HomeUS Coins1878-CC Morgan Dollar : A Collector's Guide

1878-CC Morgan Dollar : A Collector’s Guide

1878-CC Morgan dollar with attractive toning. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1878-CC Morgan dollar with attractive toning. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

Despite opposition from the president, Congressional passage of the Bland-Allison Act seemed assured by February 1878. In late February, Treasury Secretary John Sherman sent orders to the San Francisco and Carson City mints, telling the branch mints to stop converting silver bullion deposits into Trade dollars. Meanwhile, the United States Mint’s Engraving Department worked to complete dies so that would have to be later reworked to alter the number of eagle tail feathers from eight to seven (thanks to a fit of pique from Mint Director Henry Linderman after reading critical reports about the new design).

At the Philadelphia Mint, the already prepared eight-tail feather reverse dies were reworked by hand to impart seven tail feathers. In time, coins struck in this manner became popular varieties.

The Carson City Mint. Image colorized by CoinWeek.
The Carson City Mint. Image colorized by CoinWeek.

For the branch mints, the revised seven-tail feather reverse dies were prepared. This unanticipated die work delayed production at the two western branches by about a month.

On April 8, the Philadelphia Mint dispatched Morgan dollar dies to the Carson City and San Francisco mints, and both received their allotment on April 16. Later that day, coiner Levi Dague got to work, producing the first 100 1878-CC Morgan dollars. San Francisco would mark the beginning of its Morgan dollar production the next day.

In total, 2,212,000 1878-CC Morgan dollars were struck. Not a big number by any measure, but given how starved the Carson City branch mint was for silver deposits, it was a good number.

Historic Pricing Data

1878-CC Morgan dollars were available in some quantity before the GSA releases in the 1970s, and 60,993 pieces were disbursed in the GSA Hoard.

Coin dealer George P. Lang of Valley Stream, New York, offered uncirculated examples for $3.00 in an April 1948 Numismatist advertisement.

Dealer Harry W. Bason of New Hyde Park, New York, offered 74 different date/mint mark Morgan dollars in Brilliant Uncirculated in a February 1951 Numismatist ad, where he listed 1878-CC Morgan dollars for sale for $2.90 apiece.

Numismatic Gallery Inc. of Pikesville, Maryland, listed an MS65 example of the 1878-CC Morgan Dollar for sale for $30 in a November 1974 ad in The Numismatist.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top Population: PCGS MS67 (8, 3/2024). NGC MS67 (10, 3/2024). CAC MS67 (2:0 stickered:graded, 3/2024).

The typical uncirculated 1878-CC Morgan dollar certified by NGC or PCGS falls in the MS62 to MS63 range. As a Carson City Morgan dollar, this issue is less common than the heavily preserved 1882-CC through 1884-CC issues. NGC and PCGS have combined to certify nearly 72,000 examples of the issue. This is about two-thirds of the total of 1882-CC Morgan dollars certified and nearly half the total certified populations of the 1883-CC and the 1884-CC.

Many uncirculated examples are brilliant and frosty, but heavily bag marked. Gems are uncommon, but Superb Gem MS67 coins at both services are rare. NGC data includes one coin-graded MS67PL.

  • NGC MS67: #369475-003: Heritage Auctions, January 14, 2022, Lot 4631 – $31,200. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 #38817474: GreatCollections, December 20, 2020, Lot 915887 – $73,348.88. Brilliant. Die crack through 18and bottom of 7 on the date. Another crack from rim between stars 2 and 3 to the tip of Liberty’s neck. Crack from half way up the right side of 1 to Liberty’s hair. On the reverse, cracks through ED; from the rim through the left wing tip through S; From the rim through the top of TA; from the rim through OF the tip of the right wing to A.
  • NGC MS67PL #4877593-004: Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2020, Lot 4251 – $31,200. Scattered chatter around UNUM and stars 8-11. Two small spots on Liberty’s hair below ER. On the reverse, a spot to left of wing.
  • NGC MS67 #451377-002: “JC’s Dollars”, Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2018, Lot 4924 – $20,400.
  • NGC MS67 #1978169-001: Heritage Auctions, April 27, 2017, Lot 4138 – $20,562.50.
  • NGC MS67: “The Battle Born Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, August 7, 2012, Lot 11058 – $14,687.50. Brilliant.
  • NGC MS67 #596278-005: “The Sonoma Collection”, Heritage Auctions, July 10, 2009, Lot 815 – $16,100. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 #50012465: “The Sanderson Family Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2009, Lot 4936 – $34,500. Brilliant.
  • NGC MS67 #369475-002: Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2005, Lot 30294 – $25,300; “The Southern Collection of Rarities”; “The New York Connoisseur’s Collection”, American Numismatic Rarities, March 14, 2006, Lot 1116 – $18,400. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 #13663987: As PCGS MS67 #21070792. Heritage Auctions, April 26, 2002, Lot 6162 – $29,900. As PCGS MS67 #13663987. “The Arno Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2009, Lot 4937 – $20,700. Regraded and given new certification number. Gold peripheral toning.
  • NGC MS67 #596278-005: Heritage Auctions, May 3, 2005, Lot 13500 – $20,648.25. Frosty.
  • PCGS MS66+ #31671150 CAC CMQ #31671150: “The RSD Collection,” Legend Rare Coin Auctions, October 2019, Lot 1; Legend Rare Coin auctions, February 2023, Lot 325; “The James DeAngelis Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, March 26, 2024, Lot 4176 – View. Apricot, Red, and Steel blue toning on obverse and reverse.
  • PCGS MS66+ #38670449: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, May 14, 2020, Lot 231 – $6,168.75.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #25792240: As PCGS MS66 #05891913. Heritage Auctions, April 18, 2008, Lot 2572 – $4,600; As PCGS MS66+ CAC #25792240. Heritage Auctions, August 10, 2016, Lot 4205 – $15,275. Re-graded and upgraded one half point. CAC-approved. PQ obverse toning.

