In terms of rare coins, mintage is important in determining rarity. Many coins that are considered rare or scarce have mintages that can be considered small. The key date of the Morgan dollar series, the 1893-S, has a mintage of 100,000. The 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent, arguably the most famous rare coin, has a mintage of 484,000. The key to the Mercury dime series has long been the 1916-D issue with a mintage of 264,000 coins. Our famously rare 1932-D and 1932-S quarters had mintages of 436,800 and 408,000 respectively. With all of that said, let me now turn your attention to an entirely rare arena of collecting, Carson City $10 gold coins.
In the short life of the Carson City mint it produced very few coins compared with its counterparts. The $10 coin seemed to be one of the least important for the mint as history now shows so clearly. In its entire existence the Carson City mint struck less than 300,000 $10 gold coins. In fact, in 11 of the 19 years it struck $10 coins it produced less than 10,000 each year. The highest mintage year was in 1891 when the Carson City mint struck 103,732 $10 coins.
If you are looking for a place in rare coins that has potential for growth, the Carson City $10 set is one to consider. Of course it is impossible to collect the set in pristine condition as most of these coins went into circulation, and even in just a low-grade uncirculated condition many are virtually unknown. But if condition is not as important to you as rarity, this could be a perfect set to endeavor after. Often the set will take years to complete and many of the coins are difficult to locate in an XF grade or above, but searching them out becomes a treasure hunt in its own right.
I am often asked which coins will go up in value over the years. While I am not, and do not pretend to be, a forecaster of the future, I have used my experience to notice things like the Carson City $10 gold series. The values of these coins have risen steadily over the years that I have been trading coins. There have been many 'fad' areas of coins that have risen and fallen, but when it comes to steady growth the Carson City $10s seem to have done well. They are not common enough to promote in large sales programs, and yet not so scarce as to be unobtainable.
If you are up for a challenge and are looking to spend a fair amount of money in the rare coin arena, consider starting after the Carson City $10 gold series. It may prove to be challenging and rewarding over the years. And, as in nearly all rare coins series, there are a host of grade levels to seek. From the lowest grade to the finest, the Carson City $10s are a true treasure to hunt.
• Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.