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HomeUS Coins1885-CC Morgan Dollar : A Collector's Guide

1885-CC Morgan Dollar : A Collector’s Guide

1885-CC Morgan Dollar. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1885-CC Morgan Dollar. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

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

November 6, 1885, was a black letter day for the Carson City Mint. On the recommendation of Mint Director Dr. James P. Kimball, the Treasury Department suspended coin operations at the Nevada mint, citing the diminished output of the mines along the Virginia Range.

The Carson City Mint had not produced dimes, quarters, or half dollars since 1878 and was largely left striking silver dollars due to a mandate from Congress that the mint strike millions of the coins each year as a sop to Western mining interests. Ironically, the Carson City Mint, best known to coin collectors as a silver dollar-producing mint, contributed but a trickle of coins compared to the Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco mints. Consider this: total dollar output from Carson City, 13,862,041 coins, was beaten handily by the Denver Mint’s one-year contribution of 21,695,000 coins in 1921.

1885 did not mark the end of the Carson City Mint or its production of silver dollars. In 1889, the Treasury Department reversed course, and coinage resumed. In 1890, the Carson City Mint struck the most Morgan dollars in the branch mint’s history. The Carson City Mint’s second act would be short; however, in 1893, the Mint struck its final gold and silver coins.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

1885-CC Morgan Dollar in a GSA holder. This coin was graded MS66 by NGC. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1885-CC Morgan Dollar in a GSA holder. This coin was graded MS66 by NGC. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

Although 1885-CC Morgan dollars were struck for circulation, very few actually were released into commercial channels. Indeed, its likely that most, if not all of the Carson City Mint’s coin holdings were transferred to either the San Francisco Mint or other Treasury facilities for longterm storage.

Rusty Goe, in his exceptional reference The Confident Carson City Coin Collector, estimates that of the total mintage of 228,000 coins, between 155,000 and 168,000 survive, nearly all in Mint State. Some coins were released in the 1950s, but the 1885-CC was a tough date before the GSA Sales.

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 ad in The Numismatist, along with a selection of scarce date coins in circulated grades. In this ad, Bason listed circulated 1885-CC Morgan dollars for sale for $14.90. No uncirculated examples were listed.

The GSA Hoard disbursed 148,285 1885-CC Morgan dollars, starting in October 1973 and concluding in the summer of 1980. The GSA coins are typically brilliant or have minimal toning; some are very nice. Gems up to MS66 are readily available for a price, but the date gets tough at MS67 and beyond.

The three major grading services, CAC, NGC, and PCGS, have combined to grade 58,479 1885-CC Morgan dollars as of the time of publication, with PCGS having a slight edge over NGC in terms of the number of coins in their holders. CAC has stickered over 2,200 NGC and PCGS coins but, through March 29, 2024, has only certified 44 in its own plastic. This certified population represents 25% of the total mintage and almost 35% of Goe’s high estimate for the surviving population.

In typical grades of MS63 to 64, the 1885-CC routinely sells for $800 to $1,000. The price increases dramatically in the Superb Gem grades.

The PCGS top pop MS68+ census has remained at one coin since at least August 2013. The NGC top pop MS68 grade has been stable for over a year. CAC has approved just two coins at MS68 from the other grading services and, as of March 29, 2024, has graded two coins at MS67.

For PCGS, the MS67 population has increased from 39 in November 2007 to 143 as of March 29, 2024. As a result, prices for coins at this level have declined.

Top Population: PCGS MS68+ (1, 3/2024). NGC MS68 (5, 3/2024), and CAC MS68 (2:0; stickered:graded, 3/2024).