Noteworthy VAM Varieties

More than twenty VAM varieties have been documented for the 1878-CC Morgan dollar.

1878-CC Morgan Dollar VAM-1B

1878-CC VAM-1B. Two die scratches at IB in LIBERTY. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1878-CC VAM-1B. Two die scratches at IB in LIBERTY. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).

Two die lines through IB, scratch to the left of the wreath on the reverse.

  • PCGS MS66+ #83023751: Heritage Auctions, April 27, 2017, Lot 4136 – $8,225. Heritage Auctions, January 13, 2022, Lot 3541 – $9,000. VAM attribution by Heritage Auctions. Muted rainbow toning on the obverse.

1878-CC Morgan Dollar VAM-9

1878-CC VAM-9 has myriad pick-up points on the reverse. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1878-CC VAM-9 has myriad pick-up points on the reverse. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).

Crooked CC mint mark. Die lines on the reverse. Naked eye visible VAM.

  • NGC MS67 #4183904-003: As NGC MS67 #2016971-005. “M.L. Moser Collection”, Heritage Auctions, April 24, 2014, Lot 5246 – $17,625. M L Moser Collection on insert. As NGC MS67 #4183904-003. Heritage Auctions, November 6, 2014, Lot 3823 – $16,450. Regraded and given new certification number. VAM attribution by Heritage Auctions. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS66+ #83717301: Heritage Auctions, June 8, 2017, Lot 3728 – $10,575. VAM attribution by Heritage Auctions.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #25663675: Heritage Auctions, October 29, 2015, Lot 3402 – $16,450. VAM attribution by Heritage Auctions. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS66 CAC #16246340: “The Paul H. Gerrie Collection”, Heritage Auctions, April 29, 2016, Lot 4917 – $8,833.65. VAM attribution by Heritage Auctions. Brilliant.

1878-CC Morgan Dollar VAM-11

1878-CC VAM-11. Crossing die lines on the eagle's wings are a key pickup point. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1878-CC VAM-11. Crossing die lines on the eagle’s wings are a key pickup point. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
  • PCGS MS65DMPL CAC #25043613: Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2015, Lot 5874 – $11,162.50. “The Paul H. Gerrie Collection”, Heritage Auctions, April 29, 2016, Lot 4919 – $13,512.50. A Gift of Underserved Favor on insert. VAM attribution by Heritage Auctions.
  • PCGS MS65 #36604650: Heritage Auctions, September 5, 2023, Lot 50035 – View. Brilliant.

1878-CC Morgan Dollar VAM-22

1878-CC VAM-22. Die Chips inside of the CC mint mark. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1878-CC VAM-22. Die Chips inside of the CC mint mark. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).

Die chips within the CC mint mark are the key diagnostic.

  • PCGS MS66+ #83795934: Heritage Auctions, August 2, 2017, Lot 4039 – $8,812.50. VAM attribution by Heritage Auctions. Brilliant.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1878
Denomination: One Dollar (USD)
Mint Mark: CC (Carson City)
Mintage: 2,212,000
Alloy: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight: 26.73 g
Diameter: 38.10 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: George T. Morgan
REV Designer: George T. Morgan
Quality: Business Strike

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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