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All Posts Tagged With: "Carson City Mint"

US Coins: Those Magical CC Morgans

By Jim Fehr – The Winning Edge

Coins disappearing as collectors and investors buy rarities
Hello, all. This article has be updated with new PCGS and NGC census and pricing information as of September 2010. Hope you enjoy.

There are over one hundred and fifty new purchases in this issue of The Edge, so take a close look at this listing. There should be plenty to choose from whether you’re buying rare dates for your set or just starting out.

The market is good – stable prices and strong demand for rarities along with an expanding collector base. In fact, an 1804 Class 1 Draped Bust Dollar just traded for $3.7 million at the Central States Numismatic Society coin convention in Rosemont, IL. It was a record breaking price for this particular 1804 dollar. It last traded for $475,000 in 1993!

The Carson City Dollars

Politically, the pro-silver factions in this country have always been very strong. The Bland Allison Act and Sherman Act in the late 1800’s required the U.S. Government to purchase large quantities of silver and coin it into silver dollars that, at the time, were not being used in circulation. Therefore, Morgan silver dollars flooded into the treasury vaults. In 1918 the Pittman Act was enacted in part, to sell off the excesses holdings of silver in the treasury vaults, not more than 350 million silver dollar pieces were to be melted. But pro-silver factions helped convolute the Pittman Act.

Due to their influence, one provision of the Pittman Act required the U.S. government to buy domestically one silver ounce for each silver dollar ounce the Pittman Act required be melted and sold. The silver was sold to England at $1 per ounce. In other words, as the government was buying up all the silver dollars in circulation and melting them, along with what was stored in the treasury vaults, they were also forced to replace the melted dollars with domestically bought silver bullion – which they then coined into the new 1921 Morgan silver dollars.

Yet, because of the domestic silver purchase provision in the Pittman Act, many of the silver dollars were never melted and in this way the government unintentionally kept a hoard of about 155 million silver dollars for over 40 years. Since silver dollars during the early 1900’s were used frequently only in Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, circulating Morgans dried up quickly.

Fast forward to Kennedy. From 1960 to 1964, the government suddenly released over 152 million silver dollars, at face value. The government was the last to learn that many of these coins were worth more than face value because they were prized by collectors. Three years later in 1967, silver prices were up enough to make any silver dollar worth over face value in bullion alone. Afraid to let go of any more too cheaply, the government held back 2.8 million of the lower mintage Carson City dollars.

Sen. Key Pittman – Nevada

On the last day of 1970, President Nixon signed into law the Bank Holding Company Act Amendments. The act authorized the General Services Administration to sell the 2.8 million Carson City dollars in any suitable manner, and thereby created the modern market for Carson City silver dollars. The treasury chose to market the CC dollars via several mail bid sales. There were five sales from 1972 to 1974, then two more in 1980. Minimum bid on 1882-CC, 1883-CC, and 1884-CC was $40-$42; minimum bid was $180 for 1880-CC, 1881-CC, and 1885-CC. (more…)

Some Further Thoughts on Carson City Double Eagle Gold Coins

By Doug Winter – www.RareGoldCoins.com

I’ve been working on a third edition of my book on Carson City gold coins. For some odd reason, I’ve been working from back to front, meaning that I’ve done the new research of double eagles before following this with eagles and half eagles. I’ve been able to uncover some really eye-opening new information on the rarity and price levels of Carson City double eagles and I’d like to share a few tidbits.

The last Carson City book that I produced was published in 2001, so almost a full decade has passed. My first impression about the market for Carson City double eagles is that it has become far, far more active than ever. Prices have risen significantly since 2001, especially for rarities and for high grade pieces.

In 2001, the five rarest Carson City double eagles in terms of overall rarity (i.e., total known) were the 1870-CC, 1891-CC, 1871-CC, 1878-CC and 1879-CC (these last two issues were tied for fourth rarest). In 2010, the five rarest Carson City double eagles in terms of overall rarity are the 1870-CC, 1871-CC, 1891-CC, 1879-CC and 1885-CC (these last two issues were tied for fourth rarest).

The 1870-CC has remained an extremely rare coin, despite a surprisingly high frequency of auction appearance in the middle part of this decade. I had previously thought 35-45 were known. Today, I think that number is around 40-50. This includes a number of low grade coins and at least five or six that are either damaged or cleaned to the point that can not be graded by PCGS or NGC.

