HomeGradingNGC Coin Grader Spots Rare Morgan Dollar Variety

NGC Coin Grader Spots Rare Morgan Dollar Variety

By Numismatic Guaranty Corporation

A recent bulk submission included a rare San Francisco 1921 Morgan Dollar hidden among nearly 1,000 other Morgan Dollars.

An NGC grader was examining a bulk submission of nearly 1,000 Morgan Dollars when one coin stood out. The submission comprised a variety of dates and most of the coins were in low grades. These coins might sell for anywhere from $30 to $300 after NGC certification.

The sharp-eyed NGC grader saw one coin though that he instantly recognized to be an elusive Morgan variety worth upwards of $1,000. At first glance this coin appears to be a 1921 Morgan Dollar struck at Philadelphia with no mintmark. However, it is actually a San Francisco 1921 Morgan Dollar with a nearly invisible outline of the “S” mintmark – a result of the coining die being filled with grease at the location of the mintmark.


The grader knew that the key diagnostic for this scarce variety was a raised die gouge between the B and U of PLURIBUS on the obverse, which is prominently seen on this example. Morgan Dollar varieties are attributed as “VAMs,” an acronym created from the first letters of the last names of Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis, the authors of the first reference book for Morgan Dollar varieties. This coin is attributed as 1921-S VAM-6B and is listed as one of the “Hit List 40” VAMs.


NGC offers its VarietyPlus® attribution service for major varieties of United States coins. To have a variety evaluated by NGC, simply select VarietyPlus on the NGC submission form. NGC publishes a complete list of varieties it recognizes along with helpful attribution tips and photographs on the NGC website under “NGC Research.” Visit the free VarietyPlus resource now >

NGC Dealers and Collectors Society Elite members can take advantage of bulk submission rates for eligible coin types. A bulk submission is considered to be 100 or more coins of the same type.

Numismatic Guaranty Company
Numismatic Guaranty Company
NGC was founded in 1987, and for coin grading, its opening heralded the introduction of a new standard of integrity. From the beginning NGC focused on only one objective, a standard of consistent and accurate grading. As NGC has grown to become the leader in third-party grading services, we have maintained a steadfast and uncompromising commitment to this standard. The knowledge, integrity and dedication of NGC's team of grading experts ensures you a level of grading consistency unparalleled among grading services. This record of consistency, built over the years, has helped to foster greater stability throughout the rare coin marketplace.

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  1. I think it would be worth it just for the joy of having a coin in a holder that almost says “1921 S(expletive)list.” Too bad the name “South Park Collection” is already taken in the set registry.


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