US Coins

Deep Mirror Prooflike Morgan dollars in Legend sale

A group of flashy Deep Mirror Prooflike Morgan dollars from the Great Pacific Collection are set to dazzle at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ Regency Auction 62 on Dec. 7.

Professional Coin Grading Services uses the DMPL designation to recognize Morgan dollars graded Mint State 60 or finer that show substantial reflectivity and deep, even frosting on the devices of both sides. These were the first coins to come off the presses from a new set of dies, and at first glance they can resemble Proof coins.

Two 1879-CC Morgan dollars offered in sequence represent the two major varieties of the semi-key Carson City Mint issue with a modest mintage of 756,000. The 1879-CC Morgan dollar is bested in rarity among Carson City Mint dollars by only the 1889-CC and 1893-CC issues.

Lot 77 is an 1879-CC Morgan, Clear Mint Mark dollar graded PCGS MS-65 DMPL with a top estimate of $75,000. Legend writes that its mirrors are reflective at eight inches, well beyond the four inches that typically characterizes a DMPL Morgan dollar — and there is rich, thick frost on the devices.

The cataloger adds, “The mirrors do have some scattered tiny ticks — but none are serious and they are nothing out of the ordinary — even for an MS65,” noting that an insignificant “invisible tick” on Liberty’s face kept it from getting approval at Certified Acceptance Corp.

Lot 78 is an 1879-CC Morgan dollar of the traditionally if inaccurately labeled “Capped Die Mint Mark” variety, graded MS-64 DMPL by PCGS, that carries the same estimate. Also featuring 8-inch reflective mirrors, Legend comments that it resembles an 1880-S Morgan dollar — well known alongside the 1881-S issue as two of the finest-produced Morgan dollars in the series.

The “Capped Die” is one of the most recognized varieties in the series and Rusty Goe wrote in The Confident Carson City Coin Collector, Volume 2, that on the “Capped Die” examples, the Mint mark’s letters and surface around them are disfigured, “appearing as if someone really botched up the job.”

Goe adds, “Even though these crude diagnostics created a variety, which is the very thing that stirs the passions of variety collectors, Capped Die specimens usually do not generate the enthusiasm that Clear Mint mark specimens do.”

In the past few decades the inclusion of the 1879-CC Morgan, “Capped Die” Mint mark dollar as a distinct variety in grading service registry sets has placed demand on examples, causing prices to increase.

Rare DMPL 1893-CC dollar

Legend calls the 1893-CC Morgan dollar the rarest Carson City Mint dollar with a Deep Mirror Prooflike designation. Legend notes that the offered example — graded MS-64 DMPL by PCGS — is “FULL and legit.” Distinguishing it from the earlier 1879-CC Morgan dollars, the cataloger characterizes the 1893-CC coin as more of a silvery DMPL, instead of the hard mirrors that are seen on the earlier Carson City Mint DMPL dollars. While there is some haze on the subject offering, the contrast between the mirrored fields and frosty devices is strong. Legend calls it “for sure worthy of the finest DMPL Collection!”

A tidy mintage of 677,000 pieces marks the final Morgan dollar issue of the Carson City Mint, and Goe estimates that no more than 10 true DMPL 1893-CC Morgan dollars exist today. There are also several 1893-CC Morgan dollars that are considered “Branch Mint Proofs,” purportedly struck for a ceremony commemorating the closure of coining operations that Mint facility.

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