News and Analysis regarding barely coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community # 131 …..
The subject here is collecting Morgan Silver Dollars that were minted in Carson City, Nevada. Coins struck at the Carson City Mint each have a ‘ CC ’ mintmark on the reverse ( back of the coin. ). The Carson City, Nevada Mint was established in 1870 and coins were last fall upon there in 1893. The Carson City Mint was closed from 1886 to 1888 .
From 1878 to 1904, far more Morgans, tens of millions, were produced than anyone wanted. Furthermore, a huge quantity of Carson City Mint Morgans were stored in government vaults for many decades. so, most survivors are uncirculated and normally grade above MS-60 .
This discussion is aimed primarily at beginning and intercede degree collectors. For those who have no estimate as to how to go about collecting coins, I suggest an earlier column on Basics for Beginners. ( As always, clickable links are in blue sky. ) very general collection advice is besides provided in another past column, advice for beginning and average collectors of U.S. coins.
Morgan Dollars, in general, were minted from 1878 to 1904, and again in 1921. Most issues are extremely park. literally, hundreds of millions of Morgans were minted, largely to benefit silver mining firms and related business interests. In contrast, less than seven million Liberty Seated Silver Dollars were minted. These date from 1840 to 1873 .
Most Morgans were stored in politics vaults. many millions of government held Morgans were melted at versatile times during the twentieth century. It is besides true that millions of Morgans were released from the 1940s to the 1970s. Some in the 1920s a good. At times, Morgans were melted privately, specially during periods when marketplace prices for flatware bullion were quickly rising .
lone a microscopic share of all Morgans minted actually circulated in commerce. Most Morgans were not intended for circulation, one reason why business strikes should not be called ‘ circulation strikes. ’ Laws requiring large quantities of Morgans to be minted were passed with the understand that the U.S. Treasury Department would buy big quantities of flatware and that most of the mint Morgans would remain in the possession of the national government for a long fourth dimension .
besides, in the twentieth hundred, many millions of Morgans became break when used for gambling purposes, specially in slot machines. For a long time, a solid percentage of privately owned Morgans were located in the State of Nevada, which is the gambling center of the United States .
quite than discuss the many highly common dates and numerous better dates in the wholly Morgan series, this discussion is limited to fair the Morgan Dollars struck at the Carson City Mint, for these are scarce than Morgans in general and lone thirteen coins are needed for a fixed, not including die varieties. Besides, Carson City Mint coins in general have recently been ‘ in the newsworthiness. ’
The “ Battle Born Collection, ” a dispatch set of Carson City Mint coins of all denominations, was auctioned in Philadelphia by Stack ’ s-Bowers on Aug. 9, 2012. Please read my two part series on the results of this auction. The first gear part was devoted to silver and the second depart to gold. Earlier, I wrote about the importance of the “ Battle Born Collection, ” and, individually, about the 1870-CC quarter that it contained. Later, I discussed the PCGS certified ‘ Proof-65 ’ 1893-CC Morgan that was auctioned the same night of Aug 9th, though was not in the “ Battle Born Collection. ” There are many collectors who focus on Carson City Mint coins .
I. Why Collect ‘CC’ Morgan Dollars?
Yes, it would be much less expensive to collect selected, super-common Morgan Silver Dollars like 1881-S, 1882-S and 1921 issues. Most Morgans, though, are very common and are heavy promoted, specially by marketing firms outside of the mainstream of the coin collecting community. They charge prices that are higher than most knowledgeable collectors, of U.S. coins, would be willing to pay. even within the mainstream, Morgans are relatively expensive, given their commonalty. Of all nineteenth hundred series of U.S. coins, Morgans are the most coarse. Tens of thousands, much hundreds of thousands, exist of about all dates in the series .
A few CC Morgans are very scarce, in relative terms. other Carson City Morgans are readily available to collectors on specify budgets and to each collector who wishes to find out how a lot he or she likes Morgans before committing an amount that is personally regarded as large. furthermore, there is a mystique about the Carson City, Nevada Mint. The history of a true U.S. Mint in a belittled city, in a sparsely inhabited region, during the period of the so call ‘ Wild West ’ is fascinating. additionally, completing a set of thirteen CC Morgans, which are appealing for their respective certified grades, is not unmanageable, though is not highly easy .
It would take fourth dimension to find pleasing coins of each date. A set of CC Morgans does not cost a fortune, less than a complete determined of San Francisco Mint Morgans, and, of course, is much less costly than a whole set of Morgans. Besides, some collectors who complete sets of Carson City Morgans will find that they become Morgan Dollar enthusiasts and will feel compelled to expand their respective sets of Morgans .
