There is something magical about the Morgan Dollar. It is the only coin that seems to remind us of the Manifest Destiny as the country expanded across the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean. It brings up images of the Old West where people moved to make a better life looking for gold and silver or making money from those who have struck it rich. Sure this is a romantic view and does not take into consideration the plight of the Native American nations, but it ties into the fascination there has been with the west of the 19th Century.
The Comstock Lode was the greatest discovery of silver. So much silver was discovered that it was causing the price of silver was declining. To protect the financial interests of the mine owners and allegedly the nation’s economy, congress passed the Bland-Allison Act of 1879 to order the US Mint to buy the silver evacuated from the mines. The law required the Mint to produce 90-percent silver coins for circulation using that silver. The result was an over production of silver that would have repercussions for years to come.
Virginia City was the hub of the region, many deals and other favors lead to the building of an assay office then a full branch mint in nearby Carson City. Its history is an example of how things worked in the 19th century. The cornerstone for this branch mint was laid in September 1865 and was opened to strike coins in 1870. When the Morgan Dollar began its run in 1878, this branch mint would strike far more coins than necessary.
As the Mint purchased the required amount of silver and struck coins, the extra Morgan Dollars were bagged and placed into storage. These bags were transported to different government buildings including the Department of the Treasury in downtown Washington, DC. These coins were discovered in the 1960s by the General Services Administration (GSA) when they were cleaning out old government buildings in Carson City for sale and the Treasury building for refurbishing. The GSA sale of these Carson City dollars in special holders caught the imagination of the public.
The stories of the CC Mint is legendary. Like a lot of people, when I started to collect Morgan Dollars, I thought the cost of purchasing examples of these CC minted dollars was a bit out of my price range. Over the last few years, I have been looking for an affordable (under $100) nice looking coin. It would have to be at least in Very Fine condition with some mint luster, but at least worth the grade.
I finally found one! The 1890-CC Morgan Dollar is not worth a lot in comparison to other CC mint Morgan Dollars. But it is still a nice coin. But when I was able to find a Very Fine 1890-CC Morgan Dollar for under $100, I had to make this purchase. It is a nice coin with a little shine that suggests it was dipped a long time ago. But the elements are nice and the CC mint mark on the reverse is very clear.
While uncirculated coins are very beautiful, circulated coins have a history. What events did this coin see? Whose hands has this coin passed through? Was this coin used in Deadwood, South Dakota? Was it once handled by Buffalo Bill Cody? Or Teddy Roosevelt? I may not know this coin’s history, but it is fun to imagine while admiring its beauty.