The rarity of the 1891-CC seems to have diminished quite a bit. I think there are two reasons for this. The first is that I overestimated its rarity in 2001. The second is that a significant number of examples have been found in Europe and other overseas sources. This date hasn’t become plentiful in higher grades but it is far more available in AU50 to AU55 than I ever remember it being before.

The 1871-CC seems more available as well. In 2001, this issue was very hard to find in any grade and it was almost never seen above AU50. Today it is more available and the number of coins graded AU53 to AU55 has risen dramatically. I would attribute much of this to gradeflation as the majority of the 1871-CC double eagles that I see in AU53 and AU55 holders are “enthusiastically” graded, to say the least. In properly graded Mint State, the 1871-CC remains exceedingly rare.

A date whose rarity has become more apparent is the 1885-CC. In the 2001 edition of my book, this date was not even listed in the top six rarest Carson City double eagles. I now rank it as being tied for fourth along with the 1879-CC.

Everyone loves a sleeper, right? The dates that I believe are underrated (and undervalued) in the Carson City double eagle series include the 1872-CC, 1877-CC, 1882-CC and 1892-CC.

In higher grades (AU50 and above), the rarity scale of the Carson City double eagle series has remained remarkably consistent. In 2001, I stated that the 1870-CC, 1871-CC, 1879-CC, 1878-CC, 1891-CC and 1872-CC were, in that order, the six rarest issues. In 2010, I believe the six rarest are the 1870-CC, 1871-CC, 1878-CC, 1879-CC, 1872-CC and 1891-CC. In other words, the same six dates are still the keys in higher grades but there are now some minor changes in the order. (more…)

Carson City Double Eagles Gold Coins: An Introduction and Overview

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Carson City twenty dollar gold pieces, or double eagles, are the most available gold coins from this mint. Only one date in the series, the 1870-CC, can be called truly rare, although a number of other dates are very rare in high grades. Amassing a complete collection with an example of each date is an enjoyable pursuit. And if you decide not to include the 1870-CC because of its prohibitive cost, don’t despair; many collections do not include this date.

A collector of average means can put together a nice set of Carson City double eagles with the average coins in the Extremely Fine and About Uncirculated range. The collector will soon learn that only the 1870-CC presents a great challenge in terms of availability. There are an estimated 40-50 examples known in all grades. This means that no more than four dozen or so complete collections of Carson City double eagles could possibly exist. In comparison, the maximum number of Carson City half eagles that could exist is around five dozen while around three dozen (or a few more) eagle sets from this mint might be formed. In each series, the 1870-CC is clearly the “stopper” or key date.

The completion of an average quality Carson City double eagle set is somewhat easier than a comparable half eagle or eagle set, provided that the collector is willing to accept coins that do not grade Mint State-60 or better. There are just 19 dates required to form a complete set. Carson City double eagles are without a doubt among the most popular United States gold coins. Their large size, combined with their romantic history, makes them irresistible to many collectors. This fervent collector base is most evident when one examines the great popularity of the 1870-CC. This issue has increased dramatically in price and popularity since the last edition of my Carson City gold coins book was published in 2001. As this is being written (2010) there are a few examples actually available to collectors but a few years back it was nearly impossible to locate an 1870-CC double eagle at any price.

The greatest challenge for the collector of these coins is not finding specific dates but, rather, locating clean problem-free coins.

As with the other Carson City gold series, it is very challenging to pursue the double eagles in higher grades; in this case About Uncirculated-55 and higher. It becomes even more of a challenge when the collector demands clean, original coins with a minimum of bagmarks and abrasions. As a rule, CC double eagles are less rare in high grades than their half eagle and eagle counterparts (at least the issues from the 1870’s and 1880’s). This means that locating really choice coins is not as difficult as with the half eagles and eagles from the first decade of this mint’s operation. (more…)

US Coin Profile: The 1878-CC Gold Half Eagle

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Having just acquired one of the two or three finest known examples of this date (a PCGS AU58 that is illustrated below) I thought it would be interesting to share some information about one of my favorite half eagles from this mint.

