1888-O VAM-1B "Scar Face" Die Break Obverse (late die stages only)

Discovered by Martin Field, February 1979.

This coin is a Top 100 and a WOW! Morgan VAM.

The progression of the die break is now recognized as die states 1888-O VAM-1B1, 1888-O VAM-1B2, 1888-O VAM-1B3, and 1888-O VAM-1B4.

1- 1888-O VAM-1B "Scarface". The mother of all Morgan Die breaks. This coin has a massive die break cutting right across Liberty's cheek. Typically found in baggy MS, most scarface coins apparently didn't circulate. Prices for this incredible naked-eye visible variety has exploded in recent years. This is a tremendously desirable coin with few samples available.
2- The 1888-O VAM-1B comes in a number of stages, most of which are early die state (EDS) coins that are not "Scarface". Most of these EDS stages are worth much less than a true "Scarface". Before you buy a coin that a seller claims is a "Scarface", please do your research so that you know what you're really getting. The link to the VAMview issue that has the article on the Harrison Stages of the 1B is - http://www.ssdcvams.com/VAMview9.pdf

LVA Plate Photos:

Additional Photos:
This photo shows a true "Scarface" with the die crack across the cheek:
external image scarface_pic.jpg

The reverse is also interesting for the "bearded" appearance of the Eagle because of a die clash.
external image 1888o_vam1b_rev.jpg

The VAM-1B also comes in an early die state (EDS), which has a few phases, including this one where the break stops near the dot between E and PLURIBUS
external image 1888_o_scarface_eds2.jpg
The EDS coins are worth much less than the LDS die break across the face
external image 1888o_vam1b_eds1.jpg

external image 1888o_vam1b_eds3.jpg

Since we're on the subject, please note that the coins in the two slabs shown below are not "Scarface". These are the early die state (EDS) of the coin that becomes Scarface. They are collectible but are worth much less than a real Scarface. Even though one of the slabs actually uses the word "Scarface" on the slab, the key is still the word "EDS".

Price History:

August 15, 2007 PCGS MS-62 $4500 VAMquest Auction 9, Lot 9034 (LDS Coin)
August 13, 2007 PCGS MS-64 $8000 Teletrade Auction 2407, Lot 1530 external image 1pixel.gif(Almost LDS Coin)
July 13,2006 PCGS MS-63 $5000 eBay Item #190008162141 (LDS Coin)
July 6, 2006 NGC MS-62 $3225 eBay Item #260003084142 (LDS Coin)

Condition Census:

As of October 2007 NGC had attributed 26 coins as VAM -1B.

ANACS Population
VAM-1B1 42 + 23 designated as early die state
VAM-1B2 5
VAM-1B3 39