Coin Specifications

Category: Trade Dollars (1873-1885)
Mint: Carson City
Mintage: 97,000
Catalog: KM-108
Obverse Designer: William Barber
Reverse Designer: William Barber
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 27.22g
ASW: 0.7876oz
Melt Value: $14.03 (10/25/2016)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1878 CC T$1 MS obverse 1878 CC T$1 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The Coinage Act of 1873 damned the silver dollar by omission rather than commission, removing it from the list of authorized coinage denominations and effectively denying its legal tender status. Powerful Western silver interests, however, supported the unlimited coinage of silver, and the 'Crime of '73' propelled the formation of the Free Silver movement. Among the factions who aligned to support increased silver coinage were the Western silver mining interests, farmers who hoped that an expanded currency would increase crop prices, and debtors who hoped they could repay their debts in depreciated currency. While anyone could purchase Trade dollars from the Mint by exchanging 378 grains of silver, that amount in 1873 was worth $1.022 in gold. A coining fee was levied in addition, making Trade dollars no bargain. As silver prices continued to trend downward, however, Trade dollars gained in attractiveness to bullion depositors. Others protested the then-overvalued Trade dollars, and in 1876 the Treasury revoked their legal tender status for domestic commerce. Rusty Goe's The Mint on Carson Street continues the story thusly: 'This stripped bullion depositors of their domestic profit-making opportunities, although there were still advantages from exportation. In general, the public was baffled by trade dollars, and exploitation permeated the country. Unwary merchants and consumers were assured by licentious brokers that trade dollars were worth one dollar in gold, or close to it. Then, upon attempting to use them for payment, merchants and retail customers alike were subject to losses due to discounting. Finally, in October of 1877 a proposal was made to discontinue further issuance of trade dollars, but since orders were pending for more trade dollars to be exported to China, the authorization to cease production did not come until February of 1878.

By then the Carson City Mint had manufactured 97,000 1878-CC trade dollars. ...' The 1878-CC issue has the lowest business-strike mintage by a considerable margin in the Trade dollar series, with the 1873-CC second. By 1878, the Free Silver supporters had achieved a major victory in the passage of the Bland-Allison Act, which provided that the Treasury purchase from $2 million to $4 million per month of domestic silver, to be coined into silver dollars of the new Morgan design. The mints in Philadelphia and San Francisco performed yeoman service in each producing about 10 million coins (all varieties), give or take, and even the Carson City Mint manufactured a respectable 2.2 million pieces of the new Morgan design. General confusion and dissatisfaction with the Trade dollar, along with the introduction of the new 'Bland' dollar, doomed the Trade dollar to what now seems a just and well-deserved fate. The last year for business-strike Trade dollars was 1878, although proof coins struggled along for a few more years.

The 1878-CC is a notable rarity in all grades, and is especially challenging in mint condition.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 3/4/2016

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1878 CC T$1 MS
Base $ 675 900 1450 2150 4800 6250 7500 10000 13750 16500 20500 26750 33750 91000 155000 200000 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 88
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
10/28/1998 PCGS AU 50   Teletrade Auction 1100, 1100/Lot# 1709 $2,407.50
1/7/2009 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2009 January Orlando, FL FUN Auction #1121, 1121/Lot# 3982 $18,400.00
1/29/2012 PCGS VF 30   Goldberg January 29 - February 1, 2012 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 67/Lot# 2587 $1,782.50
7/27/2013 PCGS AU 58   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 4395 $9,693.75
8/18/2013 PCGS VF 35   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 765, 774/Lot# 61 $3,500.00
9/25/2013 PCGS Genuine AU   Heritage Auctions 2013 September 25 - 29 US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1189/Lot# 4115 $3,055.00
8/31/2014 NGC   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/31/2014, 189/Lot# 209951 $2,400.00
3/3/2016 PCGS MS 61   Heritage Auctions 2016 March 3 - 6 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(3), 1233/Lot# 4968 $18,800.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1878 CC T$1 MS
1878 CC T$1 MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery

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