1896-P VAM-20 Bar "6" (formerly VAM-1A)
Discovered by John Baumgart April 2001
This coin is a Hot 50 Morgan VAM
20(formerly 1A) III2 20 · C3a (Bar 6 Over 6) (185) I-4 R-6
Obverse III2 20– 6 in date has thick curved bar on right inside of lower loop that matches curve of left side of 6. A short tip also shows at right inside of upper loop that continues the left side of the first punched 6. A very large shift of the digit punch. Date at right edge of lateral position. Die chip at hair front.
Comments: If you enjoy controversy in die varieties, the 1896-P VAM-20 (Formerly1A) is for you. This variety shows a vertical line in the loop of the "6" of the date. Researchers debate the source of the line. Many say it is a die gouge, including Van Allen. Others maintain it is a 6/4 overdate, including Walter Breen (#5645 in Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins).
This is the 6 in the description. Other theories exist. A plausible one that has not been discussed is this was a rogue digit placement marker or a tooling artifact in modifying an unused or little used 1895 obverse die. There is also a long vertical die scratch in front of the eye, chips upper right inside the ear, and small but distinct scratches all around the ear.
LVA Plate Photos
Full Coin Photos
2 sets Full Coin Copyrighted© VAM-20 Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions] ATTRIBUTED BY John Baumgart at
John Baumgart, the Discoverer of the VAM-24, is a Charter Member of The Society of Silver Dollars Collectors, (SSDC) and at this writing is currently serving as President of the society. He's has been producing the VAM-E newsletter since 2004 keeping the members up to date on new VAM discoveries and research that is not available anywhere else. John is also the author of 7 "Attribution Wizard" software titles, producer of the photographs for the Hit List 40 book and another book to be released soon. His company attributes the VAMs in a unique matter through Variety Slabbing Service which is legend in VAMming circles. We are proud to have him contribute to this site as messydesk.