When it comes to interesting issues, it does not get much better than the 1900-O over CC Morgan dollar. Not only is the 1900-O/CC interesting but it’s also relatively available, so most can have an example of their own to enjoy.
The official story of the 1900-O/CC can be located in the Mint Director’s report of 1899 where it is announced that as of June 30, 1899, the Carson City Mint was no longer a mint even though in reality it had stopped making coins after 1893.
The demise of Carson City was prematurely brought on by the fact that the facility had never lived up to the expectations in Washington. It had political problems locally from the day it opened its doors, which resulted in some of the Carson City silver being shipped to San Francisco. With New Orleans in operation – which was not the case in 1870 when Carson City opened – it was possible to shut down Carson City.
Ending Carson City’s role as a mint saw some 5 million of its coins shipped to other vaults including the Treasury, where later they would become the bulk of the GSA sales of the 1970s. There were a number of dies that had never been used, so it was decided to fit them with an “O” mintmark so that they could still be of use.
Normally a coin such as the 1900-O/CC would be tough and expensive. In this case, however, there were a number of dies involved.
It is believed that out of a total 1900-O mintage of 12,590,000, as many as 10 percent were the 1900-O/CC.
It took a couple decades for the 1900-O/CC to be discovered, sometime in the 1920s. At that time there was not much interest in Morgan dollars, so it was not avidly sought. Oftentimes, bags of the 1900-O would produce some numbers of the 1900-O/CC.
There was one exception, mentioned by Q. David Bowers in his book, The Official Red Book of Morgan Silver Dollars. “The 1900-O/CC dollars constituted a small fraction of the total mintage for 1900-O, probably over 10 percent but not much,” explains Bowers.
“Except for a full bag of overmintmarks obtained by Dwight Manley ... most have been found mixed with regular 1900-O dollars.”
Bowers also recalled a bag he purchased that came from Montana. About one-third were the 1900-O/CC. In general, however, it was a treasure hunt of regular 1900-O bags hoping to find the 1900-O/CC.
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Wer’e lucky in terms of regular 1900-O bags. While many were paid out in the early years, there were very significant quantities still sitting in the Treasury for years. In accounts from various sources you get an impression of a regular flow of 1900-O bags from the 1930s through the 1950s and then a flood in 1962-1964 with hundreds of additional bags being reported.
In the case of Mint State examples, where you might expect lower quality, the 1900-O/CC is a pleasant surprise. There are some decent strikes and even a few sharp ones. The clarity of the “CC” depends largely on the die and whether it had been used for a long period of time. If it was still relatively new, the “CC” can be sharp. To top it off, the luster is usually excellent.
The 1900-O/CC is certainly popular, but the numbers available are high enough to keep prices modest. In VG-8 the 1900-O/CC is $37.50. In MS-60 it lists for $285, while an MS-65 is at $1,850.
In a strict sense, the 1900-O/CC is not required to have a complete Morgan dollar collection. That said, it’s hard to imagine any Morgan dollar collector not wanting the 1900-O/CC as it’s an extremely interesting coin. In addition, that “CC” mintmark under the “O” really helps to tell a story of the problems that saw the Carson City Mint close long before its time. That just adds to the interest in what is literally a piece of history in silver.