We Corralled a Collection of Carson City Morgans
By Brian Zweig
The Morgan silver dollar, for a number of reasons, is arguably the most popular of all United States coins. For one, they are big, beautiful coins. Their substantial size and beautiful design make them extremely impressive when viewed in the flesh. While attractive in all grades, they are especially pleasing to the eye in Uncirculated. Furthermore, they have a rich and fascinating backstory.
The coins exist due to an intriguing combination of silver discoveries in the West and political maneuvering. Despite their allure and charm, Morgan dollars remain extremely affordable. They are gorgeous, rare, and steeped in history—yet remain accessible to the average collector.
Perhaps the most historic and sought-after of all Morgan dollars are the Carson City issues. Built at the peak of the Nevada silver boom, the Carson City Mint was designed to convert metal from the massive Comstock Lode into coinage. The facility was only open and functioning for 21 years; it first opened in 1870, but production became extremely sporadic by the mid-1880s. A small number of coins were released from 1889-1893, but after that the facility closed. Today, all Carson City coins (featuring the distinctive CC mint mark) are considered highly desirable by collectors, regardless of date and grade.
Carson City silver dollars are extremely popular and typically get absorbed into the market quickly. That being said, we were able to secure a small number of CC dollar date sets in MS 65. These consecutive date sets are Uncirculated, virtually untoned, and hail from the apex of the Nevada silver boom. In today’s market, it’s difficult to find individual coins in the $2,500-$4,000 range with such deep numismatic importance, let alone in Mint State condition. These sets contain multiple historical specimens at an outstanding price level.
Although the silver dollar was a mainstay of American commerce in the late 1800's, it was deemed unnecessary for much of the 18th and 19th centuries. The silver dollar was first struck in 1794, but it was put on hiatus by 1804. The denomination returned in 1836 and mintages remained paltry throughout the 1830's and 1840's. Production levels increased in the 1850's and 1860's, but they were tiny compared to smaller silver coins. Demand was fiercest for half dimes, dimes and quarters; the larger silver denominations were not needed to the same degree. In fact, the silver dollar was put on hold again in 1873—but it would return soon thereafter thanks to the powerful mining lobby.
By the mid-1870's, a tremendous amount of silver was being extracted from the earth in Nevada. The market for silver soon became flooded and miners scrambled to find new customers for the metal. At the time industrial and household uses for silver were somewhat limited, so miners turned to the U.S. government. Thanks to their lobbying efforts, they convinced Congress to pass a bill mandating federal silver purchases. Known as the Bland-Allison Act, the legislature required the U.S. government to purchase between two and four million dollars’ worth of silver each year. President Rutherford B. Hayes rejected the bill, but congress overrode his veto and it became law.
There were two immediate after-effects of the Bland-Allison act. Firstly, US Mint engraver George T. Morgan was tasked with designing a new silver dollar. Coincidentally, Morgan had already been experimenting with a new motif for the half dollar, so he simply tweaked the design and reconfigured it for the silver dollar. Secondly, the Carson City Mint began converting large amounts of silver bullion into coinage.
Before 1878, the Nevada facility saw anemic production levels; coins of all denominations from the era are extremely scarce. flooded and miners scrambled to find new customers for the metal. At the time industrial and household uses for silver were somewhat limited, so miners turned to the U.S. government. Thanks to their lobbying efforts, they convinced Congress to pass a bill mandating federal silver purchases. Known as the Bland-Allison Act, the legislature required the U.S. government to purchase between two and four million dollars’ worth of silver each year. President Rutherford B. Hayes rejected the bill, but congress overrode his veto and it became law.
THE CURRENT OFFERING
In the 1880's, silver dollars were being struck in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and Carson City. The first three cities had thriving populations and were able to make use of the coins, but Carson City was a relatively small town by comparison. While it was convenient to have the silver extracted and converted to coin in Nevada, there was little commercial demand for the coins in that area. The nearest major population center was San Francisco, which already had a Mint. In 1885, coinage production temporarily ceased in Carson City. It resumed again in 1889, but then the Mint finally closed altogether in 1893.
We’re pleased to make available a small group of Carson City Morgan dollars from the peak of the Nevada silver boom. They range from 1878 (the first year of the Morgan dollar) through 1885 (the year the government temporarily halted production due to oversupply). All are graded MS65 by PCGS or NGC. As such they are Gem Uncirculated specimens with little or no toning. These enthralling keepsakes of the Wild West are a pleasure to study, hold, and own. Their substantial size, cartwheel luster, sharp strikes, and superb level of presentation make them visually stunning.
- The 3pc Carson City Essential Set: This mini-collection contains three (3) consecutive issues from the Carson City Mint’s heyday. Each set consists of an 1882-CC, 1883-CC, and 1884-CC Morgan Silver Dollar in Gem Uncirculated MS65 condition. We currently have twenty-two (22) sets available. At $1,349 per set with free shipping*, this is an outstanding way to own an instant “CC” collection at an extremely reasonable price point.
- The 7pc Carson City Master Set: These remarkable sets contain an 1878-CC, 1880-CC, 1881-CC, 1882-CC, 1883-CC, 1884-CC, and 1885-CC Morgan Dollar in MS65. Each collection has an impressive seven (7) different CC Morgans in Gem Uncirculated, including the important first-year-of-issue 1878-CC. Completing a set like this normally requires tremendous patience, but we’ve been able to assemble a small quantity for you. Your cost is $5,599 per set with free shipping*. We only have five (5) Master sets available, so act fast.
Carson City silver dollars may have been unpopular in the 1880's, but it is now one of the most actively sought-after items in all of numismatics. Their direct connection to Western history and the Comstock Lode make them prized collectibles. Despite being such popular and fascinating items, they remain shockingly affordable and accessible to the average collectors. There are endless coins that trade for tens of thousands of dollars that cannot boast such a rich historical backstory. Yet, we can offer multi-coin sets for substantially less.
In a nutshell, these Uncirculated Carson City silver dollars are an incredible amount of coin for the money.
So, if you would like to start your Carson City Morgan Essential or Master set, or add to your existing collection, then please call us at 800-831-0007 or email us today to lasso some of these silver dollar sets.
*Prices subject to change based on market fluctuation and product availability. The price reflected is for cash, check, or bank wire. Free shipping, handling, and insurance included. Offer is valid until Friday, December 21st, 2018, or until supplies last.