By James McCartney, Numismatist & Cataloger – Stack’s Bowers …..
This week’s United States Coin of the Week may have originated from the Carson City Mint in the Wild West, but it was likely in New England that it first came to light and was quickly stashed away to be impeccably preserved for future generations. The 1875-CC Liberty Seated quarter is among the challenging Carson City issues of the 1870s and is perhaps the most underrated of these. While the production figure of 140,000 coins represents a steep increase from the four and five-figure mintages of years prior, it is small in comparison to the four million quarters that would emerge from the Carson City Mint in each the following two years.
However, there were very nearly no quarters struck in 1875 at the Carson City Mint, as none had been earmarked for striking through the year and resources instead went toward the new twenty-cent piece, along with sizable productions of dimes, half dollars, trade dollars and double eagles. It wasn’t until the final month of the year that Superintendent James Crawford received an order to ship a half-million dollars in minor silver coinage to a sub treasury in Boston. This December order sent from Washington D.C. specified a composition of dimes, twenty-cent pieces, quarters and half dollars, forcing Crawford to strike the quarter dollar denomination for the first time since 1873.
Fewer than 30 examples of this issue are thought to survive in Mint State, the majority of which fall into lower Uncirculated grades below MS-64. True Gems are extremely rare, with just five or so distinct pieces grading MS-65 or above. The present jewel sits comfortably in the Condition Census for the mintage, ranking negligibly below the lovely MS-65+ (NGC) example we sold as part of the Battle Born Collection in August 2012.
Pearlescent dove-gray surfaces are accented by swaths of sapphire and amber that halos the design elements on both sides. The surfaces glow with a heavily silken luster that goes entirely unbroken, testifying to the Gem grade bestowed by PCGS and the approval granted by CAC. The strike is good, with notable intricacy and mint frost gracing the eagle’s wings on the reverse. For both connoisseurs of the Liberty Seated type and enthusiasts of the Carson City Mint, the present offering is a significant opportunity.
This delightful Carson City Gem will be featured among numerous world-class rarities in our March 2017 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo. To consign your collection to this exciting showcase event, please contact our offices today at 1-800-458-4646 to speak with a Consignment Director and see what Stack’s Bowers Galleries can do for you.