• Karin A. Costa, GPPA

Carson City Mint Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Updated: Feb 9, 2020

On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, the Carson City mint celebrated its 150 years since the issuing of its first coin in 1870 with a special pressing of .999 fine silver medallions on Coin Press No. 1. The medallion dies were designed by former US Mint engraver Tom Rogers.

Did you know that the Carson City Mint had been closed for 4 years in the late 1880's due to politics? Newly elected president, Democrat Grover Cleveland, was anti-silver and favored closing the Mint. Soon after his election, Mint Superintendent James Crawford died and was replaced by William Garrard, a Democrat who unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Cleveland to keep minting coins.

Cleveland believed in backing paper money with gold. A "hard currency" supporter, Cleveland believed that US currency backed by the coinage of silver actually "undermined confidence in the American dollar and punished creditors by paying them money less valuable than the dollars they had originally loaned". (MillerCenter.org) Cleveland's stance on silver was in opposition with his constituents; however, The Bland-Allison Act remained law until the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 replaced it.

During Garrard's tenure, the Mint operated as a US assay office until 1889 when Benjamin Harrison, a Republican who had support from the silver mining interests, became president. No coins, therefore, were produced in 1886, 1887 and 1888.

The silver in the Comstock began to run out in the early 1890's, and an economic depression hit the area. Combined with rapidly declining silver prices, a stock

market panic in 1893 and the re-election of Grover Cleveland, the Mint officially closed in 1893. Rumors in 1895 that there had been corruption and theft of silver bullion by employees and Carson City residents during the Mint's operation were not substantiated.

Superintendent Garrard, Carson City Mint Cashier's Office, 1895

The Mint again reverted to an assay office until 1933.

Due to the limited coinage produced, the Carson City mint marks are some of the rarest and most desirable collectible coins on the market. Collectors know that the "CC" mint marks are special, with only 13 production dates to choose from in dimes, 20 Cent pieces, quarters, half dollars, trade dollars and dollars.

Morgan silver dollars are the common in our northern Nevada market at dealers and auctions.

1878 CC Morgan Silver Dollar

PCGS MS-65 (Courtesy

Southgate Coins, Reno, NV)

An 1873 CC dime without arrows sold in 1915 for $170 and then in 1950 for $4,000. It sold again in 1996 for $550,000 and then in 2004 for $891,250. Shortly thereafter, it sold around $1 million. (Image and sales history courtesy of Southgate Coins, Reno, NV)

Check out the events unfolding at the Sesquicentennial of the Carson City Mint at http://mint150.com/event/the-sesquicentennial-of-the-carson-city-mint/

© 2010 - 2021 by Karin A. Costa, GPPA  AMM, CES                    775-722-2776               



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