Investing in Gold: Carson $10 gold coins, let the chase begin
For the Nevada Appeal
This being my third article on Carson City gold does not mean it is the least interesting. As I have touched on before, Carson City minted $5, $10, and $20 gold coins, and the $10 coins are by far the rarest. The Carson Mint struck less than 865,000 $20s, less than 710,000 $5s, and less than a paltry 300,000 $10s.
To give one perspective on the mintage figures let us look at the year 1893 and how many $10s were produced. Carson City minted its last 14,000; New Orleans minted 17,000; San Francisco minted 141,350; and the master mint Philadelphia minted 1,840,840.
These mintage figures show how few Carson City coins were made by comparison. And if we think about it, in 1893 Philadelphia produced over six times the number of $10s that Carson City produced in its entire 23 year existence. The 1879-CC $10 has the lowest mintage of any Carson City gold coin with only 1,762 pieces produced and, in fact, Carson City struck fewer than 10,000 pieces in 11 of the 19 years it produced $10 gold coins.
Once again, when it comes to value the rarest is not always the most expensive. Just like the $5 coin the 1870-CC $10 commands a better price because of it being the first year of issue. The lore of having a coin minted in the early days of Carson City is drawing to any collector. This is the reason that a lower grade 1870-CC $10 will bring in the $20,000-plus range while similar coins from other years will bring much less. Adding to that lore is that fact that the $10 coins were the first gold coins struck at the Carson City mint. But, just because a coin is listed as being worth much less, it does not mean that it is going to be available to purchase when you want one.
With very few Carson City $10s being produced one of the complications to collecting them is the fact that their production quality was also low. Many coins have weak strikes as the mint masters were not able to perfect their craft in such a short run. With the low quality strikes and the fact that many of these coins saw heavy circulation, finding quality coins can be a daunting task. Most of the dates in the 1870s are virtually unknown or unobtainable in an uncirculated condition and have very few in the higher end of circulated coins. A set of Very Fine to Extra Fine graded coins is not much easier to obtain either, as several of the issues have less than 200 known survivors.
With the $10 series so daunting, many opt for just collecting a type set of $10s, buying one coin each from the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s thus representing a coin form each decade the Carson City mint produced $10 coins. But if you choose to embark on collecting a set of Carson City $10s expect a long, fun, and yet rewarding journey in the end.
• Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.