INVESTING IN GOLD: Collecting GSA dollars: the final, scarce years

When one is collecting Carson City dollars from the GSA hoard, the set has a noticeable gap in years. The years 1878-1885 are all available, but the next two available years are 1890 and 1891. This gap is for two reasons. The first reason is that the Carson City Mint did not produce coins from 1886-1888. The second is that the 1889-CC in a GSA is unique and the 1892 and 1893 dates are unknown or suspect as to whether or not they were ever encapsulated.

In the last three columns we have addressed the rarity and price of GSA dollars from 1878-1885. Here we will look at the final two years that complete a set of GSA Carson City Morgans. Completing a set of GSA dollars includes adding these two years, but they are also scarce years to find.

In 1890 Carson City produced over 2.3 million Morgan dollars, but less than 4,000 of these were found in the GSA hoard. This is the fewest of any of the available GSA coins and the pricing of it reflects its scarcity. A person can find an uncirculated 1890-CC Morgan dollar for about $400, but to find one in a GSA case it will generally cost more than $2,000.

The 1891-CC has a similar history. The Carson City mint produced over 1.6 million dollars that year, but only about 5,700 made it into the GSA hoard. A little more available than its counterpart, an uncirculated 1891-CC sells for about $350 out of a GSA and around $2,000 in one.

A person collecting a higher grade set of GSA's takes on an even more daunting task. When grading services became prevalent in the late 1980s many of the nicer coins were removed from their GSA cases and graded at the grading services. Since the 1890-91 dates were so few to begin with, finding one that is in high grade and still residing in a GSA case is very difficult and expensive. Both the 1890 and 1891-CC GSA will cost over $10,000 in MS-64 and there is only one 1890-CC GSA in MS-65 available at this time. Most of the experts and high end collectors value this 1890-CC GSA in MS-65 at $30,000-$35,000.

Although the 1890-CC GSA is not as pricey as an 1879-CC GSA, it is harder to locate in a GSA. The reason for this an uncirculated 1879-CC dollar is scarce whether or not it is in a GSA. But, if one looks at the number of coins available, the 1890-CC in a GSA could be considered undervalued and a good buy.

In my next article I will address some very important aspects to collecting Carson City GSA dollars. So far we have seen how the values of GSA Morgans can far exceed the same coin that is not in a GSA, but not all of the value is in just the hard case itself. If you are collecting or thinking of collecting Carson City GSA dollars, make sure to look for the next column.

• Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.

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