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NumisMedia Monthly Article Archive

Our monthly articles detailing specific areas of numismatics for dealers, collectors, and investors of United States Rare Coins

NumisMedia Article Archives
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NumisMedia Monthly

June 2012

The Carson City Mint

       One of the more fascinating areas of collecting in this current market is specific to the Carson City Mint. Within any denomination there are a very limited number of dates available, and further, the original mintages are typically very low. The history of the 'Wild West' intrigues many a collector, wanting a piece of times gone by. While there are numerous ways to structure a collection of this nature, it usually begins with a particular series and then becomes more precise as the collector learns about the different mints and mintages of every date. Throw in the population reports and the true rarity of each coin becomes more obvious. Two of the more popular denominations are the Morgan Dollar and the Twenty Dollar Liberty.

       There are 13 Carson City Morgan Dollars (many more if you add the varieties) and 19 different Twenties. The rarest Carson City Dollar is the 1889 with an FMV of $362,500 in MS65. There are just six coins certified in MS65 with only two higher. Some collectors go to a further extreme and acquire only GSA Carson City Dollars certified by NGC. To our knowledge there is only one coin known in the GSA holder dated 1889 CC; this has been certified by NGC as an MS62 DPL. This tends to limit the potential for completing this set so most GSA collectors just ignore the 1889 CC. For that matter, the 1892 CC and 93 CC are just as rare in the GSA holder. The rarest Carson City in the Twenty Dollar series is the 1870 CC with an original mintage of just 3,789; the highest FMV we have recorded is for the AU55 with an FMV of $572,000. While the 1891 CC has the next lowest mintage of 5,000 there are many Mint State coins grading as high as MS63. The FMV for the 1891 CC in MS63 is $70,880.

       Every denomination containing the Carson City Mint is a challenge to complete, especially as the grades improve. One of the most difficult series to complete is the Twenty Cents. There are only two coins in this series with the Carson City mint mark. The 1876 CC is virtually impossible to obtain because, although there were 10,000 minted, most of them were melted and never released. NGC and PCGS report only 21 coins total for all grades submitted for certification. There are only 8 coins certified in the MS65 and MS66 grades, some of which could be duplications having been resubmitted for a higher grade. This leaves only the 1875 CC as a viable acquisition for most collectors of the CC Mint in this series. The following graph shows the MS63 FMV for the last seven years.

       1875 CC Twenty Cent MS63
1875 CC Twenty Cent MS63

       This timeline indicates the FMV was $1,840 in July of 2005. It has increased nearly 150% since then to $4,590 this month. This is a date that has only 118 coins certified in the MS63 grade combined at NGC and PCGS. The next graph shows results for the MS64. As you can see it had an FMV of $3,590 in July 2005; it is currently at $5,560, a gain of almost 55%. NGC and PCGS list a total of 204 coins in MS64. With nearly 100 coins more than the MS63 this could partially explain why the MS64 has not advanced as much as the MS63.

       1875 CC Twenty Cent MS64
1875 CC Twenty Cent MS64

       The final graph shows the recent history of the MS65 1875 CC. The FMV was $9,560 in July 2005 and ran as high as $14,060 in April 2009 before falling back to the current FMV of $11,940. This is still a gain of 25% since July 2005. The number of coins certified by NGC and PCGS is a combined 52 in MS65. There are only eight graded higher in MS66.

       1875 CC Twenty Cent MS65
1875 CC Twenty Cent MS65

       The current FMV for the 1876 CC in the three grades reported are MS63 - $187,500, MS64 - $218,750, and MS65 - $281,250. As we mentioned earlier, these coins are rarely offered in the marketplace. It takes some real convincing to get a collector to part with this particular date.

       The 1875 CC has been a very popular date for many years. Since 2005, nearly every grade from Very Good to MS63 has increased 100%. The demand has been quite strong and, from the looks of the collector market, the Carson City Mint will continue to attract additional new collectors.

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