VAM Jargon for the 21st Century
VAM Jargon for the 21st Century
Every profession, hobby, clique, cult, or any other semi-organized collection of people utilizes its own “trade talk.” A shared lingo promotes efficiency, allowing individuals to share complex ideas for which the standard dictionary has no exact expression. There definitely exists a coin vernacular, but also a subset of terms for the cherry pickers of the world, such as us. Even the term “cherry picker” itself qualifies.
“VAMmers” – hey, there’s another one – know all about “Scarface,” “Hot Lips,” and “Donkey Tail.” When we speak of a “DDO,” “DDR,” “EDS,” “LDS,” “PAF,” or “SAF,” even some coin enthusiasts have no idea what we are talking about. Fine. That’s part of being “in the club.” Do we have a secret handshake? If we do, no one has taught it to this author. Pretty please teach me. I promise I won’t tell.
While we do have our own words, sadly we do not have a complete dialect to capture the essence of many of the highs and lows of VAMming. Well, now it’s time. In the 1980’s comedian Rich Hall invented the concept of a “sniglet,” which is a word that is not in the dictionary but should be. Famous sniglets include:
Phonesia (fo-knee-zhuh) n. The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.
Aquadextrous (ak-wa-deks-trus) adj. Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub tap on and off with your toes.
Lactomangulation (lak-to-man-gyu-lay-shun) n. Manhandling the "open here" spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort to the 'illegal' side.
You can search the web to find groups that have created their own humorous sniglets for their industries. Perhaps it is time to do the same for ours. I’ll offer a few. Please add any you can think of.
Cherry Grove (che-ree-grow-v) n. A large, fresh, unsearched stock of silver dollars that gets your heart thumping for some cherry picking. Often guarded by a stockblocker.
De-Ja-VAM (day-zhah-vam) n. The mental condition of looking over a dealer’s stock or online listings and having an eerie feeling that you’ve looked over these before and are wasting your time.
Devammed (dee-vamd) adj. Eliminated from the VAM listings, likely because the variety was discovered to already be listed. "Oh, poopy! My precious discovery coin just got devammed!"
Ephvameral (ef-vam-er-al) adj. Short-lived. "Logan's recent discovery of the 1923-S VAM-1BP is likely to prove ephvameral as it was revealed by Dr. Close to be the same as the 1G. It will probably be devammed soon."
Kingslinger (king-sling-ur) n. Someone who labels 1878 VAM-33 coins as the king VAM-44, ignoring that you have to match up both of the photos from the Top 100 book to truly have a VAM-44.
Morgasm (more-gaas-um) n. That wonderful feeling that floods through your body when you've just cherry picked a rare VAM for common prices.
Nicenomer (nice-no-mur) n. A pleasant word used to describe a concept with negative connotations, as to forgive or shed a positive light. Nicenomers can be quite funny. The most amusing one from the VAM world is "privately made," used frequently by VAMmers to replace the word "counterfeit."
Outleroy (owt-lee-roy) v. To gain credit for discovering a new VAM which had been previously known and/or submitted but was unlisted. “I outleroyed Jeff on the 21-D VAM 1C/8A, but he later outleroyed me on the VAM 1G.”
Premature VAMulation (pree-muh-chur vam-yoo-lay-shun) n. The act of convincing yourself you have found a rare VAM and thus becoming excited, only to later discover you were mistaken. Premature VAMulation frequently occurs when examining 1880-P Morgans in VF and XF, all of which look like VAM-8 ears variety if you want them to. "I submitted an awesome new doubled die to Leroy, but it was premature vamulation since it turned out to just be machine doubling."
Stereoscopia (steh-ree-oh-skoh-pee-uh) n. The euphoric state that a VAMmer realizes upon going through his collection for the first time under 20x or 30x power. Stereoscopia invariably results with new packages sent to Leroy for attribution.
Stockblocker (stahk-blah-ker) n. - A crotchety dealer that seems to dislike everyone, but is outspoken in his disdain for variety collectors and refuses to allow them to search his inventory. “Darn that stockblocker for keeping me from his cherry grove.”
Unvammable (un-va-muh-bul) adj. Describes a variety that is interesting but does not qualify for a new VAM. "Wow, the grease filled letters on this one are outstanding, but the dang thing is unvammable."
VAMagination (vam-add-gin-nay-shun) n. - Thinking you have seen a clashed letter transfer, on a date for which none has ever been found, and spending premium money in an on-line auction for it. "Typically associated with Chasing Dragons (E-clashes), but any non-existant letter transfer qualifies for VAMagination."
VAMbidextrous (vam-bih-dex-trus) adj. Having the ability to simultaneously examine die varieties while having a meaningful conversation with one’s spouse down the hallway, so as not to have to hear “are you looking at coins again?”
