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Rare AU55 1878-CC Eagle, Tied for Finest at PCGS

1878-CC $10 AU55 PCGS. Even though in 1878 our nation's mints were busy producing their premier Morgan silver dollars, they managed to make time and facilities available to increase gold coin outputs. The Philadelphia Mint increased its half eagle output from 1,152 pieces in 1877 to more than 131,000 pieces in 1878, while that same mint augmented eagle emissions from 817 pieces in 1877 to nearly 74,000 pieces the following year. San Francisco boosted its eagle production from 17,000 coins in 1877 to more than 26,000 examples in 1878. The challenged Carson City Mint, however, saw its mingy 1877 eagle production of 3,332 coins plummet even further in 1878, to 3,244 coins.
The Carson City Mint opened over considerable objection and opposition in Washington and elsewhere in 1870, theoretically with a mission to coin the local gold and silver mined from the Comstock Lode, mitigating the necessity for precious metal shipments to San Francisco for coinage. In practice, however, the transportation and assay costs were favorable for San Francisco compared to Carson City. Bullion deposits at Carson City dropped, not only for that reason, but also because less and less gold was pulled from the earth nearby via the Comstock Lode. While 1873 saw record-high gold deposits exceeding 5 million dollars, by 1878 those gold deposits had decreased to $737,720 (Goe, The Mint on Carson Street).
Examples of the 1878-CC issue are generally subpar in appearance, although the present example offers a notable exception. Goe (2003) estimates the overall survival rate at 2%-2.5% in all grades combined and lists the present specimen among the top couple of dozen finest known for the issue as one of four PCGS-graded AU55 pieces. However, the current online population report shows only two PCGS pieces in AU55, with none finer. NGC has graded seven pieces in AU55, with four coins finer (3/07) including but a single piece in Mint State. This is a problem-free piece with bold luster and a typical strike. Some light die clash marks are noted on the reverse, above the eagle's left (facing) wing. The piece offers tan-gold surfaces with a premium appearance overall. Carson City gold specialists must take note, as this is an opportunity that is unlikely to repeat soon.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 265K, PCGS# 8681)

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Auction Dates
May, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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