Longstrider's Blog

10 Jan 2020


Coins-United States | Longstrider

This, my newest blog, is going to take a small turn. As many know I am working on collecting the Peace Dollar Top 50 and Elite 30 collections. This is different but almost the same. In the photos you will see my example of a Morgan Dollar Top 100 VAM-5. It is an 1882-O/S from the Oregon Collection graded AU 58 by ANACS. Even though I love Peace Dollars I also enjoy Morgan’s and have a few. This one is special to me as it was gifted to me by the Oregon Collection Guy. Thanks Scott. He may have been trying to get me out of “The Dark Side” as Morgan collectors call us Peace Dollar guys.

21 Jul 2019


Coins-United States | Longstrider

I am going to be very honest here and tell everybody this blog is a DIRECT COPY from VAM World 2.0. The only reason I am doing this is because I get many messages from members here, asking me what a VAM really is. Now these people could just go to this site, I always source, to find out but they don’t. I wish I could give back any points but one can’t do that. So, here you go:

19 Jul 2019


Coins-United States | Longstrider

Today a fellow member informed me of a new congressional bill just introduced. It is the 116th Congress H.R. #3757. This bill would basically mandate the striking of a commemorative issue Peace dollar or Morgan dollar with a date of 2021. Congress will decide which. I have attached the first page of it. There is also an article at Coin World that talks about it. Here is a link to that:https://www.coinworld.com/news/us-coins ... -city-mint I have mixed feelings about this and was wondering what other people thought. Thanks.

19 Jun 2018


Coins | Longstrider

Today what I would like to be doing is standing in the air conditioned store of my coin dealer with a load of cash in my little hot hand and my wife/conscience not there to rein me in. That’s not going to happen so I am going to show you all the last coin I purchased from him. Below is my 1883-O Morgan Dollar. It is rated as an MS 64. If the pictures show it, you can see it has an unusually strong strike on the reverse. The eagles breast is high with lots of feather definition. Not usually the case from the new Orleans mint. If you have been kind enough to have read some of my past blogs, you will now I am drawn to Peace and Morgan dollars with nice toning. The reverse of this specimen has red, gold and blue on it. It appears another coin was laying across it giving it the crescent moon look. A favorite of mine. The colors, mostly the blue, are starting to come across onto the obverse. Mostly present across the date and some of the lettering on top with the entire obverse has a light golden tone.

06 Jan 2018

HOT LIPS but not Margaret

Coins | Longstrider

Below I have my example of one of my favorite coins. It's a 1888-O DDO. It's not on the label, and it should be, but this is a VAM-4. The much sought after Hot-Lips!! I know it is a bit hard to see due to the lower grade but this VAM helped start everything. Besides being a Top 100, which I explained on earlier blogs, it is a WOW! Variety. The WOW"s are a set of 60 very spectacular varieties. Some are easier to get some are HARD! A complete set is very impressive! It has been said about the Hot Lips "Major Houlihan can't compare to this lovely lady!" That's a reference to the movie Mash for you YN's.

30 Nov 2017

1888 VAM-11A MORGAN TOP 100

Coins-United States | Longstrider

Today I would like to share one of my Morgan dollar VAM's. Below I show aMorgan 1888 VAM-11A DBL EAR TOP 100. Now allow me to decipher. This is a Morgan dollar minted in 1888 in Philadelphia hence no mintmark. It is a VAM 11-A which means it has a doubled ear. It also has an incused "n" and a partial incused "I" of "in" next to the head/neck area of Liberty. There are also heavy incused die clash marks around her lips. All these incused marks were created when the top and bottom die "clash" together with no planchet between them. The Top 100 is a list of, in this case, 100 Morgan varieties. It was created in 1996 to help get VAM collectors refocused into collecting only the most popular and significant varieties. It was hoped to stop"micro-vamming" which is the search for lesser, insignificant varieties. It has been a huge success as there are tons and tons of VAM Morgan and Peace dollars. This AU 58 is enclosed in an ANACS holder. ANACS is very common for grading and encapsulating VAM varieties, that the other 2 major third party graders will not. I also chose this coin for the nice toning around the edges and rim of the coin. I like the grade, AU 58, as it is still almost mint state, yet I can imagine objects or services this Morgan may have purchased.. It still has quite a bit of luster and cartwheel on it.. Nice grade in my opinion. I won this particular coin at an auction for a very reasonable amount of money. I believe now is a good time to check out online auction, as many people are saving up for upcoming major shows like the FUN show in January. Thanks for looking. I hope you learned something new and enjoyed the photos. Please feel free to comment.

