Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Carson City Morgan Silver Dollar - A Favorite of Collectors and Investors

I like Morgan Silver Dollars a lot. What I don't like is how some sellers often misrepresent them, either by advertising these dollars as rare when most are not, and/or correctly stating they are 90% silver but omitting how much silver they actually contain. And I'm not too crazy about the healthy premiums of Morgan (and Peace) dollars being charged by dealers. But I make an exception for Carson City (CC) silver dollars. 
The Carson City mint produced the Morgan CC silver dollar for 13 years, from 1878 through 1885 and again from 1889 through 1893. Of the slightly more than 656,000,000 Morgan dollars minted from 1878 to 1904 and again in 1921, only about 13,862,000 Morgans (approximately 2%) were minted by the Carson City mint, the least of any of the five U. S. Mints that produced Morgan silver dollars. Here are those production numbers by year...

1878CC = 2,212,000; 1879CC = 756,000; 1880CC = 591,000; 1881CC = 296,000; 1882CC = 1,133,000; 1883CC = 1,204,000; 1884CC = 1,136,000; 1885CC = 228,000; 1889CC = 350,000; 1890CC = 2,309,041; 1891CC = 1,618,000; 1892CC = 1,352,000; 1893CC = 677,000


(The most valuable CC Morgan, by far, is the 1889CC followed by the 1893CC and 1879CC).


But it's anybody's guess how many CC Morgans exist today. Most likely some were lost in 1918 when 270,232,722 were melted down by the government to recover their silver content (the Pittman Act). And more were probably turned in and melted down when silver was on its way to $50 per ounce a few years back. Others may be hidden in buried caches, their location long forgotten and their owners no longer on this earthly plane. No wonder CC Morgans are in high demand and fetch a generous premium.

The CC Morgan you see at left was purchased from a local coin dealer a few years back. The story on it is:

   The U.S.Government "discovered" a bunch of CC Morgans in the mid-1960s, encased them in plastic, boxed them up along with a numbered certificate and sold them to the public. 

It doesn't show up well but this coin has some noticeable bag marks and would probably be graded in the low Mint State grades of MS-60 or so a.k.a. Brilliant Uncirculated. Current dealer bid/ask price (the Coin Dealer Newsletter) on a BU 1883 CC Morgan is $190/$205. 

The places I like to shop for Carson City Morgans (including encased CC Morgans like that pictured) are at local coin shows but you can find them elsewhere. But beware as there are some very good counterfeits. Higher valued Morgan dollars, including CC Morgans, are a prime target for counterfeiters (the asking price for a Brilliant Uncirculated 1889CC is currently at $25,000). For any higher priced Morgan silver dollar, CC or not, buy only from a dealer you trust. And expect to pay a higher premium for the CC mint marked Morgans.
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Happy investing. JA

1 comment:

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