Chamber News & Views: The Fascinating Morgan Dollar was minted in Carson City
Coin collectors know all about the Morgan Dollar minted in Carson City between 1878-1875 and again between 1889-1893. Today, those coins bearing the famous “CC” on the eagle side of the coin have become a sought after collector’s items.
The Carson City Mint was one of nine U.S. Mints created by the Coinage Act passed by the U.S. Congress on April 2, 1792. The first mint was built in Philadelphia at the time when Philadelphia was the nation’s capital. Other mints were erected along the eastern seaboard.
Since the west was booming because of the California Gold Rush in 1849, the first west coast mint was established in 1854 in San Francisco. There was one off-shore mint in Manila, Philippines between 1920-1922 and again between 1925-1941.
In 1859, the Comstock Lode became the largest silver strike in the country. Congress authorized the building of the Carson City Mint in March 1863, ground breaking was July 18, 1866, opening in 1870 during the height of the silver strikes. Congress deemed it was too expensive to ship the Comstock silver to San Francisco to be pressed into coins. The mint closed in 1893 when the silver boom was receding, becoming an assay office between 1895-1933 and then sold to the State of Nevada in 1939 for $5,000. During the 29-year run, our mint produced 8 different coin denominations in silver and gold, one of which was the famous Morgan Dollar. Ours was the only mint to use more than one letter to identify coins printed on Coin Press #1- the unique “CC” mintmark.
The Morgan Dollar, so named for designer George T. Morgan, was minted here from 1878-1904 and a final minting was done in 1921. One side depicts the head of the Statue of Liberty and the reverse shows the eagle with spread wings. The Morgan Dollar replaced the seating Liberty Dollar.
Other very desirable collector coins minted here were the gold coins: Double Eagle, Gold Eagle and Half Eagle. Add to that the silver coins: half dollars, quarters, 20-cent pieces and dimes.
Today, there are many uncirculated “CC” Morgan Dollars available due to the “hoarding” of the silver coins by the GSA found stored in bags under a stairwell and found in 1964 during an audit of the Treasury Department. Between October 1972 and June 1974, the Treasury Department sold the uncirculated coins in five separate sales. Coin collectors, including Northern Nevada Coin, 601 N Carson Street, purchased hundreds of the coins that come in specially packaged with a message from then President Richard Nixon.
Today, thanks to the foresight of Judge Clark J. Guild, the old mint is an important part of the Nevada State Museum and the original Coin Press #1 still mints special occasion coins with the “CC” mark.
Today, there are five U.S. Mints, two of which were established under the Coinage Act: Philadelphia and San Francisco. Denver was added in 1906, West Point in 1988 and thought Fort Knox is not a production facility, it serves as a bullion depository.