1921-D VAM-8B Gouged Wreath
Discovered by Rob Joyce, July 2003 (Desirability: )
8B(revised) IV 7 · D2d (Doubled Left Stars & Reverse, Die Gouges Tail Feather and Wreath Bow) (189) I-3 R-6
Reverse D2d– Diagonal die gouge in tail feathers above arrow shafts and short diagonal gouge from top right of wreath bow.
Comments: The VAM-8B variety is differentiated by the horizontal die gouge emerging from the right side of the wreath bow.
LVA Plate Photos
John Kohut also noticed gouging between the eagles legs/claws.
Several other die gouges have come to light in the 1921-D series. Almost all of these gouges are located on the lower reverse of the coin. The reason for the concentration of gouges in this area is an interesting mystery warranting additional research into the production methods that led to the grouping of defects in this region.
As an offshoot of the VAM-8 die, the stars to the left of Liberty are doubled and the right stars are slightly tripled. The reverse shows slight doubling around UNITED STATES that is the same hub doubling as on VAM-6.
This VAM also has die gouges within the tail feathers. These gouges are often easier to see than the wreath gouge so when hunting VAM-8B's look for these markers first, and if they are present then check for the fainter wreath gouge. Note that these gouges are different than the VAM-1A2 gouges.
Also note scribbling scratches tailfeathers in the photo above. The 1921-D VAM-1EA was listed for a while but has been determined to be the same as VAM-8B and will be eliminated.
Many 21-D coins have this small broken G in GOD. All states of the VAM-8B, even those without visible die cracks, have a a small break in the G of God on the reverse. According to Leroy Van Allen, breaks within the motto of Morgan dollars occur with enough frequency that they are not considered significant variety features by themselves. The steep and sharp edges of the lettering caused them to be susceptible to chipping.
This variety changes slightly over time. Very early die states with no die cracks on the obverse have faint die gouges in multiple locations including this faint die gouge through the AT of STATES.
As production went on, die cracks emerged on the obverse and reverse. The very late die state photo of chip over E of STATES. At this point, the faint die gouges outside the wreath and the tail feathers have all been polished away.
Note: Leroy's listing description for the 1921-D VAM-8 is as the EDS of the 1921-D VAM-8A (or 8A as the LDS of the VAM-8, whichever you prefer). However, the 1921-D VAM-8B has different scribbling scratches, breaks, and other features from the VAMs 8 and 8A, and thus likely came from different dies.