1921-P VAM-3o3 (3-oh-3) Die Polish and "Goldfish" Clash
Discovered as VAM-3o by John Baumgart, December 2003.
Reclassified as VAM-3o3 2017
This coin is a WOW! Morgan VAM.
3O3 IV 1 • D2a (Raised "Goldfish" Dots, Die File Lines) (189) I-3 R-6
Obverse IV 1– Heavy die file lines in fields around Phrygian cap, forehead and upper neck with raised "goldfish" shaped dot in front of nose from damaged die. (Fomerly VAM-3O)
Reverse D2a– Heavy die file lines in fields to remove die clash marks. Raised dot at inside of left wreath second berry cluster from top from damaged die and opposite dot on obverse. (Fomerly VAM-3O)
1- The VAM-3o3 coin shows evidence the dies of this variety had a very hard life! There is strong evidence of clashing and then significant die polishing to fix the clash damage.
LVA Plate Photos
Both the obverse and reverse show extensive die polishing lines as fine raised hairlines. Someone looking at the coin quickly might think it has been harshly cleaned, but it was not the coin that was scrubbed, it was the dies that produced it. The resulting lines on the coin are raised and not etched into the surface as true damage would be. Note the extensive polish around this eagle. This coin was graded MS-62 and encapsulated by PCGS, recognizing the hairline appearance is actually die polish.
One of the more interesting features of the VAM-3o is the small goldfish shaped clash mark (head facing down, tail pointing up) in front of Liberty's eye. Notice more die polish in an attempt to fix this damage.
A matching point of damage is on the reverse in the wreath (at inside of left wreath second berry cluster), indicating the possibility of a piece of debris in the coining chamber damaging both dies during a clash:
The reverse shows the typical hair clash inside the wreath looking like a volcano pointing to the left. The polishing around it shows the effort to remove the clash marks.
Coming out of the top of Liberty's head is extensive die polish looking like her Phrygian cap is sprouting hair!