1878 VAM-9 First Morgan Die.
Discovered by Leroy Van Allen, October 1966.
This coin is a Top 100 and a WOW! Morgan VAM.
9 I12 A1h (Doubled Reverse) (193) I-2 R-7
Obverse I12 Doubled E PLUR and U-M of the motto at the top of the bottom serifs. First four stars on left and all of the stars on right slightly doubled on outside. First 8 doubled at top inside of upper loop. 7 in date doubled slightly on right side. First obverse die used.
Reverse A1h - All of legend and motto doubled. Left wreath and olive leaves slightly doubled. Three small feathers added on eagle's right and two one eagle's left side between leg and bottom of wing. First reverse used.
- The 1878 VAM-9 Morgan Silver Dollar is the very first set of dies used to strike Morgan dollars! The 1878 VAM-9 is an 8 tailfeather coin with the A1h reverse. Detective work has revealed they began striking the new Morgan coins at 3:17 PM on March 11, 1878. The combination of the die and the time is known because a reporter was present at the event and the first coins struck were presentation pieces for President Rutherford B. Hayes. Rutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th President of the United States. His specific coin has been preserved and studied for die features and subsequently identified as a VAM-9. According to a reporter present, "only 303 pieces were struck" when the die failed and new ones had to be used. The reporter's accounting of the mintage for this die pair is generally not considered credible, since observations of current collectors indicate that while VAM 9 is indeed scarce, far more than 303 were made. The reverse die is identifiable because of the "comma" feather on the lower right side as looking at the eagle. Some VAMmers describe this feather as kidney-bean shaped and it is a key identifier of a VAM-9.
- The clashed version of this coin is VAM 9A.
- The obverse was also used on VAM 14 and VAM 14.15
- VAM 9A was not discovered until 2005 and may be included in VAM 9 populations.
LVA Plate Photos
On the obverse, there are unique die polish lines in the cotton bolls as well as a line in the Phrygian cap band that can sometimes be seen even on very worn specimens.
Full Coin Photos
Large Full Coin VAM-9 Images © Heritage Auctions, used with permission
EX: Leroy Van Allen Collection
View Heitage's Desription for the MS 62 DMPL
View Heitage's Desription for the MS 64 DMPL
The ANACS 62 DMPL Presentation Piece
- The Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties: The VAM Keys Copyright 2009 RCI. With permission from the authors Michael S. Fey, Ph.D., [http://www.rcicoins.com], and Jeff Oxman, [http://www.vamlink.com]