Carson City was founded in a place known as Eagle Station. During the gold rush days of the mid to late 1800’s many people were coming west to find their fame and fortune. Eagle Station had gained its name from a dead eagle displayed over the entrance door to a trading post located here. But, as the area grew and the founding of a town began the name Carson City was chosen to honor the famous Kit Carson. Carson City grew because it was centrally located between Lake Tahoe and Virginia City. Virginia City was growing with the discovery of the Comstock lode and Lake Tahoe had the timber resources to supply the mines and their operations. Being central to two vital resources of the west, Carson City was a natural choice for the state capitol. Today Carson City is growing, but only boasts a population of around 55,000 people. It has almost everything a person could need and yet can still be reminiscent of the old west.
Carson City, NV
With the Comstock lode there were many precious metals coming out of Nevada, and with the shortage of coins in the west, Carson City became a natural place for a new mint. The Carson City mint was opened in 1870 and produced dimes, twenty cent pieces, quarters, halves, Seated dollars, Trade dollars, Morgan dollars, five dollar gold pieces, ten dollars gold pieces, and twenty dollar gold pieces while it was open. The mint was shut down in 1885 for political reasons, but was later reopened in 1889 and ran until 1893 when it closed for good. The Carson City mint is still standing and today operates as the Nevada State Museum.The Carson City mint produced coins in such small quantities that today many of them are highly sought after prizes. Carson City dollars are the most popular coins from the Carson City mint, but many people collect the other denominations as well. The Carson City mint saw many changes in coinage during its short life. Twenty cent pieces came and went, arrows were added to quarters and halves to signify a change in silver value, and the Carson City dollar changed design three times!
The Carson City mint produced dimes from 1871-1878. All of these dimes are the Seated Liberty style and the rarest are the dimes form 1871-1874. In 1875 the nation began to make 20C pieces to cover the shortage of small coinage. The Carson City mint produced these in the only two years the coins were made for circulation, 1875 and 1876.
The 1875 is not too difficult to locate, but the 1876-CC 20C is a classic rarity with most of the mintage having been melted. The quarters were produced in the same style and made from 1870-1878, with none made in 1874. The only common dates are 1876 and 1877. The Seated Liberty Carson City halves were made from 1870-1878.
The rarest being the earliest and the last year of issue. Carson City dollars are some of our favorites. Most people know of the Carson City Morgan dollars, but fewer know of the Cason City Seated dollars and the Carson City Trade dollars. In 1870 the Carson City mint began to produce Seated Liberty dollars. They did so only until 1873 when the Carson City mint began the production of Trade dollars. Trade dollars were produced at Carson City from 1873-1878 before the Morgan dollar took over as the official dollar of the United States.
Carson City Morgan dollars were produced in larger quantities than their predecessors, but were still limited in their production. Carson City Morgans were made from 1878-1885 and then again from 1889 to 1893. The 1889-CC dollar is the most highly sought after Carson City dollar, but the 1893-CC and 1879-CC are also highly sought after dates of Carson City dollars. Carson City gold coins were also produced during these years. There are a few Carson City gold coins that are easily located, but many have extremely small mintages and are scarce.
Carson City gold coins are highly prized and sought after by many. The Carson City mint produced $5, $10, and $20 denominations in gold. The Carson City $5 gold pieces were produced from 1870-1884 and again from 1890-1893. The highest mintage of any of the Carson City $5’s is the 1892-CC with 82,968 made that year. Many of the Carson City fives have mintages less than 10,000. Carson City $10 gold pieces were minted from 1870-1884 and again from1890-1893. As with the fives, Carson City tens are rare with many low mintages.
The 1891-CC Carson City ten had over 103,000 made, but there are eleven years of minting at Carson City where less than 10,000 tens were made. Carson City $20 gold pieces were made from 1870-1879, 1882-1885, and 1889-1893. The rarest Carson City twenty dollar gold piece is the 1870-CC. Carson City twenties are much easier to locate than the tens and fives, but they are still in short supply. The Carson City mint had its highest production of Carson City twenties in 1876 with 138,441 pieces made, a fraction of the 1,597,000 made in San Francisco that year and the 6,256,797 made in Philadelphia in 1904. Carson City gold is rare and desirable.
While the Carson City Mint struck a number of legal tender coins, the total production of Carson City gold coins was quite small. Take double eagles for instance, 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 with the rare “CC” mint mark are far rarer than those struck at other mints.
This was just a brief overview of the Carson City mint, Carson City coins, and Carson City itself. If you are interested in collecting Carson City Coins feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to help you acquire a few, build a type set, or build a complete collection of Carson City coinage. If you are just looking to acquire a Carson City coin made right here at least 110 years ago we can help. The Carson City coin most collected is the Morgan dollar made 1878-1893 at Carson City. The Carson City dollar would compliment any collection or type set. We have a Carson City coin for any budget. From a Carson City dime that is a common date and well worn for around $30 to a Carson City dollar that is circulated for around $60 to an Uncirculated Carson City dollar for around $200 to a rare date Carson City dollar for any where between $200 and $50,000 to a Carson City gold coin starting at about $500 and going to about $250,000.