Carson City silver dollars have several stories

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1893-CC Morgan dollar. (Images courtesy of usacoinbook.com.)

Behind every silver dollar in Carson City, there’s a story. In many cases, there are multiple stories.

It is almost typical that the 1893-CC, while the last regular Morgan dollar produced at the Carson City branch, was not the last Morgan dollar to bear a “CC” mint mark. In 1900, dies salvaged from the Carson City factory were used in New Orleans to create the fascinating 1900-O/CC Morgan dollar.

The 1900-O/CC was sort of a fluke. The 1893-CC was no accident, but the last in the line of dollars produced by a relatively short-lived branch of the mint that became known for its silver dollars.

Collectors could easily be forgiven if they had the mistaken notion that the Carson City Mint only produced dollars. In fact, Carson City produced silver and gold coins. It made sense. Small amounts of gold were associated with the huge silver deposits known as the Comstock Lode.

The Mint’s Carson City branch got off to a slow start during the Civil War. We knew that there were large deposits of metals waiting to be exploited. It was also known that moving this silver ore to San Francisco was expensive. While the region was not in desperate need of coins, a way to process the huge amounts of cash was needed.

The bill to establish a branch of the mint in Nevada was passed on March 3, 1863. There was, however, no immediate action. It was in the middle of the civil war. This is probably why it took until December 1865 before a group of three Nevada citizens were allowed to choose a location.

Then things accelerated, even if the development of the new building took time. Also, parts were not a priority. Official reports suggested that the overriding need was to turn huge amounts of silver into bullion.

On January 8, 1870, the Carson City Mint was finally open for business. The first silver dollar bearing the famous “CC” mintmark appeared that same year. Befitting a Carson City silver dollar, the 1870 CC Seated Liberty dollar had a low mintage of 12,462. Suitable for the generally chaotic conditions of the Carson City Mint, it is found with many varieties of mintmarks.

The 1870-CC began what was to be anything but a quarter century of silver dollar production. Although generalizing can sometimes be a mistake, it is safe to suggest that Carson City generally produced small amounts of silver dollars compared to other facilities. Dollar production ceased after 1885 and did not resume until 1889.

By the time dollar production resumed in 1889, the future of the Carson City Mint was sealed. It was not necessary. He was in poor condition. Final production was in 1893, which in the case of dollars was a mintage of 677,000 coins. Relatively few were later discovered in treasury vaults, making the 1893-CC one of the best CC Morgans.

The large bounties ordered by the 1893-CC are, however, largely because it is a Carson City dollar that was not in the Treasury sold by the GSA. This is why the 1893-CC is much stronger in uncirculated grades than a lower draft 1885-CC. The 1885-CC was more heavily represented in government stock.

In short, the 1893-CC is not only a Carson City Morgan dollar, but also a tougher dollar. Added to these facts is the important fact that the 1893-CC is truly an historic dollar, the last in the line of famous Carson City silver dollars.

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