Carson City Morgans Play a Key Role|
March 05, 2014
The Carson City Mint plays a prominent role in this issue of Coins. Mark Benvenuto looks at some moderately priced Carson City Morgans, Bart Bartanowicz mentions CC Morgans in his “Coin Tales” column and Mike Thorne briefly comments on them in “Basics and Beyond.”
Having written extensively on the so-called “Crime of 1873” and its connection with the Comstock Lode, in Nevada, I have a soft spot in my collecting heart for this famous Western mint. It opened in 1870, during the silver boom in Nevada (the Big Bonanza was struck in that decade), and the mint began producing CC mintmarked coins that same year.
A reawaking of interest in the coins that came from its presses came in the 1970s and 1980, when the government decided to dispose of the remaining 3 million or so silver dollars it was holding (primarily uncirculated CC dollars) in a series of sales to the general public. I covered them in detail in a chapter of my book, Crime of 1873: The Comstock Connection (Krause Publications, 2001) from which the pertinent chapters were reproduced on a DVD KP released some years later, titled “Silver Fever: The Comstock Lode to the Carson City Mint.” Both of these sources are no longer available from KP, but the book can certainly be found through used book sellers and possibly the DVD as well.
I mention them because, if you want a recap of the famed General Services Administration Sales of these dollars, it should be a good reference, as I compiled the history from the pages of Coins’ sister publication, Numismatic News and other sources.
The GSA sales, besides being a fascinating part of collecting history, also serve as a good lesson that mintages don’t always tell the story of how scarce a coin might be. Just look at the dollars in that sale. What could be considered a very low mintage, 228,000 for the 1885-CC Morgan dollar, isn’t that exciting when you learn that 148,285 these were part of the GSA sales. That means the majority of mintage remains in mainly uncirculated coins. Upward potential for this date and mint is thereby hampered.
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