Most collectors who complete CC Morgan sets, I figure, will ‘ move on ’ and collect other types of U.S. coins. sometimes, when collectors find out that Morgans are highly common, these collectors tend towards series where many dates are scarce .
other collectors are not concerned about commonalty and overall rarity, or even have a very convinced view of highly common coins. John Brush emphasizes that “ many beginning and advanced collectors seem to prefer the size of Morgan Dollars and the fact that they are more readily available, even in key dates, than many early series merely due to the high gear mintage figures and the number of still-existing coins of most dates. ” Brush is frailty president of the united states of David Lawrence Rare Coins ( DLRC ) .
It is surely not my function here to discourage collectors from seeking to build a set of all Morgans dating from 1878 to 1904 and 1921, excessively. I am concerned that beginners are misled into thinking that Morgans are scarcer than they are in actuality. For many collectors, a set of thirteen CC Morgans may be an enjoyable and educational feel, and, after completing such a put, each collector should then decide upon subsequent collecting objectives that are suitable for him or her .
It does not take a great cope of prison term or money to assemble a set of thirteen CC Morgans. Such a fixed has a significant place in the traditions of mint collecting in the U.S. and is logical overall .
II. Grades and Prooflike coins
circulate coins tend to have noticeable wear. These are graded on a scale from zero to 60, normally with the pursue increments : Poor-01, Fair-02, AG-03, Good-04, Good-06, Very Good-08, VG-10, Fine-12, F-15, Very Fine-20, VF-25, VF-30, VF-35, highly Fine-40, EF-45, Almost Uncirculated-50, AU-53, AU-55 and AU-58 .
Mint State coins are graded on an eleven point scale from 60 to 70. Morgans that grade 60 or 61 are typically very ‘ banged up ’ from reach with other coins and/or have other identical detectable issues .
Coins that grade MS-63 are considered to be ‘ Choice Uncirculated, ’ 64 grade coins are ‘ Very Choice. ’ Coins that grade 65 or higher are gems. technical issues include consideration of scratches and reach marks. technical issues, invention detail, surface quality, and eye appeal are all factors that are considered when experts assign an overall numeral grade to a mint .
Attempts to explain marking criteria are normally misleading. There is a motivation to see coins in actuality, though viewing many images of the like issue in the lapp grade may be very educational. Any one copulate of images should not be regarded as particularly illuminating. Collectors should discuss grading criteria with experts. It is not possible to learn how to grade muffin quality coins by reading. Identifying prooflike Morgans, though, is not complicated .
In John Brush ’ s experience, there are a significant “ number of collectors who fair collect prooflike and DMPL Morgans a well as people that prefer wildly-toned pieces. ” By “ wildly toned, ” Brush is credibly referring to detail kinds of bag-toning that feature a multitude of atypical vibrant colors. This aspect of collecting Morgans is not allow for beginners. ( I refer those interest to my article on Super Premiums for Common Silver Dollars with Attractive Toning. )
Prooflike designations relate to grades, yet are not grades. Prooflike ( PL ) coins have mirror-like fields as a consequence of being among the few coins that were struck after a pair of dies was heavily polished. As more coins are struck, the effects on subsequent coins of such die polishing become less noticeable. Prooflike coins may have other characteristics that are like to those of dependable Proofs, specially contrast between reflective fields and white-frosted devices
deep mirror prooflike ( DMPL ) Morgans feature mirrors that are dense and and have more astuteness than those of merely prooflike Morgans. It is sometimes very difficult to discern a dividing agate line between substantially prooflike Morgans and DMPL Morgans. Single tests regarding the extant of coefficient of reflection, such as holding a pen a certain number of inches from the surface, are curious, though misinform, in my view. More than one divisor should be taken into consideration before concluding that a particular Morgan is ‘ deep mirror prooflike ’ ( DMPL ), rather than precisely prooflike ( PL ) .
The PCGS and the NGC are the two leading grading services, and experts at both services designate specific Morgans as prooflike ( PL ) or DMPL. These designations, when assigned, appear on the labels, wallpaper inserts inside the respective holders .
“ Some of the more more common CC dates can be found with specially fantastic, deeply reflective Prooflike or Deep Mirror Prooflike surfaces, ” Mark Feld states. Mark was a full-time grader at the NGC during most of the 1990s, and has worked as a grader for a few of the leading dealers in the coin business, including Steve Ivy .