VAMbivalence (vam-bih-vuh-lence) n. The stupor of hesitation when you know a coin may be a great VAM, but may be nothing, and you can't decide to buy it or pass on it. You usually end up buying it. "I was too VAMbivalent over that one coin at the show, because I passed on it, got home, looked it up, and realized I left a gem on the table. Now, if I could only remember which dealer it was..."
VAMble (vam-buhl) n. Overpaying for a coin that might be a significant VAM, but you just can't tell because it's an online auction or you don't have your best loupe with you at the pawn shop that you decide to check out at the last minute. If the VAMble pays off, you're set. If it does not, you are stuck with too much money in a useless coin.
VAMbulate (vam-byoo-lait) v. Upon finding out that another shrewd VAMmer is scouring the bourse at a show, the act of going to the other end of the floor to hit the tables that he has not yet picked dry.
VAMbushed(vam-boo-sh-ed) You attribute a coin online and realize it's a rare VAM. When you go to buy said coin, you realize someone else just bought it while you were examining the pretty pictures attributing the coin.
VAMfuriated (vam-fyur-ee-ay-ted) adj. Emotionally frustrated by the fact that your scarce VAM somehow just sold for only a hair above melt in an online auction, which is followed by the declaration that you will never sell in an online auction again. "William was vamfuriated that his 88-O oval O in VG went for just $12 while AU cleaned common Morgans in questionable 67 holders were selling like hotcakes."
VAMlusional (vam-loo-zhun-ul) adj. Engaged in a discomforting mental trance in which you see VAM variety patterns in common, unrelated objects. “I realized I was VAMlusional when the missing L in the Waffle House sign reminded me of the 21-D Tru-t variety.”
VAMnation (vam-nay-shun) n. The hideous netherworld where devammed and unvammable varieties end up. "This die break is just too small to be listed, so this one is doomed forever to VAMnation."
VAMnerd (vam-nurd) n.
VAMnerd (adjective: nerdy) is a descriptive term, often used pejoratively, indicating that a person is overly intellectual, obsessive, or socially impaired. They may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular, obscure, or non-mainstream activities, which are generally either highly technical or relating to topics of fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities. Additionally, many nerds are described as being shy, quirky, and unattractive, and may have difficulty participating in, or even following, sports. Though originally derogatory, "Nerd" is a stereotypical term, but as with other pejoratives, it has been reclaimed and redefined by some as a term of pride and group identity.
VAMnesia (vam-nee-zhuh) n. Condition marked by having to look up the VAM number for a common variety when you should know it by heart after all these years.
VAMnicient (vam-nih-shunt) adj. The blissful state of having the knowledge of VAMs so deep that one no longer needs reference guides. Having this property lends itself to being called at all times of the day as a substitute for the guide itself. See Brian Raines.
VAMnoramus (vam-nuh-ray-muss) n. A seller who insists he has a rare VAM and argues with you when you try to politely explain that he is mistaken. "Alice courteously explained the dealer that his doubled LIBERTY 8tf was not the VAM-15 because it had the wrong reverse, but the VAMnoramus called her a moron, saying that the VAM-15 was all about the obverse and had nothing to do with the reverse."
VAMplicity (vam-plih-sih-tee) n. The act of concealing your VAM knowledge and allowing a dealer or emailer to explain to you what a VAM is, if nothing more than to amuse yourself. "Margaret was auctioning a common 8tf and was VAMplicitous when an emailer asked her for a closeup image of the reverse, 'informing' her that some of these coins have rare variety features. 'You don't say...please tell me more'..."
VAMprehension (vam-pree-hen-shun) n. The insecure feeling you have after you have cherrypicked a dealer’s stock and you just want to pay for the coins and get out before the dealer asks questions and figures out he’s selling gold for peanuts.
VAMtagonistic (vam-ta-goh-nis-tic) adj. Describes a collector who posts messages in public forums telling variety collectors that they are foolish to pay premiums for little pieces of raised metal and such. VAMtagonists refuse to acknowledge the subjectivity of collecting fervor and how the VAMtagonist's criticism can be applied to any collector of anything, including himself. To engage in any further discourse with the VAMtagonist is pointless, except to mention that even a mint mark is merely a piece of raised metal.
Varietease (vuh-ry-uh-teez) n. The early die state of a really huge die break. This is always the one you actually find. "I thought I had scarface, but it was just that darned 'break to the dot' EDS varietease."
Here are some concepts we all know for which I cannot find a humorous word:
() n. The philanthropic act of telling a dealer he has misattributed a VAM for sale, giving him the true VAM number, then seeing the same misattributed coin unchanged in his stock a few months later. He was obviously VAMbivalent.(2nd meaning)
() n. A dealer that has “a whole box of VAMs” that he did not bring to the show. This dealer invariably lives on the other side of the country from you.
Claude Vam Dam: Name i was called by the auctioneer everytime I showed up for a coin auction,or at a dealers booth.