of Carson City Quarter a Mystery
By Paul M. Green
mysteries are just about as good as it gets in
terms of fun. Much of the time, the mystery
involves rarity. Something along the lines of:
why is a given date with a large mintage so
tough? In other cases there is confusion in the
A good example of that is the 1877-CC Seated
Liberty quarter. This has to be one of the most
interesting coin mysteries of all. The only
problem is that we do not really know the story.
What makes it all the more interesting is that,
whatever the reason, saving the 1877-CC quarter
would have made very little sense at the time.
Simply put, this was not a period when a normal
person would have started hoarding quarters.
It was all the more peculiar being that this was
a Carson City quarter. As a general rule of
thumb there was little, if any, saving of new
coins in Carson City. A few other Carson City
issues have small numbers known in Mint State,
but the 1877-CC had a 4,192,000 mintage, a heavy
mintage for Carson City.
That said, as Q. David Bowers reports in his
book, American Coins Treasures and Hoards, the
1877-CC was clearly saved in some numbers.
Bowers explains, "Hundreds of these came onto
the rare coin market in the 1950s and 1960s". He
went on to explain that many had the bottom tips
of the "77" doubled. He also concludes, "the
writer has never been able to learn the source."
Just how many were there? If we look at the
grading service totals today it's remarkable. At
NGC they have graded over 200 Mint State
examples of the 1877-CC quarter, about twice as
many as any other Carson City date. The PCGS
total is even higher with almost 250 just in
MS-62 through MS-64. The 1876-CC and 1878-CC are
available in some numbers, but nothing close to
Certainly this makes for a mystery and probably
one we will not solve. If Q. David Bowers cannot
trace the source, it is likely the source will
never be traced. It's too bad; it leaves us with
so many questions that will always be
unanswered. Interestingly enough, if you look at
the price of the 1877-CC today you find it is
$325 in MS-60. That is $100 more than an
available date of the type. It must be a Carson
City premium as it is hard to get much more
available for a coin from 1877. The MS-65
listing is $2,000 which is a slight premium over
the most available dates.
The 1877-CC may not be headed to higher ground
any time soon, but it is an available Carson
City quarter with an unusual story and that may
well make paying a slight premium worth it.