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A Brief History of Carson City Silver Dollars

Carson City Mint Silver Dollars

One of the most iconic coins ever created by the United States Mint is the Morgan Silver Dollar. Produced from 1878-1904, and again in 1921, many dates are available in large numbers, making these 90% silver coins attainable for even beginning investors. However, those bearing the CC mintmark – for the Carson City Mint – hold a special place in the hearts of many collectors. This silver dollar history is intriguing.

Discovery of Gold in the Virginia Range

In 1859, a gigantic load of silver ore was discovered under the eastern slope of Mount Davidson in the Virginia Range located in western Nevada, known at the time as Utah Territory. This was the first major discovery of silver ore in the nation’s history and mining camps, then towns and cities flourished. The U.S. government soon constructed a minting facility in Carson City which did not open until 1870, to produce silver coins from the silver lode.

Carson City Mint’s Brief Operating Period

The Carson City Mint produced a wide variety of circulating coinage, but it is arguably most famous for the production of the Morgan Dollar. As with all U.S. Mint facilities, which at the time included Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans, Morgan Dollar production began in 1878. However, the Carson City Mint stopped production in 1893 due to reduced silver being mined.

Silver Certificates

Until June 1968, people in the United States could redeem paper Silver Certificates for a silver dollar at all Federal Reserve facilities. As the redemption period drew to a close due to the rising price of silver, the U.S. Treasury’s supply of silver dollars dwindled to 2.9 million coins, mostly from the Carson City Mint. They were transferred to the West Point Silver Bullion Depository in New York for safekeeping.

Silver Coin Bidding

In early 1970, Congress authorized the General Services Administration (GSA) to sell these remaining coins to the public. GSA devised a mail bid system whereby the public could bid on these coins, but limits were placed on the numbers of coins on which one could bid in order to eliminate speculation.

Thousands of these GSA silver dollars have been purchased by coin dealers since 1972, though many of them have been broken out of their GSA cases.

Today, Carson City Morgans, especially those in their black GSA cases, are highly coveted for their limited remaining numbers. Below is a chart showing the mintages from each year of production of the CC Morgan Dollar. All 13 years of production are in the top 34 of 96 different year/mintmark varieties.

Description Mintage
1878-CC 2,212,000
1879-CC 756,000
1880-CC 591,000
1881-CC 296,000
1882-CC 1,133,000
1883-CC 1,204,000
1884-CC 1,136,000
1885-CC 228,000
1889-CC 350,000
1890-CC 2,309,000
1891-CC 1,618,000
1892-CC 1,352,000
1893-CC 677,000

APMEX carries a wide variety of Carson City Mint Morgan Dollars, from the rarest year of production to the most common, which still saw just over 2 million coins minted. You can find CC Morgans in a range of conditions, as well as certified by PCGS and NGC

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