1880-O VAM-2A Impaled Eagle (eliminated)
2009 update: Please scroll down for the important update. For the sake of interest, we'll keep the text directly below, which was written before the this coin resurfaced in November 2008, 40 years after its "discovery" and listing.
COMMENTS: Leroy Van Allen has eliminated the VAM-2A Impaled Eagle. The coin was discovered in April of 1968, but Leroy himself did not see it. Leroy later adopted a policy of not listing a variety unless he saw and photographed the coin himself, but the Impaled Eagle remained listed. Like the VAMworld.com team, Leroy has still never seen an Impaled Eagle. Thus, it is now gone, and this will be reflected in the next VAM supplement.
One question remains...where is the Impaled Eagle coin from the photo? If someone could find it, the true mystery of this infamous Morgan might be solved. However, it turns out that the discoverer himself did not even own the coin...he took a photo, but the owner would not sell it.
Below you see the image of the Impaled Eagle (used with the permission of Leroy Van Allen). Note how the mint mark is hardly distinguishable. If this were truly an "O" mint mark, it would appear to be a "high O" and "large O" variety like has never been seen elsewhere. Please also note how the letters in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA do not seem to line up next to each other properly. The whole coin seems slightly "incorrect" to those who have viewed thousands of Morgan reverses. Leroy himself notes that there appear to be raised dots that are often indicative of a cast coin.
2009 Update: The coin resurfaced on Ebay and sold in late 2008. Leroy examined the coin in person (for the first time ever) and confirmed that it was indeed the original Impaled Eagle and that the "variety" feature came from a cut in the coin itself and not a die gouge.
Below you see the images of the Impaled Eagle
Private Sale Feb-2012