Few coins bring to mind the wild, wild West more than Carson City
Mint Morgan dollars.
They were struck in just 13 years between 1878 and 1893, making
them an attainable short set for collectors. Thanks to the General
Services Administration (GSA for short) sales in the 1970s, a healthy
quantity of common issues (specifically 1882-CC, 1883-CC and 1884-CC)
exist in Mint State grades to meet collector demand.
For example, an 1882-CC Morgan dollar in its original black
plastic GSA case and graded MS-62 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. sold
for $170 at a recent auction. Alternately, a nice Very Fine example of
this common CC dollar not in a GSA holder might cost a collector $120
or so, making the Mint State example a solid value by comparison.
Examples not found in large quantities in the GSA hoard, such as
the 1879-CC and the 1889-CC dollars, have remained scarce and
expensive. An entry-level Mint State 1879-CC Morgan dollar will
approach $6,000, while solid Very Fine examples can approach $300.
The 1889-CC coin is a key to the regular issue Morgan dollar
series, with a mintage of 350,000. Although the mintage of the 1885-CC
dollar is lower at 228,000, as is the 1881-CC issue at 296,000, few
1889-CC dollars were in the GSA hoard and any example is coveted —
Mint State examples especially.
For the 1889-CC dollar, even the most worn examples in About Good
approach $400. A Very Fine 25 example brought $1,175 at a recent
auction while an Extremely Fine 40 dollar sold for more than $3,000 at
auction earlier this year. Many circulated 1889-CC dollars have
problems such as improper cleaning and damage. That, coupled with the
presence of deceptive fakes, makes third-party certification of this
The entry point for Mint State examples of the 1889-CC Morgan
dollar is represented by an ANACS MS-61 coin with light toning that
brought $15,275 earlier this year at a Heritage auction. A bright NGC
MS-63 dollar realized $41,125 at a Feb. 7 Heritage auction.
For exceptional 1889-CC Morgan dollars, the sky is the limit, as
evidenced by the astounding Professional Coin Grading Service MS-68
example that brought $881,250 at an Aug. 15 Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction.
The creme de la creme of Carson City Mint Morgan dollars may be
the coveted and rare branch Mint Proofs. They’re typically from 1884
and 1893 and are somewhat mysterious issues.
They generally look like contemporary Proof dollars produced at
the Philadelphia Mint and, as they’re studied more, their acceptance
in the marketplace seems to grow. One of around four known Proof
1884-CC Morgan dollars, graded Proof 66 Cameo by NGC, sold for
$176,250 at an Aug. 9 Heritage auction. A few days later Stack’s
Bowers sold an NGC Proof 66 Cameo 1893-CC dollar for $323,125. ■