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Our monthly article
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of United States Rare Coins

August 2013

Carson City Coins Reaching New Heights

NGC Certified GSA Carson City Morgan Dollar
NGC Certified
GSA Carson City
Morgan Dollar

     Some of the most popular collector coins over the last five years have been the Carson City Mint issues. Since NGC began to certify Carson City Morgan Dollars in the original GSA holder, the CC market has taken off. Here is a list of five of the more active GSA Carson City Morgan Dollars certified by NGC with the FMV from August 2008 compared to the current FMV. We have also included the dollar amount of the increase and the number of coins certified for the grade.

Date/GradeAug. 2008 FMVCurrent FMVIncreaseNumber Certified
1878 CC GSA MS66$6,930$14,060$7,1303
1879 CC GSA MS65$40,200$53,130$12,9306
1880 CC GSA MS67$23,440$31,880$8,4401
1881 CC GSA MS67$9,380$16,250$6,87023
1885 CC GSA MS66$3,300$4,690$1,390271

     The total FMV for these five coins back in 2008 was $83,250 as compared to the current FMV of $120,010. And it would be rather unlikely that you could actually purchase all five of these coins today. Specifically, the 1880 CC in MS67 is a one of a kind coin and the owner is probably going to want a lot more than the current FMV of $31,880. In addition, there are only three 1878 CC’s in MS66; like the 1880 CC, they are probably not available.

     Of the five coins only the MS66 1885 CC is within reach at the current FMV. The future upside for any of these five coins looks just as bright. Maybe the 1885 CC and the 1881 CC won’t increase at the same rate as they did over the last five years, but all five coins have wonderful potential based on current demand and today’s economic atmosphere.

     Not only are the GSA Carson City Dollars hot, so are all of the Carson City denominations. Recently we have noted the strong demand for Twenty Dollar Liberties from the Carson City Mint. Another series that has created quite a stir among collectors is the Seated Half Dollar. There are a total of ten Carson City Half Dollars from 1870 CC to the 1878 CC. The 1870 CC is very rare with only 164 coins total certified by both PCGS and NGC in circulated grades from G4 through AU58. In Mint State, there are only three coins total, two in MS62 and one in MS64. The following chart shows all of the Seated Halves minted in Carson City. For consistency we listed the AU58 grade for every date, along with the original mintage, the current FMV, the number of coins certified in AU58, and the total of all coins certified in Mint State.

Current FMV
# Certified
Total #
Coins Grading Higher
1870 CC54,617$61,88013
1871 CC153,950$11,560105
1872 CC257,000$10,56074
1873 CC N/A122,500$10,690519
1873 CC W/A214,560$5,4401532
1874 CC59,000$11,8101324
1875 CC1,008,000$99029120
1876 CC1,956,000$69046162
1877 CC1,420,000$63024277
1878 CC62,000$10,310820

     As you can see, there are only three dates that are so-called common and reasonably priced in AU58. The total FMV for the ten coins in AU58 is $124,560. Again, some of these dates may not be available at these prices; the population numbers emphasize that point.

     The current FMV for a 10 piece set in MS62 is $287,460. The 1870 CC has FMV values listed only in MS60 and MS62. Three of the dates have just two coins certified in MS62 and one, the 1878 CC, there is only one coin in this grade. So putting together a complete set in the highest Mint State grade of MS62 is possible but maybe improbable. Yet, this does not limit collectors from putting together sets of the best grades available for the money.

     Taking a look at the number of certified Mint State coins by date, the most common coins are the 1875 CC, 1876 CC, and 1877 CC. All three dates had an original mintage over one million. However, the majority of these coins grade MS60 to MS64.

The 1877 CC has 35 coins listed in MS65; ten coins grade higher. There is only one in MS68.

The 1876 CC has 22 coins listed in MS65; nine coins grade higher. There is only one in MS68.

The 1875 CC has 7 coins listed in MS65; only three coins grade higher, all in MS66.

     With only 86 coins in MS65 and higher for these three common dates, it would not take a lot effort for dealers and collectors to make this market move substantially over the next few years.

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