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PCGS Displays Unique "Hot Lips" Morgan Set at Long Beach

- April 29, 2008

The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) will display the only complete grading set of "Hot Lips" dollars, one of the most interesting of all the different varieties in the popular Morgan dollar series (1878 – 1921), at the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, May 29 - 31, 2008.

“Some Morgan dollars were struck at the New Orleans Mint in 1888 with a doubled die obverse that produced significant doubling of Miss Liberty’s lips, nose and chin. A faint second eyelid is also visible,” explained Ron Guth, PCGS President.

1888-0 VAM-4 photo by Rob Joyce
1888-0 VAM-4 photo by Rob Joyce
The unusual variety is listed as 1888-O VAM-4 (for the “VAM” reference book created by Morgan dollar researchers, Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis), but many collectors refer to it simply as "Hot Lips."

PCGS will display the Ashmore "Hot Lips" grading set during the show in the Long Beach, California Convention Center. The 21-coin set is owned by Ash Harrison, President of the Society of Silver Dollar Collectors and owner of Ashmore Rare Coins in Greensboro, North Carolina, who has assembled examples of this unusual variety in grades ranging from Poor-1 to Mint State-61, according to BJ Searls, Manager of the PCGS Set RegistrySM program.

Only two are certified PCGS MS-61, and none in higher grade by PCGS. The MS-60 coin in the set formerly was in Van Allen’s personal collection, and is the only Hot Lips variety example certified as Deep Mirror Prooflike (DMPL). With the recent acquisition of this unique coin, Harrison completed the years-long hunt to assemble the first-ever "Hot Lips" set for all reported grades.

"This variety is very hard to find in high grade About Uncirculated condition, and is ultra rare in Mint State. It’s listed among the Top 100 Morgan VAMs. The complete grading set has taken
seven years to assemble," said Harrison.

"Every known grade of the 1888-O doubled die obverse is represented in this set. The premise for assembling it was that I wanted a true PCGS Grading Set, and this is the only Morgan dollar die pair that I knew could be positively identified all the way down to Poor-1 condition. The lips on Lady Liberty are so prominently doubled that even a coin with no date or mintmark visible still can be identified from the die pair."

“The grading set was truly an impressive sight when it was shown at a meeting of the Society of Silver Dollar Collectors. Visitors to the Long Beach Expo display at the PCGS booth now will be the first to see the expanded Ashmore "Hot Lips" grading set in person and receive a complimentary, educational booklet about the intriguing 1888-O VAM-4 Morgan dollar variety,” said Searls.

For additional information about this and other VAM varieties, visit online at Information about the PCGS Set RegistrySM is available at
PCGS and Expos Unlimited, the organizer of the Long Beach Expo, are divisions of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

Article provided by PCGS at

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