Scribbling Scratches Varieties


Scribbling scratches varieties, found on some 1921-P, D, and S Morgans, show heavy curvy die scratches primarily in the tailfeather area above the arrow shaft and olive branch. Some also show scribbles in the left and right wings. Check out this 1921-P VAM-3EU example:
1921-P_VAM-3EU_scribbles_photo2.jpg

So, why do these varieties exist? Check out the reverse of this 1921-D VAM-16:
1921-D_VAM-16_no_scrib.jpg
Notice the sizeable empty, flat space. Scribbling scratches would fill such a void. As we all know, mint workers used engraved feathers in 1878 to fill tailfeather gaps. Scribbling scratches, although more haphazard, serve a similar purpose.

Leroy contends, "...mints made half-hearted attempt to fill in the over polished area around eagle's rt leg. No other reason for scribbling lines just in that area. Think possibly the workman who polished dies or inspected them used a fine stone to put lines into hardened die... An interesting case of purposely modified dies!!"

Many listed 21-PDS VAMs have scribbling scratches. For those listed for other die features (doubling, die breaks, gouges, pitting, etc.), scribbles are merely mentioned in the official description for the variety. VAMs that are listed for scribbles alone are considered "subvarieties" of the VAM-1 for each date/mint or, for 1921-P D2A reverse (16 berry), subvarieties of VAM-3.

Scribbles are extremely useful when studying die stages and to confirm attributions.


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