Though by rights termed a appointment, apart from a grad, collectors much think of a PL or DMPL designation as being separate of a Morgan ’ second grade. An 1878-CC that is NGC certified ‘ MS-64 PL ’ has a value of possibly $ 725, while an 1878-CC that is NGC graded MS-64, without such a designation, may be worth an amount in the scope of $ 560. Further, an 1878-CC that is NGC certified MS-64 DMPL would retail for around $ 2100. Generally, PL and specially DMPL designations are worth substantial premiums, which vary well among dates.
Read more: Pachinko Tokens FOR SALE!
III. The Thirteen Dates
The thirteen dates of CC Morgans are listed here. I have placed NGC price template values for EF-40 class coins, in parentheses, to provide an idea of collecting costs and relative prices. Lower degree coins are less expensive and gem batch state coins are much more expensive : 1878-CC ( $ 101 ), 1879-CC ( $ 720 ), 1880-CC ( $ 264 ), 1881-CC ( $ 410 ), 1882-CC ( $ 104 ), 1883-CC ( $ 103 ), 1884-CC ( $ 114 ), 1885-CC ( $ 506 ), 1889-CC ( $ 2840 ), 1890-CC ( $ 155 ), 1891-CC ( $ 132 ), 1892-CC ( $ 498 ) and 1893-CC ( $ 1410 ). There are no Carson City Mint coins that date from 1886 to 1888 .
It is not practical to provide information about each of these dates here. I discuss two of the least barely CC Morgan issues, the 1878-CC and the 1882-CC, plus the scarcest, the 1889-CC .
Uncirculated ( ‘ Mint State ’ ) 1878-CC Morgans were released by the U.S. Treasury Department in the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, at side value. indeed, large quantities were available to the general populace from 1962 to 1964. late, more than sixty thousand 1878-CC Morgans were distributed, in GSA holders, from 1972 to 1974, for prices substantially above grimace value .
I suggest that more than 250,000 1878-CC Morgans exist now. Most of these grade AU-58 or higher .
This calendar month so far, Heritage sold NGC graded 1878-CC Morgans in the follow grades at the following respective prices : AG-03 $ 50, Good-06 $ 62, Fine-12 $ 79, Fine-15 $ 84, VF-20 $ 89, EF-40 $ 111.63, EF-45 $ 117.50, AU-50 $ 129.25, AU-58 $ 141, MS-61 $ 258.20, MS-62 $ 282, MS-63 $ 352.50, MS-64 $ 529.93, MS-64 PL $ 705, MS-65 $ 1527.50. All Morgan Dollar collectors could thus afford one. Collectors who are unwilling to spend more than $ 50 per coin credibly should not be focusing upon Morgan Dollars .
The 1882-CC publish is tied more common than the 1878-CC. A collector should be able to promptly locate dozens from which to choose. At least 650,000 survive .
This month, Heritage sold an NGC graded Good-04 1882-CC for $ 47. One of the most noteworthy 1882-CC Morgans is the coin that was in the “ Battle Born Collection. ” It is PCGS graded MS-67 and is CAC approved. On Aug. 9th, it brought $ 10,351. Back in Jan. 2004, ANR auctioned a PCGS graded MS-68 1882-CC for $ 43,700 !
There are probably entirely a few thousand 1882-CC Morgans that experts at the PCGS and the NGC have designated, or would regard as being, ‘ Deep Mirror Prooflike ’ ( DMPL ). normally, DMPL Morgans are not collected in grades below 64, as the contact marks that tend to characterize sub-64 grade Morgans are annoying when seen on very reflective surfaces .
In July 2012, Heritage auctioned two ‘ MS-64 DMPL ’ coins, a PCGS certified 1882-CC for $ 632.50 and an NGC certified one for $ 661.25. The latter was in a GSA holder, which is worth a bounty .
Indisputably, the 1889-CC is not just the scarcest Carson City Mint Morgan, it is one of the three keys to the whole Morgan Dollar series. The 1885-CC is besides relatively costly in abject grades. An 1885-CC in Good-04 rate costs vitamin a much as $ 300 at retail, while the 1889-CC may retail for around $ 500 in Good-04 grade. In EF-40 grade, an 1889-CC would retail for more than $ 2000, while an EF-40 grade 1885-CC would credibly retail for around $ 500. merely one other CC Mint Morgan, the 1893-CC, costs more than $ 1000 in EF-40 grade. In grades higher than MS-60, 1889-CC Morgans become dramatically expensive .
In August 2011, Stack ’ s-Bowers auctioned a PCGS graded MS-62 1889-CC for $ 25,875. In June 2012, Heritage sold two, with this lapp certification, one for $ 25,300 and the early, which is CAC approved, for $ 29,900 .
well break 1889-CC Morgans are much less costly. In Sept. 2011, Stack ’ s-Bowers sold an NGC graded AG-03 1889-CC for $ 345. In Nov. 2010, this same firm auctioned an NGC graded VG-08 mint for $ 489 .
