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What Does This VAM Mean? "Normal Die"

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 Posted 09/08/2018  12:19 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add LibertyEagle20 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

Just curious what a "normal die" VAM means. If it's normal.. how is it a variety
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 Posted 09/08/2018  2:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jst1dreamr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am not sure but it makes sense to me that normal would still be a variety without issues. Call it the Die variety guide line.
Edited by jst1dreamr
09/08/2018 3:02 pm
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 Posted 09/10/2018  2:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add dave700x to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Silver dollars are created by striking metal blanks with hardened dies containing the mirror image of the desired pattern. Through careful study, slight differences can be used to identify specific dies that created the coins. Sometimes these differences occur during the creation of the dies, while other times they are caused by the maintenance or use of the dies.
Extensive research on the variations in the dies used to strike silver dollars was published 44 years ago by Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis. Their work centers on Morgan dollars that were minted by the United States Mint from 1878 through 1904 and the resumed again in 1921 and Peace dollars issued from 1921 through 1935. The term VAM is an acronym for "Van Allen - Mallis."
The goal of the VAM system is to number and catalog every known die variety by date and mint mark. To this end, every Morgan dollar in existence is either already a VAM or should be a VAM. This is a continuous process, and new varieties are continually discovered and added to the list.
VAM-1 is always the normal die state for a specific date/mint and has no distinguishing characteristics. Die varieties that can be distinguished from each date/mint's VAM-1 are subsequently numbered incrementally (VAM-2, VAM-3, etc.) Sometimes a letter follows the number, i.e. VAM-1A. A "lettered" VAM represents a later stage of the numbered die that has a die gouge, major die crack, pitting, die clash, or any other result of a post-die-production occurence that can be shown to have changed the die. Like VAM numbers, letters are also assigned in a one-up fashion.
Keep in mind that VAM numbers for a specific date and mint mark are exclusive to that date and mint mark. There is no crossover. For example, an 1880-O VAM-2 does not have the same distinguishing characteristics as a 1882-S VAM-2. To know the die features that each VAM designation (number) shows, it is thus essential to have the appropriate reference books.
In 1996 Michael S. Fey, Ph.D. and Jeff Oxman published the Top 100 VAM Keys. This pocket reference book pinpointed the most highly sought Morgan dollar die varieties. The popularity of the book created a boom in interest in Morgan dollar die varieties that is still expanding today, eighteen years later. The VAM craze has fostered a concurrent increase in the discovery and cataloguing of new die varieties. In addition, new lists of desirable varieties (Hot 50 Morgans, Peace dollar Top 50) and research manuals of specific dates/varieties (1878 eight tailfeathers, 1878 7/8 tailfeathers, 1921-D die breaks) have been created to satisfy the seemingly unquenchable thirst of VAM enthusiasts.

This was taken from VAMWorld 2.0 as the answer to the question "What is a VAM?"
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