Rare Carson City quarter comes home 142 years later

A rare quarter has returned to Carson City after 142 years.

A rare quarter has returned to Carson City after 142 years.

In coin collecting there are a few coins that are nearly unobtainable. In Carson City, there are three such coins and two of them are from 1873. Northern Nevada Coin has just purchased one of them, an 1873-CC quarter without arrows for one of its customers in Carson City, bringing home a legendary rarity to where it first began its life.

Of the 4,000 coins struck without arrows only five are known to survive today. Most were melted due to the Mint Act of Feb. 12, 1873. “It appears the survivors are three that were sent to the assay commission in Philadelphia and two that actually made it to circulation,” stated Allen Rowe of Northern Nevada Coin.

The Mint Act of Feb. 12, 1873 required dimes, quarters, and half dollars contain more actual silver than previous issues. This made the few coins that were already struck that year undesirable at the time and the mint melted all they had in possession. The coins sent to the assay commission for testing were probably not destroyed only because the issue was rendered mute, but as for the other two they actually made it into the world as money.

“I speculate that someone in the Carson City area who was involved at the mint saved a number of coins only to later have them spent into the world for their face value.” says Rowe. “We have all heard stories of kids spending their father’s prized coins on candy and such. This seems the most likely scenario as two of these quarters and two of the elusive 1876-CC 20c pieces have made it back to numismatics after seeing quite a bit of circulation. Imagine the number of hands these coins passed through with each new recipient not knowing they were holding a fortune until someone recognized the coin for its true value, that is what makes these circulated examples even more special.”

The present specimen was discovered by Leon Hendrickson of Silver Towne in 1996. It was stated the coin came from an antique dealer who had it for years in a type set of coins. The coin hung in a back room without thought of value until one day the owner figured out it was a Carson City quarter. The 1873 arrows issue was scarce in its own right, but the antique dealer had no idea his was the coveted no arrows variety until a customer paid him much more than he was expecting.

Nearly 20 years later the coin has come back to the market and traded hands once again.

“I know I had to jump on it right away,” said Rowe, “you just do not get offered one of these every day. It only took one phone call to sell it, and I am happy to say that it now resides with an unnamed collector in Carson City. Value is what most people want to know about this coin, but with only five known in a heavily sought after arena, it is subjective. Having said that, the coin traded in the six figures to an equally excited collector.”


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