache
1922-D VAM-3A Dbld.Leaves & Die Break Above IN
1923-P VAM-1C Tail on "O"
1923-P VAM-1'O' Bar Wing
1923-P VAM-2A Doubled Rays & Die Break Wing
1923-S VAM-1C Pitted Reverse
1924-P VAM-5A Broken Wing
1924-P VAM-8A Extra Hair
1925-P VAM-1A2 Tiara Die Gouge & Die Break 5
1925-P VAM-1T Missing Ray
1925-S VAM-3A Dbld. Rev. Clashs Eagle's Shoulder
1926-S VAM-5A Dbld. Wing Clashs Eagle's Shoulder
1921-P VAM-3 Line Through "L"
1922-P VAM-6A Doubled Leaves & Die crack R
1922-D VAM-7B Tripled Lower Rev._ Die Crack Below L
1923-P VAM-1A2 Whisker Jaw & Die Break LI
1924-P VAM-1A2 Bar D & Die Crack VS
None in this variety