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The 1870-CC dollar has the distinction of being the first Carson City silver dollar, which makes for an interesting story.

The Carson City Mint was actually a long time in the making. In 1859, two prospectors named Patrick McLaughlin and Peter O’Reilly discovered a silver deposit on Mount Davidson at Washoe in the Nevada Territory. You could say that since that day silver dollar collecting has never been the same, although that would be getting ahead of the story.

In the years following, Virginia City became the center of activity in the area. The residents of Nevada decided that the great silver wealth that initial discovery had exposed entitled them to a mint. So one was eventually erected. The impressive store structure was located in Carson City, which was at the time a relatively quiet community about 15 miles from the center of the mining activity in Virginia City. The facility was ready to produce coins in 1870.

Carson City would never really live up to expectations. Abe Curry, the first superintendent, had many political and business enemies who chose to send their silver to San Francisco instead.

It is somewhat unusual that Carson City became synonymous with scarce silver dollars, especially when dates like the 1884-CC have substantial percentages of their mintages available in Mint State. The Carson City dollars that actually are in short supply are the Seated Liberty silver dollars, which the facility produced from 1870 until 1873.

The most historic of these Seated Liberty dollars is clearly the first, the 1870-CC. With a mintage of 11,758, it would turn out to be the most heavily produced Carson City Seated Liberty dollar. The others had no higher mintage than 3,150.

The 1870-CC is certainly the most available of the four Carson City Seated Liberty dollars. It would be a grave error, however, to assume that the 1870-CC is easy to find, especially in upper grades.

Back in 1870 there was not likely to be heavy saving of the 1870-CC. First it was a dollar, which was a lot money to many. It was also a time when most did not collect by both date and mint, so many were happy with the 1870 from Philadelphia. Finally there were virtually no collectors around Carson City at the time.

The 1870-CC is currently at $900 in G-4 and $100,000 in MS-60. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation has graded 93 examples of the 1870-CC. Of that total, just six were called Mint State and the best were MS-63. Professional Coin Grading Service has graded 274 examples, and the Mint State total stands at 14 coins. Again none were better than MS-63. At both services, the Mint State coins basically fall into a range from MS-61 to MS-63. PCGS has only seen coins in MS-62 and MS-63.

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