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I Have A VAM Question For This Group ..... Help Me Here Please

 
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Valued Member
United States
453 Posts
 Posted 01/11/2021  12:32 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add KauaiHawaiiGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I understand what a VAM is, but I don't understand the why, why does it matter and why do people collect them. Since there are hundreds if not thousands of VAMs. I assume that makes them far less valuable then just a rare mint error coin like a 1890 CC tailbar vs a regular 1890 CC.

I just love Morgan and Peace dollars and that's why I collect them. I buy only ungraded coins and have posted over 260 that I own over at the Classic and Colonial coin grading forum asking for opinions. Occasionally some folks have mentioned that this or that Morgan was a certain VAM, or at least thought it was. Sometimes I looked and saw that they were correct in their assessment. But I've never taken the time to look through all 260 to see just what all VAMs I might have.

So here's the real question I have for this group. Except for very rarely when I was completely fooled by the auction pictures, I don't sell. I bid on Silver Dollars and buy them because I like to collect Morgan and Peace dollars, so why should I check and why should I care what VAMs I have? What is the point?
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United States
4281 Posts
 Posted 01/11/2021  1:01 pm  Show Profile   Check chafemasterj's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add chafemasterj to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have wondered about VAMs as well. Thank you for asking.
Check out my counterstamped Lincoln Cent collection:
http://goccf.com/t/303507
Pillar of the Community
United States
1711 Posts
 Posted 01/11/2021  1:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I didn't know anything about VAMs either. Have since become a big fan after asking about this coin a few years back. How much would you say this coin would bring at auction?


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United States
2792 Posts
 Posted 01/11/2021  7:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SeatedNut to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This is not an easy question to answer, but I'll try to hit the highlights. First read the sticky at the top of the page.

VAM refers to the catalog designation for the obverse and reverse die pairing and not to individual anomalies on the coin itself. There are countless VAMs because the mints used countless dies to make Morgan and Peace dollars. Probably 90%+ have no value over any other coin of the same date and mint mark. But those with low populations and high collector interest (see VamWorld for the I=interest and R=rarity values for each VAM) an I5/R7 coin is usually worth mucho deniro. Another factor for value is the Top 100/50 Hot 30 sets (there are other sets). Vammers compete to have the most complete and highest graded sets. They will spend some money to fill holes.


Quote:
I understand what a VAM is, but I don't understand the why, why does it matter and why do people collect them.
A sizable group of collectors embraced the effort of Leroy Van Allen and George Mallis. As knowledge grew, additional interest followed. Now that the major TPGs are involved, this obscure group has been legitimized. Motivation for Vammers run the gamut from pure learning and expanding the hobby, to set collectors and profiteers, or a combination of these.

There can be profit if your willing to work at it. I found an EBay offering for an 1880-P that the seller even described as "nothing spectacular" ... but I noticed something spectacular. I bought the coin for $40 and later sold that VAM 8 "Ears" for $4K.

If you haven't spent some time over on VamWorld, I would highly recommend you do.
Pillar of the Community
United States
682 Posts
 Posted 01/12/2021  4:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add suipakpaikungfu to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'll also throw it a thought... I'm too young to have been around the great treasury release
of mint sealed bags of silver dollars. VAMs are IMO the last treasure hunt you can actually
participate in. I can't tell you how many times I've turned $50-200 coins into $2000+ coins.
The thrill of the hunt is great! I will advise you that it's no easy thing to start looking for
the hard ones, it takes a LOT of time and effort to gain the skill level.
Pillar of the Community
United States
894 Posts
 Posted 01/12/2021  6:02 pm  Show Profile   Check Collects82's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Collects82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Most US series have specialists and enthusiasts that get into the details of the die parings. Early Coppers and bust half dollars are couple glowing examples where knowing the coins die parings is almost essential. In the world of Morgan / Peace dollars, it's the same thing.

I collect the year 1882. For the Indian cents there are a few varieties of RPD and MDP. I'm up to 4 of them so far!

For the 1882 dollars, there are 3 main 0/S OMM and a couple 0/0s that are notable die varieties. In MS, the O/S can be rather lucrative cherry-picks.

I personally love the major die clashes that can be found in the 1882-CCs. On these, the VAMers have identified the various die states as the die progressed from new to retired. These stages are sometimes collected too.

I understand these are all minor details, but it keeps the thrill of the chase alive. I think that hunt is what makes them fun and provides for a market to exist.
My hoard of '82s is up to 204! 218 BC x 1, 118 BC x 3, 18 BC x 1, 82 x 1, 182 x 1, 282 x 2, 382 x 1, 582 x 2, 682 x 1, 782 x 2, 882 x 1, 982 x 4, 1082 x 1 1182 x 8, 1282 x 2, 1382 x 1, 1482 x 5, 1582 x 13, 1682 x 15, 1782 x 57, 1882 x 49, 1982 x 33
Valued Member
United States
176 Posts
 Posted 01/12/2021  6:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add VAMsforMoney to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
IMHO, a lot of folks get into VAMming with the thought of making big bucks. While making a buck or two is possible, I do not know anyone who makes their living off of VAMming. While some supplement their income off of the hobby, they rely on other sources of income to pay the mortgage.

But it is fun if you go about it the way that makes most sense for you. I have been VAMming for 20 years and still find it an interesting hobby.
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