Historic Carson City Coins 1870-1893
Inside this exclusive report, we'll relate the fascinating history of the American frontier of the 1800’s and share details of the Gold and Silver mining days in the old West.
There’s Gold in Them Thar’ Hills!
Looking back, the history of the Carson City Mint began with the California Gold Rush of the 1850’s and the discovery of Gold and Silver in Nevada’s High Sierra Mountains. You may recall that the classic TV western "Bonanza" was set near Carson City and Virginia City in the Nevada Territory.
These were the days before the Civil War, when wagon trains fought Indians across the plains, and sailing ships had to round the tip of South America to get to California. The California Gold Rush lured thousands of miners in the 1850's in search of fame and fortune. In a few years most of them returned back east, hungry and broke.
$20 Liberty Gold Issued in 1850
During this era, most Gold Bullion was converted into legal tender gold coins with the "Liberty Head" design.
Double Eagles were the largest denomination of U.S. Mint Liberty gold coinage regularly struck during the 1800's. By law, they had a face value of $20– the worldwide price at the time of their pure Gold content of .9675 troy ounces.
The Carson City Mint struck $20 Liberty Gold pieces only intermittently from 1870 to 1893. Total mintages most years were quite low. In total, they were issued for only 20 short years making any survivor highly desirable to own.
Extremely Low Original Mintages
To distinguish coins minted at Carson City from those struck at other U.S. Mints, each one had a "CC" mint mark incorporated into the reverse design.
While the Carson City Mint struck a variety of legal tender coins, the total production of Carson City Gold Coins was quite small. Of all the Double Eagles released by the U.S. Mint, fewer than one-half of one percent were struck at the Carson City Mint. Today, $20 Liberty Gold Coins bearing the famed "CC" mint mark are far rarer than those struck at other branch mints.
All Carson City Gold Pieces Are Scarce
Unfortunately, very few of the original Carson City $20 Liberty Coins were preserved in "Uncirculated" mint condition. In the late 1800’s, the Western Frontier was in a rapid building phase and the available money in coin form left the U.S. Mint and experienced rapid turnover, moving from hand to hand very quickly.
Carson City Gold Coins have always been some of the most prestigious and highly desirable of all the U.S. Mint Rare Coins.
Today, every $20 Liberty Gold Coin from the Carson City Mint is highly prized and the rarest dates are quite expensive. In fact, the 1870-CC $20 Liberty is valued today at $100,000 each in XF condition. Thankfully, other dates are available in affordable price ranges.
Carson City Mint Funded After the Civil War
By 1858, a promoter named Abe Curry had founded Carson City and named it after the Wild West hero and Indian fighter Kit Carson shown at left. A few years later, he successfully lobbied Congress to approve a branch mint in Carson City, Nevada to solve both the need for coins and to avoid the dangerous hauling of raw bullion. There were delays in opening the mint due to Congressional funding during the Civil War and the first coins finally rolled off the Carson City presses in 1870.
A Brief History of U.S. Gold Coins
Prior to the California Gold Rush, the Federal Government issued primarily Gold Coins in the $10 “Eagle” denomination from 1795 until 1849. This coin contained a little less than a half-ounce of Gold.
Gold had been a fairly scarce commodity until it became readily available with the large-scale discoveries of Gold out west. As a result, in 1850 Congress overhauled the American coinage system. The mint began producing a new $20 Gold Coin called the “Double Eagle” because it contained twice the Gold of the $10 Eagle denomination.
Double Eagles were the largest denomination of all regularly minted U.S. Gold Coins during the 1800's. They bear a face value of $20 which was the worldwide value at the time of its pure Gold content- .9675 troy ounces.
The now famous $20 Double Eagle design by James B. Longacre first moved into regular circulation in 1850. It soon became the coin of choice in transactions needing large amounts of coined money. The Carson City Mint struck the $20 Liberty Gold pieces intermittently from 1870 to 1893.
Extremely Low Original Mintages
To distinguish coins minted at Carson City from those struck at other U.S. Mints, each one had a "CC" mint mark incorporated into the reverse design. While the Carson City Mint struck a variety of legal tender coins, the total production of Carson City Gold Coins was quite small. For example, of all the Double Eagles released by the U.S. Mint, fewer than one-half of one percent were struck at the Carson City Mint.
Today, most coins bearing the famed "CC" mint mark are far rarer than those
struck at the other branch mints.|
Since collectors love to own what other people can’t have, Carson City Gold Coins have always been highly desirable and preferred by serious collectors.
Gold coins were only minted intermittently from 1870 to 1893. Because they are so scarce and there are only a total of 20 different dates, uncirculated specimens are very expensive. As a result, Carson City Gold Coins grading from VF-20 to AU-55 are highly sought after by collectors. These are coins that show some signs of wear and actually circulated on the western frontier. We have a variety of dates and grades to chose from in this range.
Where Did All The Gold Money Go?
In the late 1800’s, Carson City and Virginia City were in a rapid building phase created by the explosion of wealth from the mines and combined with the influx of thousands of workers. Thus, the available money in coin form usually experienced rapid turnover, moving from hand to hand very quickly.
Uncirculated examples are not frequently traded today. That’s because most Gold Coins struck at Carson City quickly moved into circulation to fill the need for coinage. The soft faces of the 90% pure Gold Coins wore down quickly being carried in the pockets of miners. The worn out and damaged coins were removed from circulation where they were melted down and forever destroyed. As a result, many years of coinage from the Carson City Mint, especially the early years, are highly prized and the few existing specimens are very expensive. Thankfully for most collectors, many dates and grades still trade today at affordable prices. Call our Gold Specialists at 1-800-928-6468 for our "CC" inventory list at Austin Rare Coins, Inc.
How to Find "Carson City" Gold
Austin Rare Coins is very pleased to offer you a very
special selection of highly desirable Carson City mint gold coins dating from
1870 to 1893. To appreciate the extraordinary value of this Carson City
collection, it's important to understand the scarcity of all "CC" Mint Gold.
Carson City Mint Strikes Gold For Only 20 Years
In addition to the fact that "CC" gold coins were minted for just 20 years, the original mintages of most years were quite low. The 1870 $20 Liberty had an original mintage of only 3,786 total pieces. Now that's low! By comparison, the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia struck millions upon millions of gold coins dating from 1795 through 1933.
Still fewer Carson City Mint coins were ever saved. While collectors back East had the time and money to collect Gold Coins, on the western frontier people worked hard for a living and struggled to survive.
Out West most Gold Coins moved into circulation quickly and very few were put away. Working people couldn't afford to put away a $20 Gold piece that was worth almost a month’s wages. Because so few were saved in uncirculated condition, collectors today highly prize any Gold Coin bearing the famous “CC” mint mark. Even circulated specimens trade at premiums and are hoarded away quickly by coin collectors and investors alike.
How to Get Started
Today, Austin Rare Coins, Inc. would like to help you get started collecting certified Gold Coins from the Carson City Mint. We highly recommend you call one of our Rare Coin Specialists who can answer all your questions about Carson City coins. Call toll free 9 AM to 9 PM at 1-800-928-6468 Monday through Friday.
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