By Dennis Baker

With National and International Media continually reporting on sky-rocketing metals, most U.S. coin dealers across the country have been concentrating heavily on retail sales related to Gold, Silver, and Platinum. From bars to bags and individual coins, dealers are as busy as they have ever been, including the late 1970’s and early 1980. But there is much more to the current coin market than just the metals. The overall coin market is quite robust. There are hundreds and thousands of collectors and investors trying to add specific coins to their collections or portfolios. Demand for rare date Gold has been healthy for quite some time and early $20 Liberties are about as strong as they could be. Morgan and Peace Dollars have retreated slightly this past month however, the demand remains steady at the current levels.

Most series have specialty collectors looking for specific varieties of coins within a series. One that has been very successful for a long time is the GSA Carson City Morgan Dollar. Several years ago, at the request of Selby Ungar and other dealers, NGC began to band and certify by grade the GSA Dollars in the original sealed black plastic holder. Since its inception, these graded Dollars have become very popular for specialty collectors. NGC has a census report for these coins so collectors can see how many have been certified by date, variety, and grade. Buyers for the GSA Carson City Dollar are so enthusiastic that a book was written to help educate buyers in this arena. Toward the end of 2009, Carson City Morgan Dollars, authored by Adam Crum, Selby Ungar, and Jeff Oxman, was released, stimulating a market which has yet to cool down.

When the GSA Silver Dollars were incorporated into the NumisMedia Fair Market Value Price Guide, values were sporadic for most dates and grades. The first listings were in September 2004. Most of the trades monitored were for MS63 to MS65 coins. There were very few higher grade coins certified at this time and certainly very few were available in the market. The following list reports the FMV for various coins by grade with a comparison of dates from that first issue in 2004 against today’s prices.


Date MS63 MS64 MS65
1879 CC $8,100 $10,200 $29,400
1880 CC $580 $840 $1,680
1881 CC $580 $700 $930
1885 CC $640 $840 $1,680
1890 CC $2,460 $3,840 $6,960
1891 CC $2,250 $3,300 $5,820

JUNE 2011

Date MS63 MS64 MS65
1879 CC $8,040 $15,000 $53,130
1880 CC $570 $710 $1,410
1881 CC $558 $640 $990
1885 CC $680 $790 $1,170
1890 CC $3,660 $14,810 $45,000
1891 CC $3,180 $17,810 $53,400

This comparison indicates that most of the more common coins are still within what would be considered reasonable by today’s price structure. However, if you take a look at the NGC Census Report, you will notice that the coins with the low populations are the ones that have increased over the last seven years. The FMV for these coins has soared due to the severe competition of dealers and collectors. Whenever any of the highest certified coins are offered in a major auction, most advanced specialists will be ready with their checkbook in hand.

The following charts shows the highest grade certified for the GSA Carson City Dollars with the population and the current FMV.

Date Highest Grade Population Current FMV
1878 CC MS66 2 $14,060
1879 CC MS65 8 $53,130
1880 CC MS67 1 $28,130
1880 CC Rev ‘78 MS66 8 $20,630
1881 CC MS67 19 $17,810
1882 CC MS67 8 $19,690
1883 CC MS67 20 $15,000
1884 CC MS67 17 $14,380
1885 CC MS67 6 $38,750
1890 CC MS65 1 $45,000
1891 CC MS64 2 $17,810

With only eleven coins, you can see this is a very short set to collect. But there are other varieties and Prooflike and Deep Mirror Prooflike coins that could increase the size of this collection. For the most part, P/L and Deep P/L coins have been ignored by collectors, but this could change as more discover the population and rarity of these CC’s.