This calendar month, Heritage sold a few 1889-CC Morgans, including two Fine grad coins, a PCGS graded Fine-15 coin for $ 881.25 and an NGC certified 1889-CC of the lapp rate for $ 822.50. Two NGC graded VF-25 1889-CC Morgans were auctioned, the first for $ 1116.25 and the second for $ 1057.50. A heavily worn, not gradable 1889-CC could credibly be found for less than $ 300 .
VII. GSA Holders
From 1972 to 1974, and again in 1979, the General Services Administration publicly sold quantities of Morgans, largely Carson City issues. According to the Wikipedia, the “ General Services Administration ( GSA ) is an mugwump agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help cope and support the basic operation of federal agencies. ”
There was little public interest in these GSA sales. It is noteworthy nowadays that most of the CC Morgans sold by the GSA were sealed by the GSA in hard plastic holders. Each such coin could not be removed without breaking the holder. There were besides some sealed in soft holders .
There are many collectors who pay premiums for coins in original GSA holders. In Jan. 2003, the NGC began to grade coins that remained sealed in such holders. After a mint is submitted to the NGC while in a GSA holder, a set, with data about the mint, including the grad assigned by the NGC, is placed by the NGC around the holder .
In a recent ledger on Carson City Morgans, there is a great distribute of information relating to NGC graded Morgans in GSA holders, and historic information about these GSA sales. Earlier this class, the second edition of this book was published by Whitman. The authors are Adam Crum, Selby Ungar and Jeff Oxman .
While the authors emphasize coins in GSA holders, this reserve besides covers the history of the Carson City Mint, the history of Morgan Dollars, coins in NGC holders, and popular die varieties. Adam Crum is the frailty president of the united states of Monaco Rare Coins, and Selby Ungar is with this lapp firm. Ungar is a long fourth dimension specialist in Carson City Morgans. Jeff Oxman is a well known collector, who has researched fail varieties of Morgans .
Although this bible serves as a price scout, estimated values for CC Morgans in GSA holders may besides be found on the NGC web site. auction prices realized for NGC certified Morgans in GSA holders are listed in Heritage, Stack ’ s-Bowers and Goldberg records .
In the past, I was not impressed with the idea of collecting Morgans in GSA holders. I now have a much more positive position on GSA holders. When a Morgan Silver Dollar is found sealed in a genuine GSA holder, it is apparent that it is has not been dipped or cleaned since the 1970s, and that it has never been doctored. As coin doctors have, on numerous occasions, successfully deceived experts at the NGC and the PCGS, the fact these Morgans in GSA holders were sealed by the U.S. government, probably before 1974, is significant .
“ While puttying is not a huge consequence with Morgans, ” John Brush encounters many Morgans that “ have been a morsel overly-dipped and some that have been ‘ hitchhike ’ to remove hairlines. For experts, these are fairly noticeable and the marking services have gotten better at spotting these issues a well, ” John maintains .
“ As for artificial tone, there are obviously Morgans that exist with this issue that are hush in [ PCGS or NGC ] holders, ” Brush points out. “ The grade services have besides gotten much rigorous regarding toned coins and this has slowed down the number of artificially tone coins [ coming ] on the market, ” John notes .
VIII. Concluding Thoughts
To those who collect Morgans, I recommend buying coins that have naturally toned, at least to an extent, though are not wildly toned or particularly vivid. Shades of russet, often brown, and classify spots or patches of rich blue colors naturally appear on Morgan Dollars. Somewhat frequently, apricot or peach colors naturally appear a well, though normally accompanying russet shades in little bands, patches or rings. It would not be a well idea to buy a Morgan that is wholly peach colored. Distinguishing natural toning from artificial tone can sometimes be unmanageable.
A collector who regrets buying a specific coin may then sell it and replace it with another. Morgan Dollars in NGC or PCGS holders are easy to sell at competitive prices. There is a huge market for PCGS and NGC certified Morgans, with many active dealers. In PCGS or NGC holders, Carson City Morgans are among the most liquid of all classical U.S. coins .
Beginners may wish to start with mobilize coins or with uncirculated ( MS ) coins that they find to be relatively cheap. It is good idea to aim questions at experts. carefully viewing high resolution images of coins and, of course, coins in actuality is authoritative. Putting in concert a set of thirteen CC Morgans is a lot of playfulness .
©2012 Greg Reynolds