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Mintage makes Carson City 20-cent piece rare

The 20-cent piece was an interesting but rather short-lived denomination. In fact, business strikes of the 20-cent piece were produced only in 1875 and 1876, and if the mintages were large there would still not be a large supply. As it worked out, the mintages were not generally large, making any 20-cent piece tough. However, some are tougher than their mintages might suggest simply because there is type demand – demand from those wanting a 20-cent piece from each of the three facilities that produced them, and for other combinations.

If you want a 20-cent piece from Carson City, your only real option for less than $100,000 is the 1875-CC. That is because it had a much higher mintage than the 1876-CC. It appears that the 1876-CC might have been melted and perhaps never really released.

There are no questions about the 1875- CC. It was definitely released and it had the second highest mintage of 20-cent pieces with a total of 133,290 being produced. In fact, there was probably some unspoken pressure when it came to 1875-CC production, since it had been representatives from the state of Nevada who had been champions of the idea of having a 20-cent piece.

Someone must have been enthusiastic over the idea of a 20-cent piece. In the first year, San Francisco produced over 1 million of the new denomination. Of course, that turned out to be a mistake, because San Francisco would never produce another example.

Things were a little less enthusiastic in Carson City, where the 1875-CC mintage stood at 133,290. Of course no one at the time in the Carson City area was saving many new coins, which makes the 1875-CC a pretty tough date in Mint State. It has an MS-60 price of $1,650, while an MS-65 is priced at $10,000. In fact, the price may be low. PCGS reports just under 250 examples of the 1875-CC graded in Mint State but of that total only 19 made MS-65 or better with 15 at MS-65 and 4 more at MS-66. That is not a very large supply, especially when you consider potential demand from type collectors.

In G-4 the 1875-CC is also interesting. At $335, it is more than the lower mintage dates from Philadelphia. Neither the 1875 or 1876 had a mintage of even 40,000, yet they are both lower than the 1875-CC in G-4. It’s hard to explain except to suggest there were coin collectors to save examples in the East.

It’s possible, especially with what we know of the 1876-CC and the probability that it was melted, that some examples of the 1875-CC might also have been melted. We cannot be certain, but the possibility is there.

Moreover, if you want a Carson City 20-cent piece for any reason, the 1875-CC is your only real option. The 1876-CC is too rare and that keeps demand solid for a coin that has a very suspect supply.

More Resources:

• Subscribe to our Coin Price Guide, buy Coin BooksCoin Folders and join the NumisMaster VIP Program

2010 U.S. Coin Digest, The Complete Guide to Current Market Values, 8th ed.

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money, 1928 to Date

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition



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