The 1892-CC Morgan dollar is a very interesting coin from a very interesting year. After all, 1892 saw the introduction of the new Barber dimes, quarters and half dollars. It was also the year of the first commemorative in the form of the Columbian Exposition half dollar. It was also a year when the writing was on the wall for the Carson City Mint.
The mint in Carson City opened in 1870. There was a world of promise at the time that it would turn out large numbers of coins. This was especially the case when you consider that the famous Comstock Lode was just 20 miles away.
However, the CC Mint had political problems from the start, so some mine owners refused to send their silver to Carson City, shipping it instead to San Francisco. This meant lower mintages than had been expected at Carson City. By 1892 the Comstock Lode was on its way out in terms of importance as Colorado by then was a bigger silver producer. Moreover, silver dollars, the stock in trade of Carson City, were not really needed any longer. Over 357 million were in Treasury vaults, another 7.5 million were on hand in national banks and fewer than 50 million were actually circulating.
Under the circumstances, a large 1892-CC mintage would have been a surprise. As it turned out, the 1892-CC was not as low a mintage at 1,352,000 as might have been expected. But the coin was somewhat unusual by how it was released into circulation.
The coins were not needed. In all probability, nearly the entire mintage simply sat in a vault at the mint. Around 1900, however, they were shipped either to San Francisco or Washington, D.C., to sit in other vaults along with all other coins on hand at the former mint.
The 1892-CC could have joined many other CC dollars in Washington, but did not do so. Many apparently went to San Francisco where they could have been melted under the terms of the 1918 Pittman Act, or paid out to the gaming tables of Nevada.
There are assorted reports of sightings of the 1892-CC starting in the 1920s and continuing to the 1950s. However rarely in Mint State, If there were any bags from the San Francisco vault that survived in Mint State they would have been about 1,700 Mint State specimens found in the Redfield Hoard.
The coins shipped to Washington managed not be end up in General Services Administration sales unlike the CC dates of the early 1880s. The likely time when the 1892-CC Morgans would have emerged from the Treasury was the 1950s as there were reports that included an estimate of 50 bags in 1955.
With no GSA coins and 1,700 Redfield coins in Mint State, it is just a matter of what collectors and dealers might have saved on their own.
As a result, the 1892-CC lists for $190 in VG-8, $1,375 in MS-60 and $8,900 in MS-65.
Realistically, the 1892-CC can be found in grades like MS-63 and they are usually well struck and attractive. There can be problems with bagmarks, but normally nice examples can be found. A nice example is well worth the price as the 1892-CC is a very interesting date and one with a history that suggests it is not as available as it might have been.
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