In February of 1870, the mint at Carson City, Nevada first struck a coin. Instead of one of the Eagle gold coins it would be known for, it was the Seated Liberty dollar that was minted first.
Morgan dollars were produced later, but in all, the mint would be active for less than 25 years. However, despite this short time, Carson City's U.S. mint is one of the better known to coin collectors because of the impressive coins it produced during its relatively brief run of operation.
As history buffs might suspect, it was the silver boom that took place in Nevada that triggered the building of this mint in Carson City. During its time, it made 50 issues of silver coins and 57 issues of gold coins. The initial silver boom was centered not far from Carson City, in Virginia City, and was the very first major discovery of silver within the United States. Back when these discoveries were first made, miners rushed to the vicinity and started staking out claims, many becoming wildly wealthy in the process.
Morgan dollars are some of the more famous coins minted in Carson City and very popular with collectors today. Their production started in 1878, just eight years after the mint first began operating. This was the coin design that was used on dollar coins minted after the Seated Liberty design retired. Although Carson City was not the only U.S. mint to produce coins which bear the CC imprint, it is important for collectors who want to have a representative coin from each mint.
What Coins Were Minted in Carson City?
During its tenure, sixty five types of coins were minted at Carson City. The majority of the coins minted in Carson City were silver, due to its proximity to a mine.
Carson City Silver Coins:
Trade Dollar (1873 & 1885)
Morgan Dollar (1878 & 1893)
Twenty-Cent Piece (1875 & 1876)
Seated Liberty Dime (1871 & 1878)
Seated Liberty Quarter (1870 & 1878)
Seated Liberty Half Dollar (1870 & 1878)
Seated Liberty Dollar (1870 & 1873)
Carson City Gold Coins:
$5 Half Eagle (1870 & 1884 and 1890 & 1893)
$10 Eagle (1870 & 1884 and 1890 & 1893)
$20 Double Eagle (1870 & 1885 and 1889 & 1893)
Although silver was its primary focus, the Carson City Mint also produced quite a few gold coins, too. While other mints produced most all of these coins, the reason that the coins bearing the 'CC' mint mark are considered more valuable than some others is due to the fact that they are more rare.
What is the Carson City Mint Used For Now?
After this U.S. mint was no longer running, and its machinery was sent back to Philadelphia, the building, originally designed by architect Alfred B. Mullett, was put to other uses.
For a while, it was an Assay Office for the Federal government, where the purity of gold and silver could be tested. It served this function until 1933, and later went on to be sold to the state of Nevada where it now serves the role of the Nevada State Museum. In this capacity, it is home not only to plenty of exhibited materials related to its original function, but also to the oldest mummified human found in North America and an exceptional Mammoth skeleton.
Why Carson City is Noteworthy for Numismatics
For those who are passionate about the history of these mints, as they pertain to coins collected today, Carson City will always be important.
Although it may not have produced as many coins as other mints around the nation, this location played an important role for both gold and silver coins. Seeing the CC mint mark on a coin takes on a whole new level of meaning once you know just how much history there is behind a Carson City minted coin.