Dr. Sol Taylor

Jeff Oxman, Silver Dollar Expert

By Dr. Sol Taylor
"Making Cents"
The Signal
Saturday, September 23, 2006

Jeff Oxman
Author Jeff Oxman discusses his passion for Morgan and Peace dollar varieties at the November 2007 meeting of the Verdugo Hills (Calif.) Coin Club. Photo: Leon Worden.
eff Oxman, whose collecting interests have spanned almost five decades, is a well respected numismatic author, collector, lecturer and researcher. For the past 25 years, his primary focus has been Morgan and Peace dollars, where he has devoted his energies to discovering, writing about and attributing the more than 3,000 known die varieties. As a result of his research, Oxman is often called upon for his silver dollar expertise by numismatic trade papers, coin collecting organizations and grading services.
    A turning point, both in his collecting career and in the collecting of U.S. silver dollars, came in 1988, when he and a small group of U.S. silver dollar specialists banded together to form the Society of Silver Dollar Collectors. Catering to the interests of those interested in Morgan and Peace dollar varieties, that organization today is at the vanguard of U.S. silver dollar collecting.
    Oxman's writing talents have been showcased on a number of occasions as guest columnist for the "Collectors' Clearinghouse" pages in Coin World, as well as co-commentator for a featured article on silver dollars in the Coin Dealer Newsletter (GreySheet). In addition, he has contributed articles for most of the club publications where he is a member, including a well-received articles on silver-dollar die varieties in the April 2000 issue of the ANA "Numismatist." Oxman has also served as editor of several numismatic publications, including the NASC Quarterly and the SSDC Research Journal.
    Jeff Oxman has contributed to a number of books and manuscripts about U.S. silver dollars, including writing an entire chapter in "The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia" by John Highfill, who received the Numismatic Literary Guild's Extraordinary Merit Award for his work. Oxman also contributed extensively to Q. David Bowers' award-winning two volume reference set, "Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States, A Complete Encyclopedia." And today, Oxman is involved in many of the upcoming projects dealing with the subject of U.S. silver dollars.
    In 1998, with the release of "The Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties, The VAM Keys," Oxman and co-author Michael Fey took VAMs to the vanguard of U.S. silver dollar collecting. By focusing on the 100 key die varieties in the Morgan dollar series, the impact was immediate. Now, thousands of hobbyists are enjoying the exciting specialty of VAM (die-variety) collecting, and in fact, it is one of the hottest areas of the current coin market.
    Also in 1998, Oxman began writing a series of Attribution Guides for silver dollar enthusiasts. The first release, with co-writer Les Hartnett, was titled, "The Morgan Dollar 8-TF Attribution Guide." It sold out in three weeks. This was followed by "The Morgan Dollar 7/8-TF Attribution Guide," now in its third printing. In 1999, Oxman and Chicago computer programmer John Baumgart broke new ground by developing a series of CD-ROMs with titles such as "The 8-TF Attribution Wizard," "The Top 100 Attribution Wizard" and "The Hot 50 Attribution Wizard," which introduced numismatics to the amazing cutting-edge technology of computer-assisted attributions. Other CD-ROMs have followed.
    In 2000, Oxman released "The Hot 50 Morgan Dollar Varieties," which presented "50 exciting new varieties that supplement the Top 100" listings. The "Hot 50" and "Top 100" labels immediately caught on and are now recognized as an integral part of Morgan dollar collecting.
    Oxman's latest effort is the best-selling book, "The Top 50 Peace Dollar Varieties," written with co-author Dr. David Close. Released in June 2002, this represents the first published book devoted exclusively to U.S. Peace dollars. After only three months, the book went into its second printing.
    Reflecting on his extensive contributions to the field of U.S. silver dollars, the National Silver Dollar Roundtable honored Oxman with its Man of the Year award in 1997, and he presently serves on the NSDR board of governors. These activities culminated in his receiving the NSDR Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 Florida United Numismatists convention, where Oxman's name was added to a select group of 11 other well-known silver dollar luminaries, including Leroy Van Allen and Wayne Miller, the developers of the VAM attribution system.
    Oxman remains active in a number of local, regional and national clubs, and is a frequent guest speaker. In addition, Oxman has developed a popular Web site, www.vamlink.com, which is the ultimate resource and clearinghouse of information for silver dollar collectors.
    What makes this busy specialist tick? For Jeff Oxman, it's the thrill and excitement of what he calls the "variety revolution." Like other specialists, Oxman believes the varieties of every coin series represent one of the last true frontiers of numismatics, and now, his every effort is focused on keeping Morgan and Peace dollars at the forefront of that revolution.

    Dr. Sol Taylor of Sherman Oaks is president of the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors and author of The Standard Guide to the Lincoln Cent. Click here for ordering information.