Carson City’s First Silver Dollar Was Not a Morgan Dollar
By Allen Rowe - Northern Nevada Coin ……….
The Carson City mint is famous for the Morgan dollars that it produced, but they were not the first dollars struck at the Carson City mint. When the Carson City mint opened in 1870 the dollars of the day were of the Seated Liberty design. These dollars were struck at Carson City in limited amounts and only for four years until the United States instituted its newest dollar called a Trade dollar.
The seated dollars from Carson City are some of the hardest dollars to obtain in all of the dollar series. Mintage’s were paltry compared to other types of silver dollars or to other mint’s productions.
- In 1870 Carson City struck only 11,758 dollars. That was Carson City’s highest mintage of Seated dollars.
- In 1871 only 1,376 dollars were made, which is the lowest mintage Carson City coin.
- The year 1872 only saw 3,150 produced, and 1873 rounded out the series with a mintage of 2,300 coins.
- The 1873-CC is not the lowest mintage of the Carson City seated dollars, but it is regarded as the rarest. This is because many of that year’s production were melted and re-struck into the new Trade dollar design.
Two factors came into play with the mintage’s of our earlier silver dollars. First, a dollar was a relatively large sum of money that carried a great deal of buying power. Second, our silver dollar was slightly smaller than other country’s similarly sized coins.
With the amount of silver being the greatest factor of worldwide value the demand for our silver dollars was relatively low in foreign markets. Both of these factors kept the need for large sums of circulating dollars low.
With that, mintage’s in the seated series are relatively low compared to our later Morgan dollar series (which ironically was the same size as the seated series, but only after silver prices had risen and the dollar had gained in demand).
When one is collecting Carson City coins a Carson City seated dollar can easily become a pinnacle of one’s collection. Even the most obtainable 1870-CC seated dollar is relatively scarce to find. If one is endeavoring to go even further and trying to collect a coin from each year, the task becomes more daunting and expensive. Coins in lower grades are more affordable, but an 1873-CC starts at around $5,000 for a low grade coin if it can be found. Trying to collect an Uncirculated set is truly an accomplishment. There are only a few known coins to remain in that pristine of a condition and the price quickly climbs into six figure territory.
Carson City’s first dollar coins are truly a collecting specialty. With less than 19,000 coins made over a four year span it is understandable that these coins are rare. Many collectors aspire to own these and hence the prices they bring are handsome. If you are looking for one prepare your pocket book, but if you have one to sell you may just be pleasantly surprised.
About Allen Rowe, Owner
I have been interested in coins since I was about the age of ten, and the coin bug was always been in my blood. After graduating from the University of Nevada Reno, I decided to follow my heart. In 1993 I formed and incorporated Northern Nevada Coin and Bullion, DBA as Northern Nevada Coin. After all these years I still look forward to going to work and especially which new coins I will get to see that day. Having handled nearly every coin that had been minted in the United States and many great foreign rarities, experience has taught me to appreciate every aspect of collecting and dealing in coins.
Northern Nevada Coin specializes in all Carson City coins, all silver dollars, US gold coins from 1795-1933, rare or key date type coins, and high grade US coins. Coins we especially like to buy are Carson City coins, C and D mint gold, rare O and S mint issues in gold, high relief’s, territorial gold, and high grade gold in all denominations. We also want to buy all major silver dollar errors.
Our mission is to serve our community with integrity, but also to create a destination for all coin collectors. Being located next to the Carson City mint, we aim to make your rare coin experience the best it can be when you visit Northern Nevada Coin.