The 1878-CC is among the rarest Carson City half eagles, both in terms of overall and high grade rarity. It is not nearly as well known as the 1870-CC and it doesn’t have the cult following that the rare and undervalued 1873-CC has. That said, it is still a coin that is very well respected by specialists.

A total of 9,054 were struck. When I wrote the second edition of my book “Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint” back in 2001, I estimated that there were just 60-70 known in all grades. A decade later this estimate seems a bit on the low side and I’d probably revise the total number known up to the area of 75-100.

As of May 2010, PCGS has graded a total of 64 examples in all grades with none in Uncirculated and a total of twenty in About Uncirculated including five each in AU55 and AU58. NGC has a total of 48 in all grades with one in Uncirculated (more on this in a second) and nineteen in AU including five each in AU55 and AU58. My previous estimate of just three to five known in About Uncirculated now seems very low but I believe that the PCGS and NGC populations for AU are significantly inflated by resubmissions. My best guess is that there are around ten or so properly graded AU’s known today.

A few years ago, an example graded MS63PL appeared on the NGC population report. I have never seen this coin and am assuming it is a data entry error. If it does actually exist, it is one of the most significant Carson City half eagles in existence and it is a coin that I would really like to view in person.

The finest 1878-CC Carson City half eagles that I have seen are a small number (around three or four) that grade AU58 by today’s standards. The all-time auction record for this date is Stack’s 5/08: 4235, graded AU58 by PCGS, that brought $63,250. (more…)

NGC Coin Grading: Highest-Graded 1872-CC $20 Double Eagle

This wholly original and beautifully struck specimen is one of the finest our graders have ever seen, and is now the highest-graded coin of the issue and the sole example at this level.

NGC graders are fortunate to have seen more coins than anyone, but they always take time to appreciate truly special coins. The unexpected encounter with this 1872-CC $20 is one such example. Wholly original and beautifully struck, it was instantly recognizable as the finest our graders had ever seen. It graded MS 62 , making it both the highest-graded coin of the issue and the sole example at this level.

Carson City Double Eagles are compelling coins. They combine their historical intrigue as coins of the pioneer West with their significant scarcity. The 1872-CC is the third $20 gold piece issue from the Carson City Mint. Since the 1870-CC is a major rarity and the 1871-CC is very elusive in all grades, the 1872-CC is, in contrast, considered to be “available” to collectors. Virtually all of the 26,900 struck likely entered circulation, and certainly fewer than 20 uncirculated examples survive.

Most 1872-CC double eagles show heavy bag marks; those that are spared heavy wear can exhibit a pleasing strike; however this example is particularly sharp and crisp. How this coin survived the rough handling that is typical of the issue is not known. After certification, NGC was informed that this example resided in a private family collection and was purchased in Europe during the 1920s only with a small group of similar era US gold coins.

More information on NGC and the services they offer can be found at the NGC Website

Proof 1884-CC Morgan Dollar Headlines Heritage’s Houston Auction

Classics of American coinage ready for Heritage’s final Signature® Numismatic Auction of the year, Dec. 3

1884-CC_dollar_ha_111309A rare and highly desirable branch mint proof 1884-CC Morgan dollar, graded PR66 Cameo by NGC, leads the list of highlights for Heritage Auctions’ December 2009 Signature® U.S. Coin Auction, to be held in Houston, TX. It is estimated at $140,000+.

Though the Carson City Mint had neither the personnel nor the resources to strike proof coins on a par with those produced at the main Philadelphia Mint, it did turn out a small number of special pieces, or branch mint proofs.

“In the second half of the 19th century Philadelphia struck virtually all proof coins,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “Only a handful of proofs were struck at branch mints such as Carson City – some with official authorization and some without. While this branch mint proof dollar does not appear in any official records, it is clearly unlike any Morgan dollar struck for circulation.”

Saint-Gaudens double eagles can be found near the top of the list for almost any U.S. Coin auction, and the Heritage Auctions Houston event is no exception. Of the double eagles to be offered in Houston is a 1925-D double eagle graded MS65 by PCGS, a gorgeous specimen that shows why artistry is as greatly desired as rarity. It is estimated at $70,000+.

“Like other D-mint and S-mint issues of the time, the 1925-D was almost completely wiped out in the 1930s,” said Rohan. “Any 1925-D double eagle is a desirable coin, and a Gem survivor such as this is of particular importance.”
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