Carson City coins have long been collected for a number of reasons. Value, history, and mystique surround the coinage minted here.
Overall, collectors have always valued Carson City coins on a higher plane than other mints just because of how few they made.
Yes, there are a few issues that really could be considered common in the Morgan dollar series, but in the entire series Carson City still only minted a very small percentage of Morgan dollars. Most Carson City coins were made in much smaller quantities and thus they truly are rare in the collectors market.
Carson City coins have been in the news as of late because of a top-end collection selling. The collection sold for nearly $10 million.
Most collectors are not seeking that expensive of coins, but all of the Carson City coins have been selling for strong prices. The economy has not effected pricing in these rare coins, and in fact they have been steadily rising.
Mystique is nearly synonymous with Carson City coins because when one thinks of Carson City, visions of the Old West come to mind. Whether it is Kit Carson himself, a rowdy smoke-filled bar, dusty cowboys on the range, mangy miners blackened with earth, or a tense six-shooter standoff, nearly everyone pictures an old scene in their mind.
The Carson City mint burgeoned and closed in the era of the old West. With the Carson mint closing so shortly after its opening, it never had a chance to be associated with a more civilized West.
History surrounds the mint in Carson City. Born to coin the silver mined from the big bonanza of the Comstock lode, nearly all of the silver and gold it used to stamp coins came from this famous area.
Without infrastructure, roads, rails and cities, transportation of such wealth was at first difficult. Within a few short years, the infrastructure built and the mint in Carson became unnecessary.
Ore mined now could be shipped to the larger and better situated mint in San Francisco. In 1893, just 23 years after striking its first coin, the Carson City mint struck its last. Being the shortest-lived mint in U.S. history, it leaves its legacy in the coinage it once struck.
Collecting Carson City coins has always been desirable, and if one has not started it could be a great thing to start. Owning small pieces of history of the West, Nevada and Carson City can become a rewarding hobby.
It does not take $10 million to get started. There are a few Carson City coins that can be owned for as little as $20, and many less than $100. A plethora of collecting choices becomes available in under $1,000.
If you truly wish to pursue these rare and unique collectibles, well, the sky is the limit.
• Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.