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History of the Carson City Mint




Gold and silver fever had firmly gripped the nation. The great western migration had taken hold. In 1859, failed prospectors on returning from the California gold fields, discovered the Comstock Lode in the Sierra Mountains of Nevada. 15 miles away, Carson City was founded in the same year. Most traders and miners preferred to be paid in gold or silver coins from the U.S. Mints. But there was a serious shortage of U.S. mint gold out west. The Nevada prospectors who found gold or silver, had to haul the very heavy nuggets, and gold dust by horse or wagon train.


It was a dangerous and difficult trip through outlaw and Indian country to the San Francisco Mint. A new branch Mint was approved for Carson City by the U.S. Congress in 1863. The construction of the Mint Building was completed in 1868. The mint director saw the facility as more of an assay office than a mint. Nevertheless, production of coinage commenced almost immediately. Half eagles, eagles, and double eagles were the only gold denominations which would be coined at this minting facility. Silver dollars and minor coins were also produced in very significant quantities. On the front of this p2.jpgage is a photo of one of the presses used in the Carson City Mint. It can be seen at the Nevada State Museum. Generally, the Carson City gold coins were produced in small quantities relative to the other mints.





The result is that there are several rarities among the gold coins produced in Carson City. As little thought was given to saving coins for collectors, the survival of choice uncirculated pieces is nearly unknown. As a practical matter, all were released into circulation.


Those few coins which do survive, usually show extensive bag marks. Many of the best coins surviving are significant pieces of early American minting history.


The production of gold and silver coin continued right through 1885, after which time all coinage was suspended. From 1889 through 1893, production was resumed. After 1893, the old Carson City Mint served simply as an assay office. Today the Carson City Mint


still stands as the Nevada State Museum. Several artifacts from the old mint’s operation are on display. There is an original coin press which is still used to strike token souvenirs. During the period 1870-1893, the Carson City Mint facility produced over $23,000,000 in gold coins. Gold coins from the famous Carson City Mint bearing the "CC" mint mark are highly prized and sought after by specialized coin collectors and savvy investors.7.jpg