The silver dollars designed by George T. Morgan are among the most popular collector coins in American numismatics. It is a long series, issued from 1878 to 1904 and again in 1921, and examples were struck at five different mint facilities. Perhaps the most romantic was the mint set up in 1870 in Carson City, Nevada. Visions of a rough and tumble wild west mining town, silver dollars being tossed onto bar counters or used in saloon card games are not a stretch when contemplating the history of Carson City silver dollars.
Production at the Carson City Mint was sporadic for the Morgan dollar, struck annually from 1878 to 1885, then again from 1889 to 1893, when the mint closed. Over this period, many were sent east to sit in Treasury vaults as backing for silver certificates and other banknotes that were redeemable in specie. In the early 1960s, before silver was removed from circulation, bags of various date Morgan dollars were released. (This release included tens of thousands of examples of the 1903-O, which until that time, was considered a rarity.) In the early 1970s, the General Services Administration (GSA) did an audit of a long forgotten vault, where hundreds of thousands of Mint State Carson City silver dollars were uncovered, in some cases half or more of the reported mintage. While these included examples of most Carson City Mint dates, the 1879-CC and the later 1889-1893 issues were less represented. The GSA packaged the coins in special black holders (similar in size and design of the Proof set holders the U.S. Mint was using at the time), and sold them to collectors. The most common of these GSA Carson City coins were the 1882, 1883, and 1884. It is likely, based on the obverse toning pattern, that this Superb Gem sat in a canvas mint bag for decades. Long storage toned that side with a multi-hued, pastel iridescence that shows the popular “canvas texture” from sitting against the side of the bag. The reverse is untoned. This lovely coin, with its superlative surface quality was graded MS-67 by NGC and awarded the coveted * designation for exceptional eye appeal.
Be sure to review this and all the coins in our current iAuction at StacksBowers.com. The sale closes Sunday evening at 10 PM (ET).