1878-P VAM-33 7/8 Tailfeather 7/4 variety
Discovered by Leroy Van Allen, April 1965. Revision February 2005 by Edward Malinowski.
33(revised) II/I 7 · B/Ad (4 TF) (180) I-3 R-4
Obverse II/I 7 – Type II LIBERTY; doubled E, P, and R; doubled 187 in date with 1 doubled on left at shaft, 8 on top surface, and 7 on left of top serif; all stars on left and first three stars on right doubled. Area around nose and lips over polished. Fine diagonal polishing line through R in LIBERTY. Some coins show die chip at left between loops of first 8.
Reverse B/Ad – Three tail feather ends showing; strong one under 4 TF and two faint ones between 4 & 5 TF and 5 & 6 TF. Very faint tail feather shows under 6 TF on early strike specimens. Eagle’s legs are one and one half times normal width with doubled talons. Design remains in olive leaves, below branch on left and center of wreath bow. Diagonal polishing line from 1 TF down thru 4 TF on some specimens. Broad diagonal die gouge on left side of eagle’s neck.
- VAM-33 is a 7/8 tailfeather variety that shows four faint tailfeathers emerging below the strong 7 feathers.
- VAM-33 can often be found in PCGS "7/8 Weak" holders. Sometimes it is even found in 1878 Rev 78 holders because the faint tailfeathers were not noticed peeking out.
- The main feature of this reverse is that it has tremendously doubled legs. This doubled leg reverse die is shared between VAM-33 and the ultra-rare VAM 44 (VAM 32 and VAM 31 also have different doubled leg reverses). Another attribution feature of VAM-33/44 is looking at the underside of the olive branch to the left of the eagle and above the arrow feathers for the rounded mound characteristic of this die.
- 1878 P VAM-33 Die Progression Page
LVA Plate Photos
The VAM 33 obverse has no doubling in the cotton bolls (unlike VAM 44 which is tripled).
Full Coin Photos
Full Coin VAM 33 Images © Heritage Auctions, used with permission. Attributed by John Roberts at ANACS