Morgan Dollar VAM Variety Silver Dollars
Forty years ago, extensive research was published by Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis on the variation of the dies used to strike Silver dollars. The term VAM is an acronym for “Van Allen-Mallis”.
Silver dollars are created by striking metal blanks with hardened dies containing the mirror image of the desired pattern. Careful study can reveal slight differences to identify specific dies that created the coins. Sometimes these differences occur during the creation of the dies, while other times they are caused by the dies’ use.
The work of Van Allen and Mallis focuses on Morgan Dollars minted by the U.S. from 1878 to 1921 and Peace Dollars issued from 1921 to 1935. The goal of the VAM process is to number and catalog every known die variety by date and mintmark.