Will the Carson City coin market cry “Uncle”? The strength of it will soon be tested as consignors from across the country have gathered all the "CC" coins they could muster and have hurled them headlong into auctions to be held during FUN-show week, from January 10th through the 15th.
Bountiful Assortment of “CC” Coins Offered at 2005 FUN Show
By Rusty Goe
January 5, 2005
Sometimes years pass before collectors of Carson City coins are given the opportunity to choose at any one time between more than a few rarities from the historic mint. Now all of a sudden rare dates such as 1871-CC, 1872-CC, and 1874-CC dimes are being offered: in Uncirculated condition, no less! Along with Mint State specimens of 1871-CC and 1872-CC quarters, 1870-CC half dollars, and an 1878-CC Trade dollar. And these are just part of the grand selection of “CC” coins offered in ANR’s Kennywood Sale to be held in conjunction with the annual Florida United Numismatists (FUN) convention in Fort Lauderdale from January 10th through 16th.
ANR is not the only auction company featuring a dream-come-true experience for Carson City coin enthusiasts. Bowers and Merena, Superior, and Heritage are offering an aggregate of more than 721 coins with the popular double-letter mintmark during the same period. All told, more than 770 Carson City coins will be auctioned in Fort Lauderdale during the second week of January. Not to mention the scores of “CC” coins to be offered on the bourse floor at dealer’s tables.
This represents an unprecedented opportunity for patient collectors eagerly seeking dates needed to fill holes in their sets of Carson City coins. Out of the 111 different date and denomination combinations issued by the Carson City Mint, 98 are represented in the combined auction sales at this year’s FUN show. Silver coins dominate this large assemblage of “CC” consignments, although 50 of the 57 dates of gold coins minted at Carson City are available as well.
Noticeably missing from this vast array of “CC” coinage are the 1873-CC No Arrows dime and quarter, and the 1876-CC 20-cent piece. Nonetheless, one of only 12 known 1893-CC Proof Morgan silver dollars is up for sale and not one, but two Uncirculated specimens of an 1871-CC dime. Also being offered is an 1870-CC double eagle in VF, and the two finest known 1879-CC double eagles graded MS-62.
Four out of the ten different types of coins produced at Carson City feature, in these auctions, at least one example of every date in the respective series: Seated Liberty halves, Seated Liberty dollars, Morgan silver dollars, and $20 gold pieces. The Seated Liberty quarter and Trade dollar groups include all but one date in their respective categories; and the same is true of 20-centers (there being only two dates in the series to begin with).
A casual glance through the auction catalogs reveals the diverse range of condition ratings in this large offering of “CC” coins. Over 50 lots are described as problem coins, with descriptive adjectives such as, corroded, cleaned, scratched, bent, tooled, and whizzed. Anyone familiar with the Carson City series recognizes these words since there are varying degrees of damage on many of the coins from this mint. This is why collectors are thrilled to discover choice, problem-free specimens. It is tantamount to finding lost treasure, of which there are plentiful examples among the offerings in the FUN show auctions.
Consider for example, the 1871-CC quarter graded MS-64 by PCGS. This is the third finest known example of this date and one of only three Uncirculated specimens extant. The 1872-CC dime graded MS-61 by PCGS is the only known Uncirculated example of this scarce date.
Not all rarities need be in Uncirculated condition to produce goose bumps on collector’s arms. Stark evidence of this are two specific quarters being offered in the ANR Kennywood sale: the 1870-CC graded XF-45 by NGC, and the 1873-CC With Arrows graded AU-55 by PCGS. Experienced numismatists will most likely be drooling over these two pieces. Dates such as these are rarely available in grades above VF and most collectors are content to obtain examples in any problem-free circulated condition.
This also holds true with dates such as the 1871-CC and 1872-CC dimes, and 1870-CC quarters and halves. There is good news for collectors searching for low-grade examples of these dates, too. The FUN show auctions include a single specimen of the 1871-CC and 1872-CC dime in Fine condition, two low-grade 1870-CC halves in VG and Fine, and two 1870-CC quarters in VF.
And what would a Carson City coin bonanza be without multiple examples of every date in the Morgan silver dollar series? There is a generous offering of Deep Mirror Prooflike specimens, more than a handful of MS-67s, and a wonderful selection of the key dates in several grade ranges. But of course, it is the 1893-CC graded PR-65 by PCGS that transcends all other Morgan dollars in these offerings.
A keen observer will note what a historic event this year’s edition of the FUN show, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is. Not to be over-shadowed, is the significance of such a monumental offering of Carson City coins. While most attendees at the coin show will be enjoying the pleasing weather in Florida, many collectors devoted to the Carson City series will be basking in the glorious numismatic environment surrounded by “CC” coins, which will surely delight the senses. It will be like a chocoholic visiting a candy factory.
The question remains, why have so many “CC” coins been consigned at the same time? Opinions vary, but obviously, the consignors are convinced that this is an opportune time to sell. Activity in the Carson City series has been brisk, and nearly every month an article appears highlighting the sale of a rare coin from the famous Nevada mint, or headlining how hot the market is for these special coins. With all the fanfare, some people have theorized that the “CC” market is nearing a peak. This remains to be seen.
One factor deserving of consideration, however, is there seems to be no slow-down in demand. At the same time, with the exception of this latest offering presented in auctions during the FUN show, there is no over-supply of Carson City coins.
You can tell by the interesting assortment of “CC” coins consigned to these auctions that sellers searched in every corner of their attics, basements and safe deposit boxes, and pulled coins from out of the woodwork to place as many of them as possible up for sale. Without a doubt, some of the finest examples of Carson City coins to surface in years will cross the auction block. But we must also consider all the damaged coins that consignors submitted.
In sum, this current offering of “CC" coins, will probably be one of the largest in history. It seems unlikely that this level of abundance will be a recurring event on the auction circuit over the coming months and years. Once these coins are sold—with the exception of Morgan dollars—the market will most likely dry up, especially for the scarce-date Seated Liberty issues. If recent trends are an indication, the competition will be fierce and guaranteed higher prices realized will reflect it.
There will probably be collectors in attendance who were at the first FUN show held in 1955. If questioned, they could probably recall how the coin collecting community had just begun to recognize the rarity and popularity of Carson City coinage. They will be the first to remind collectors today that those were the “good old days” for prices of “CC” coins.
What will collectors 20 or more years from now remember about the prices of “CC” coins in 2005? After hundreds of thousands of dollars (and no doubt millions) are spent purchasing the “CC” coins in this year’s (2005) FUN sales, the future will be the only judge of how reasonable the prices were. The future will also hold pleasant memories for all who experienced one of the biggest bonanzas of Carson City coins to ever be offered at one time. May all who participate in it, enjoy.