What do I do if I think I have a new variety?
Think you have a new variety? Great! We hope you are correct! If you do have a new variety and it receives a VAM number, you will be credited as the "discoverer" and, assuming the coin is yours, you will be the owner of the "discovery coin." You will have made a significant contribution to the hobby and will be praised by your VAM brethren.
Now, before you get too excited, understand that most of the most notable VAMmers have submitted many more coins for VAM numbers than have been received back as new VAMs. As a real example, one VAMmer has submitted 53 Morgans over 10 years and received 8 back as new VAMs. Of those 8, one simply caused an existing VAM to change to a new VAM and one was later discovered to be an existing VAM and eliminated. A "hit ratio" of 11% (6/53) won't get you called up from the minors, even if you're in the KC Royals farm system! But, hey, that's VAMming!
Some of the features of your coin that you believe are significant may not be significant enough to create a new listing. However, your coin may have other minor features (e.g. mint mark placement, date placement) that you did not notice that will qualify it as a new VAM.
Please use the following guidelines to help you identify whether your coin may be listed as a new variety.
So, what do you do?
If you have never submitted a coin to Leroy Van Allen, it is recommended that you make a photograph or scan of the variety feature and post it to the discussion forum linked at the top of the Home page. Members of VAMWorld will examine the image and perhaps engage in some healthy debate over it. Slam dunk attributions just aren't as much fun as the controversial ones, but post whatever you need help with.
If the VAMworld gang cannot attribute the variety and thinks it has potential, one of the crew will give you instructions on how to submit the coin to Leroy Van Allen. Mr. Van Allen is a courteous gentleman and very generous to VAMmers with the time and attention he spends on every submission. To this end, the VAM community wants to make sure that coins are respectfully and properly submitted to him, as he is the patriarch of the hobby.
The number of die varieties is limited. Thousands have been discovered already. However, there are still many many out there. In 10 or 20 years, it may be close to impossible to discover a new variety. But for now, there are still opportunities. Do not wait. Get your potential new variety in front of the experts and vigorously scour every Morgan or Peace dollar you can for any feature that might qualify it as a new VAM. Good luck! We're all rooting for you!