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1878 Morgan Dollar 7/0 TF MS-63 PCGS (VAM-31, Lines Thru Leg)

1878 Morgan Dollar 7/0 TF MS-63 PCGS (VAM-31, Lines Thru Leg)

The different Tail Feather varieties of 1878 show us how small details can often become big problems. Apparently, a bald eagle has an odd number of tail feathers. The dies for the first Morgan Dollars were engraved with eight tail feathers. After about 750,000 coins were struck, the error was detected. By then, it was too late to recall any of the coins that had already been struck, but the remaining 8 Tail Feather dies were corrected by over-punching them with a 7 Tail Feather hub, resulting in the 7/8 Tail Feathers varieties. The final issues of 1878 were of the correct 7 Tail Feather variety.

The VAM-45 is part of the 7/8 tail feather set, because it is a 7/0 reverse type. Although no tail feathers are visible, there is extensive doubling and die polishing around the eagles legs, definitive evidence of the conversion from an 8TF reverse die.

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