A Curious Added Mintmark: 1885 Morgan Dollar with Added Carson City "CC" Mintmark
Posted on 12/1/2008
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In the Morgan Dollar series, there are several issues, though the 1885 CC is not one of them, where collectors often find a mintmark fraudulently added to the reverse. These include the key 1889-CC and 1893-S dollars that command a hearty premium due to their production at the Carson City and San Francisco Mints over examples struck at the Philadelphia Mint that do not have a mintmark.
Recently, NCS examined an 1885 dollar with an added Carson City “CC” mintmark. At first glance, this seems like an unusual choice for an unscrupulous individual to showcase his handiwork. However, NumisMedia's Fair Market Value Price Guide lists an XF40 1885-CC dollar at $518. Compare this to an 1885-P in the same grade with a value of just $21 and one sees the incentive for an individual to add a “CC” mintmark. As this is an unexpected issue to find such an alteration on, it can often trade without the scrutiny that accompanies more widely suspect keys.
Besides having luster, surfaces and strike more characteristic of a Philadelphia product than Carson City issues, magnification revealed telltale signs of tooling around the mintmark where it was added. Such discoveries reinforce the usefulness of an independent third-party service like NCS, which can provide a definitive judgment on the authenticity of a coin. NCS does authenticate coins with detrimental surface conditions; however, coins with added or removed mintmarks, coins with altered dates and coins that are not genuine cannot by authenticated by NCS. As was the case with this coin, they are returned to the submitter with a notation describing the characteristics that made them ineligible.