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Comstock ‘Mint Drops’
By Robert R. Van Ryzin, Coins Magazine
December 12, 2013

This article was originally printed in Coins Magazine.
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Last month I wrote about the Comstock Lode and about my visiting a great website devoted to Virginia City, Nev., news. This month, I’m doing it again.

I mentioned in the January issue of Coins that www.virginiacitynews.com, edited by Karen Woodmansee, ran a piece from the July 9, 1878 issue of the Virginia Evening Chronicle relating the events on the day when workers broke through the wall separating the tunnel from the silver-rich mines of the Comstock. The story of the tunnel and of its namesake, Adolph Sutro, is fascinating. But having covered that in the last issue, I probably wouldn’t have brought this website up again, except that the latest postings are coin-related.

Under “Carson City Dollars,” from Nov. 6, 2013, Woodmansee picked up articles from February 1870 issues of the Carson Daily Appeal. Collectors will remember that 1870 was the year the Carson City Mint opened for business and that any Carson City coin from that year is a fantastic collectible—some being downright rare.

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“CARSON MINT DOLLARS have made their appearance,” starts one posting on the site, dating to Feb. 8, 1870. “They are notable coins for several reasons. In the first place they are a living refutation of the old, carping prediction that there never would be any money issued from the Carson Mint; and in the second place they are the only silver dollars that have been minted for several years.”

A Feb. 12 article tells of “MINT DROPS” and how Col. Abe Curry (first Carson City superintendent) and another were spotted on the street “with a half bushel bag full of silver dollars.” An additional story, from Feb. 15, relates that “Col. Curry minted some ten thousand dollars in gold tens yesterday at the Carson Branch Mint. This begins to look like business.”

The figure for the $10s is high considering a mintage of less than 6,000 of that denomination that year. But wouldn’t it be great to go back in time for one of these or the other rare CC coins from that year. The $20 had only 3,789 minted, the gold $5s had less than 7,000 and the dollars, mentioned as part of the bushel basket spotting, were less than 12,000. Happy collecting.

 

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