  • PCGS MS68+ CAC: As MS68 #6271763. “The Arno Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2009, Lot 4973 – $46,000. JACK LEE on insert; Illinois Collection. Lightly toned.
  • NGC MS68 #1997277-001: Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2009, Lot 4972 – $18,400.
  • NGC MS67+* #6676251-001: Stack’s Bowers, August 16, 2023, Lot 5083 – $11,400Dark rainbow toning on the obverse.
  • NGC MS67+ #6328993-001: Heritage Auctions, October 6, 2022, Lot 3107 – $9,600. Rim toning.
  • NGC MS67+ #6099557-011: Stack’s Bowers, November 23, 2021, Lot 3086 – $10,200; Stack’s Bowers, August 25, 2022, Lot 7082 – $16,800. Brown rim toning on both sides.
  • PCGS MS67+ #43567062: Stack’s Bowers, April 5, 2022, Lot 3054 – $25,200. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67+ #42549742: Heritage Auctions, November 11, 2021, Lot 3614 – $19,200. All over green, orange, and gold obverse toning.
  • NGC MS67+ CAC #5894702-009: As PCGS MS67 CAC #25048424. Heritage Auctions, April 2013, Lot 4370 – $11,162.50; “The Joseph D. Osborne Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2020, Lot 4783 – $13,200. As NGC MS67+ CAC #5894702-009. Stack’s Bowers, November 13, 2020, Lot 9148 – $9,000. Multi-shade gold and copper toning on the obverse. Lighter gold toning on the reverse. Crossed over and upgraded half a point.
  • NGC MS67+ #3182855-085: Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2020, Lot 4258 – $16,800.
  • NGC MS67DPL #5865440-005: Stack’s Bowers, August 17, 2021, Lot 4137 – $25,200. Dark toning along the periphery. Cameo frost.
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #38991981: Stack’s Bowers, March 26, 2024, Lot 4185 – $8,700.
  • NGC MS67* #3755984-005: Stack’s Bowers, November 2014, Lot 5268 – $22,325. Toned obverse. GSA holder.
  • PCGS MS67DMPL #11476190: “A Gift of Undserved Favor Collection,” Heritage Auctions, August 1, 2008, Lot 2211 – $51,750. A Gift of Undeserved Favor on insert. Stunning coin with cameo contrast- although frost is weak on some stars on the left side.
  • NGC MS67 #1805178-016: Heritage Auctions, August 14, 2006, Lot 4086 – $19,550. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67: Stack’s Bowers, June 14, 2011, Lot 4476 – $31,625. PQ Obverse rainbow toning.
  • PCGS MS66+DMPL #34464817: “The David T. Miller #1 PCGS Registry Set of DMPL/PL Morgan Dollars with Varieties,” Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2024, Lot 4546 – $12,133.20. Cameo contrast with light toning. DT Miller on insert.
  • NGC MS66+DPL #455558-004: Heritage Auctions, April 24, 2014, Lot 4786 – $9,987.50.
  • PCGS MS66+DMPL CAC #25584477: Heritage Auctions, August 12, 2011, Lot 7314 – $14,375. Cameo frost, patches of blue toning on the obverse.

 

Mint State: Joel Rettew shared a brilliant uncirculated 1885-CC Morgan Silver Dollar in an ungraded GSA Holder on Episode #3 of Cool Coins!

1885-CC Morgan Dollar, VAM-2

Dash below the second 8 and minor doubling at the bottom of 5.

  • NGC MS67 #43252135-009: Heritage Auctions, September 14, 2023, Lot 3052 – $9,000. GSA Holder. Heritage noted VAM-2 (not on holder).
  • NGC MS67 #4882926-001: Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2020, Lot 5047 – $9,600. GSA Holder. Heritage noted VAM-2 (not on holder).

1885-CC Morgan Dollar, VAM-3

Tilted CC mintmark. Die line to the left of Liberty’s eye.

  • PCGS MS67PL #36393655: Heritage Auctions, April 2019, Lot 3777; Heritage Auctions, October 6, 2022, Lot 3109 – $15,600. Heritage noted VAM-3 (not on holder).
  • PCGS MS67 #6557649: Heritage Auctions, August 20, 2021, Lot 3937 – $10,200. Brilliant. Heritage noted VAM-3 (not on holder).
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #21195060: Heritage Auctions, January 2006, Lot 3293 – $13,800; Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2018, Lot 5397 – $16,800. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS67 #83953390: Heritage Auctions, July 6, 2017, Lot 3148 – $9,400. Brilliant. Heritage noted VAM-3 (not on holder).
  • PCGS MS67 CAC #06612292: Heritage Auctions, April 28, 2011, Lot 5258 – $14,950. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS66+ CAC #43165833: Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 3672 – $4,440. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS66+DMPL CAC #13663992: Heritage Auctions, June 17, 2021, Lot 3132 – $12,000. Champagne toning.
  • PCGS MS66DMPL CAC #03405170: “The Bender Family Collection, Part I,” Heritage Auctions, August 24, 2022, Lot 3588 – $12,600. Bender Collection on insert. Cameo frost with light peripheral toning.

1885-CC Morgan Dollar, VAM-4

1885-CC Morgan Dollar, VAM-4. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.
1885-CC Morgan Dollar, VAM-4. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.

Double Dash. Hot 50 Variety. The VAM-4 has a thick dash mark under the 8 and die chips in the CC mint mark.

  • PCGS MS67 CAC #25616412: Heritage Auctions, April 28, 2016, Lot 4709 – $12,925Heritage noted VAM-3 (not on holder).
  • NGC MS67 #1822798-002: Heritage Auctions, August 11, 2011, Lot 4595 – $9,200Heritage noted VAM-4 (not on holder).

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1885
Denomination: One Dollar (USD)
Mint Mark: CC (Carson City)
Mintage: 228,000
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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