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1879-CC Morgan Dollar : A Collector’s Guide

1879-CC Morgan dollar graded NGC MS-66. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1879-CC Morgan dollar graded NGC MS-66. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..

While silver bullion was pouring out of the nearby Comstock mines, United States Mint leadership in Washington, D.C. was facing a cost problem at the Carson City Mint and sought to shutter the branch as soon as practicably possible.

The explanation for why was given in the 1879 Mint Director’s Annual Report:

Nothwithstanding the fact that the mint at Carson City is located but a short distance from the productive mines of the Comstock Lode, higher prices were demanded for bullion deliverable at Carson than at San Francisco, and, in addition, the rates charged by the express company for transportation of silver dollars were higher from Carson than from San Francisco.

The Carson City Mint had ample amounts of silver on hand when Carson City Superintendent James Crawford received instructions on January 26 to wind things down.

The branch mint struck 546,000 silver dollars through March 1. From this point until June 30, the coining room lay dormant. When the order to resume work was given, an additional 210,000 dollars were struck, giving the issue a total mintage of 756,000 pieces.

Historic Pricing Data

Dealer Harry W. Bason of New Hyde Park, New York, offered 74 different date/mintmark Morgan Dollars in Brilliant Uncirculated in a February 1951 ad in The Numismatist, where he listed 1879-CC Morgan Dollars for $7.50 a piece. He also offered 1879-CC Morgan Dollars in “circulated condition” for $2.50 a piece.

Numismatic Gallery Inc. of Pikesville, Maryland, listed an MS65 example of the 1879-CC Morgan Dollar for $500 in a November 1974 ad in The Numismatist.

New York City dealer Charles M. Adkins offered a “Full Struck BU 65” example of the 1879-CC Morgan Dollar in his March 1978 ad in The Numismatist for $1,495. By October of that year, Adkins raised the price of the coin to $1,800.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

The 1879-CC Morgan Dollar was not prominent in the GSA Hoard, as only 4,123 pieces were disbursed. It is the scarcest Carson City dollar of the 1878-1885 period.

Scarce in Gem (a condition rarity).

Top Population: PCGS MS66+ (2, 6/2024), NGC MS66 (1, 6/2024), and CAC MS66 (1:0 stickered:graded, 6/2024).

1879-CC Morgan Dollar, Clear Mintmark

  • PCGS MS66+ #36608661: Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2023, Lot 3776 – $192,000. Dark red and blue/black toning around the rim on both sides.
  • NGC MS66 #3857377-001: Heritage Auctions, April 24, 2014, Lot 5643 – $64,625.
  • PCGS MS65+ CAC #37287344: “The Shucart (JCS) Collection of Morgan Silver Dollars”, Heritage Auctions, September 5, 2019, Lot 3773 – $45,600. JCS Collection on insert. Deep hit between E and Liberty’s nose. Hit on eye brow. Black spot between N and U. On reverse, hit above eagle’s head. Scratches near CC mintmark.
  • PCGS MS65+PL #04585088: “The Perfect Collection of DMPL/Prooflike Morgan Dollars, Part II”, Heritage Auctions, August 14, 2019, Lot 3780 – $66,000.
  • PCGS MS65+ #36171576: Heritage Auctions, December 13, 2018, Lot 4205 – $48,000.
  • PCGS MS65+ CAC #25240309: As NGC MS-65 #1616099-009. Stack’s Bowers, June 20, 2013, Lot 2055 – $38,187.50. As PCGS MS-65+ #25346850. Stack’s Bowers, March 2014, Lot 4042 – $32,312.50. As PCGS MS-65+ CAC #25240309. Heritage Auctions, December 4, 2014, Lot 3651 – $49,937.50. Crossed over to PCGS and upgraded one half point. Tiny cluster of hits on chin and cheek. Planchet flaw at the top of the left wing.
  • PCGS MS65PL CAC #16157131: Heritage Auctions, September 2010, Lot 4442 – $28,751.15; Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 3119 – $37,200.
  • NGC MS65 #3271915-001: Heritage Auctions, August 7, 2014, Lot 5607 – $49,937.50. GSA Holder.
  • PCGS MS65PL #35574823: Stack’s Bowers, August 15, 2018, Lot 1205 – $27,600. Deep cameo contrast.
  • PCGS MS65 #05916873: rainbow toned reverse, brilliant obverse, offered by Stack’s Bowers, 8/14/2013, Lot 4366 – $22,912.50.
  • PCGS MS65: hint of yellow toning, otherwise brilliant, offered by Stack’s Bowers, August 7, 2012, Lot 11510 – $22,235.
  • PCGS MS65PL CAC #05939240: “The Sanderson Family Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2009, Lot 4939 – $28,750; Marketed by Legend Numismatics in a January 2009 issue of Coin World for $32,500.
  • PCGS MS65DMPL #6559862: “The Dr. Hoffnagle Collection of Morgan Dollars”, Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2005, Lot 30296 – $54,625. Frost on devices. Tinges of yellow discoloration. We question the eye appeal.

1879-CC Morgan Dollar VAM-3 – Clogged Die

1879-CC Morgan Dollar VAM-3 Clogged Die. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1879-CC Morgan Dollar VAM-3 Clogged Die. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).

Top 100 Variety. Capped Mintmark. Also known as the Broken CC variety. Mintmark likely recut on the die after a small CC mintmark (the type used in 1878) was effaced so that the new large style mintmark could be used instead. Field around mintmark looks bumpy due to the presence of die chips caused by this repair.

1879-CC Mintmark styles. Left: clear mintmark. Right: clogged mintmark. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.
1879-CC Mintmark styles. Left: clear mintmark. Right: clogged mintmark. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.

Only slightly scarcer than Clear Mintmark variety.

  • PCGS MS65+ #36577003: Stack’s Bowers, February 28, 2019, Lot 1093 – $52,800. In GSA holder. Brilliant. Scratch above branch on the reverse. Diagonal hit on eagle’s midsection. Tiny ticks on chin. Top Pop, Pop 1 in GSA holder.
  • PCGS MS65 #42764266: Stack’s Bowers, August 17, 2021, Lot 4131 – $36,000. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS65 CAC: Stack’s Bowers, August 7, 2012, Lot 11511 – $39,950. Die crack at date. Ear and hair above ear discolored. Hit on eagle’s chest.
  • PCGS MS65 CAC #06568642: “Larry H. Miller Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, November 12, 2020, Lot 6301 – $38,400. Champagne hue. Rim hit on chin. Hit on eyebrow. Strike through on eagle’s left leg?
  • PCGS MS65 #13537358: “The Snake River Collection”, Heritage Auctions, August 11, 2010, Lot 3338 – $63,250. Thin scratch on cheek,
  • PCGS MS65 #50106519: “The Jack Lee Collection, III”, Heritage Auctions, November 3, 2005, Lot 2287 – $51,750. Brilliant. Scuff on cheek. long hit on cap ball.
  • PCGS MS64+DMPL CAC #46252560: Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2023, Lot 3777 – $120,000. Top pop, pop one at PCGS in DMPL. Black and white with deep cameo frost.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year of Issue: 1879
Denomination: One Dollar (USD)
Mintmark: CC (Carson City)
Mintage: 756,000
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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