1921-D VAM-1D Die Break in Denticles (incorporated into 1921-D VAM-4)
Discovered by Jeff Oxman, December 1998 )
1D IV 1 D2a (Die Break in Denticles) (189) I-3 R-6
Reverse D2a- Heavy die cracks near top of eagle's right wing. Long die break next to denticles above F in OF and small die chip on top of M of AMERICA.
COMMENTS: February 2009 update: In response to a submission to potentially list the 1D for scribbling scratches, Leroy responded, "VAM-1D became VAM-4 with dot above olive leaves." Hence, it seems that the famous 1D is eliminated as the 1921-D VAM-4.
The VAM-1D variety has extremely heavy die cracks near the top of the eagle's right wing. Additionally, there are long die breaks in denticles above F in OF and a smaller die break touching the denticle above of M in AMERICA.
There are several breaks occurring on the late die state of the VAM-1D. Most noticeable is the large loop of metal coming off the denticles above the F on OF. Another die break emerges from the denticles above the M in America. Finally, the top right portion of the M has broken, enlarging the serif adorning the letter. For a short period of time, there was a VAM-1BA assigned as a break over the M of AMERICA. Jack Lee realized that this was actually an early die state of VAM-1D and the VAM-1BA assignment was retired in April of 2005 by Leroy Van Allen.
The reverse of this dollar has the appearance of a spider web, with die cracks around the eagle’s right wing. Unlike many other 1921-D coins with extensive reverse die cracking, the known examples of this coin do not exhibit many obverse die cracks. It is likely that the obverse die was mated to a reverse that was already in use. Die “pairs” were not always entered into service simultaneously. In the Morgan dollar series there are numerous examples of die successions that can be followed through their chain of use. The 1878 8-Tailfeather VAMs are one series that has had extensive research on die progression. Interesting work on the 1879-S reverse of 78 series has also revealed die progressions where a single die used on one side of a coin is retired and another takes its place to join the one already in service. No research on die progressions has been performed on the 1921-D production thus far.
This die variety also has a small dot in the eagle's right shoulder. Some Morgan researchers now believe that these small dots, found on many 1921 Morgan dollars, are the result of inferior die steel. Others have hypothesized that the dots are from hardness tests or used to uniquely identify a specific die. The mystery remains unsolved and the VAM-1D is one example of the strangely dotted dies
64P, 64N, 63A, 63S, 63R, 62A (Total: 11 MS, 33 Circ.)