1878-P VAM-41 7/8 Tailfeathers (7/7)
Discovered by Leroy Van Allen, December 1965. Reverse discovered by Neil Shaffer, November 1964.
This coin is a Top 100 Morgan VAM.
41 II 2 · B/Ak (7 TF) (180) I-5 R-5
Obverse II 2– Fourth right star has just part of point broken off.
Die marker - Diagonal die scratch up from top right cotton leaf. Also VAMs 34 & 39. Latest die state with further polished nostril and 4th right star plus clash marks.
Reverse B/Ak - Seven tail feather ends showing.
1. A change in the Morgan dollar reverse design, reducing the tailfeathers from eight to seven occurred. Some of the dies were modified rather than simply recreated with 7 tailfeathers and those 7/8 tailfeather dies show the remains of the older set below the new. The VAM-41 exhibits the strongest set of tailfethers tips sprouting below the standard 7. On the obverse, there is a die gouge from the cotton leaf to the fold in the cap that can be used as a marker to identify this VAM. Note this gouge is also present on the VAM-34 VAM-39 VAM-41 VAM-41B which share the same obverse die as
2. The 1878-P VAM-41B (Discovery 2003) shares the same reverse, but has clashed obverse lettering. Because it is the reverse 7/7 TF feature that makes the coin a Top 100 variety, the VAM-41B qualifies as a Top 100 coin.
3. The 1878-P VAM-41A and 1878-P VAM-41C come from the same reverse dies, but have been polished-down to only show a 7/4 tailfeather feature. These two therefore do not qualify for Top 100 status.
4. The letter suffixes of these VAMs are out of order relative to die progression only because they were discovered out of order.
LVA Plate Photos:
Full Coin Photos
Large Full Coin Copyrighted© VAM-41 Images on loan to VAMworld courtesy ©[Heritage Auctions] ATTRIBUTED BY John Roberts at ANACS
'John Roberts is the Director of Attribution Services at ANACS, a prolific writer of coin articles for Coin World magazine and numismatic books. 'He is a longtime collector of Morgan dollar varieties and is considered an expert in attributing Morgan varieties. We're very fortunate to have him contribute in this forum as [vampicker].