02 Nov 2017


Coins | Longstrider

Here is a nice example of the toning progression on a silver Morgan Dollar. To start with it is a 1880-S, graded MS 63 by NGC. This is one of the most common Morgan dollars out there with a mintage of 8,900,000. I purchased this particular coin as I feel it shows how the toning on these coins, Morgans, changes with age and where it was kept. It is also unusual in that both surfaces show toning. AS is typical, but not always, this coin started toning at the edges and rim. It became darker with age and lighter as it moved towards the center of the coin. Not unlike a rainbow. I'll let the reader name the colors as it's hard to describe. My wife is a floral designer and I haven't heard of half the colors she sees! The reverse has a bulls eye pattern on it, also not uncommon. I guess I'm trying to say that a certain coin can tone many different ways based on the metal content and the environment around it and how it was stored. With so many artificially toned coins out there it is important that the buyer have some knowledge of how the coin should look. Beware the work of the "Coin Doctor"! Just to make a point on this, one of the first and still widely used as well as effective substances used to artificially tone coins is human urine.. believe me when I tell you the 'trade" has come along way from that. In closing, knowledge is power. Take some classes, read some books. A professionally slabbed coin is not a guarantee of everything is on the up and up..Not anymore.. Thanks for looking. I hope you enjoyed this enough to do some research on your own. I look forward to your comments.

25 Oct 2017


Coins | Longstrider

Today I'd like to share with you one of my more colorful Morgan Dollars. It happens to be a 1881-O graded MS 62 by NGC. "O" mintmarked Morgans are some of my favorites. They seem to tone nicely. As you can see, this piece has all the colors of the rainbow on the reverse with gold color seeping around the obverse. It appears a piece of tape was put across this Morgan at some point. Most likely to hold it in an album. Interestingly, the coin began toning under the tape. I find specimens like this fascinating! This particular Morgan also has a nicer than average striking for "O" mintmarks. It even has nice defined breast feathers on the eagle. Not seen a lot on New Orleans strikes! With a mintage of 5,708,000 it is pretty common. In closing, I feel the strike and unusually toning make this otherwise common date Morgan noteworthy. As you can see from these photos, I would always opt for scratch resistant TPG slabs. Thanks for looking and, hopefully, commenting!

10 Oct 2017


Coins | Longstrider

Yes, it is possible. Most "O" or New Orleans mint Morgan Dollars are weakly struck. This, among other things, results in a flat chested eagle on the reverse. The breast feathers are almost lacking on some. I think this specimen shows a very well struck Morgan with defined eagle breast feathers. The 1885-O is one of the most common Morgan dollars in mint state. It had a mintage of 9,185,000 although untold millions were melted under the Pittman Act with more during the 1970's when silver prices rose. In 1938 the Treasury released 1,000 coin bags with millions more released between 1962-1964. I was luckly enough to find this specimen while looking for a 1885-O Morgan just for the mintmark to fill a hole in the Dansco album "Silver Dollar Date Set" # 7172. As you can hopefully see in the photos, there is some very nice toning on it. All in all I feel very lucky to find this MS-64 "O" Morgan with toning. A much nicer example than I was hoping for. Relatively cheap too. Thanks for looking. I look forward to your comments.

30 Sep 2017


Coins | Longstrider

I was sitting around today reading some older blogs on our site, not too old just not on the first page. I came across a blog written by CoinLady on 22 Sept. entitled "Good, Not About Good". It's a well written blog and I recommend everyone go back and read it. It got me to thinking about this Morgan Dollar I have and I decided to share it with everyone. It is a 1880 Morgan Dollar rated VG-10 and an attribute of VAM -19B. A lot of people wouldn't want such a low grade and common date Morgan. Personally I found it to be Fantastic. Besides being a VAM, I think it looks beautiful. Looking so nice after all these 137 years is a testament to the skill of everyone that helped to mint it. From George T. Morgan all the way down to the person that bagged it. Do you think a coin minted today will look this good in 137 years? I don't. Rich silver color with the dark toning makes one want to hold it and feel the smoothness of it. Even with all the wear and use it received it still boldly shows all its engraving nicely. Miss Liberty, the stars, lettering and date on the obverse along with the wreath, lettering and courageous eagle on the reverse are still bold and easily read. Now as to the VAM 19B. There are several things that should be can be seen on a 19-B but have disappeared with time and use on this particular Morgan. The one attribute that still stands out and can be seen with the naked eye is the spike going through her hair above her forehead. I will leave it to the reader to research the rest of the attributes. Let's call it a little homework. All in all, while not for everybody, I am very happy and proud to own this Morgan Dollar. It has character and has a secret history of ownership and use that only it can tell. I hope you enjoy looking at it. I look forward to your comments.


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