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1873-CC Half Dollar

1873-CC Half Dollar
PCGS No: 6344
Circulation strikes: 214,560
Proofs: none
Designer: Obverse by Thomas Sully, modified by Christian Gobrecht and Robert Ball Hughes, executed by James Barton Longacre; Reverse by Christian Gobrecht
Diameter: ±30 millimeters
Metal content: Silver - 90%
Copper - 10%
Weight: ±206 grains (±13.4 grams)
Edge: Reeded
Mintmark: "CC" (for Carson City, Nevada) below the eagle on the reverse


Significant examples:
NGC MS-63 . Ex - Waldo Bolen collection

Recent appearances:
NGC MS-64. US Rare Coin Investments, for $27,950.00

NGC AU-55. Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8388, illustrated, sold for $2,185.00

ANACS AU-55. Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8389, illustrated, not sold

NGC AU-55. Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 208, illustrated, not sold

NGC AU-53. Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 6249, illustrated, sold for $2185.00

IGCS EF-40. Ex - Superior Galleries' "The ANA 2001 National Money Show Auction", March 8-9, 2001, Lot 291, sold for $1,121.25

EF-40. Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1761, sold for $977.50

Very Good. Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 461, sold for $195.50

The finest example graded by PCGS is a single MS-65.


The omnibus Mint Act of Feb. 12, 1873 (alias "Crime of'73" particularly among owners of silver mines and their misguided partisans) affected the half-dollar series in three ways: 1) minute adjustment in weight; 2) arrows at dates; 3) melting of obsolete issues. None of these actions made sense. The second gave type collectors something to com¬pete for a century later; the third unintentionally created rarities (compare 4968-73), while the country was still hurting for small change as an alternative to tattered fractional currency.
Beginning in April 1873, each half dollar was to have an exact metric weight of 12.5 gms.: 0.9 grs. — 0.06 gms. heavier than formerly. This was nothing but a paper complication, re¬quiring at most a microscopic adjustment in thickness of rolled strip from which blanks were to be cut for stamping into coins. In practice, the officially permitted remedy (tolerance of weight deviation per coin), ± 3 grs. = ± 0.2 gms., meant that old blanks could be used, and doubtless were, without even a tut-tut from the Assay Commission the following February. This law had no effect on public resistance to the metric system; 92 years later, when standard silver coinage ended, public awareness of the metric system remained minimal. Even today, the mints continue to make coins to specifications named in inches and decimalized grains. Use of coins as weights was stupidly urged as reason to adopt metric standards; in practice, coins' weights varied enough to make any such attempt useless.
For unknown reasons, the new silver coins (except for the trade dollar) were to bear a distinguishing mark. Evidently re¬membering his predecessor's choice, Mint Director Linderman decided that this must consist of arrows at dates. Halves of 1873 from all mints have long arrowheads, 2.9 mm from tip to end of shaft; a few late Philadelphia dies have short arrowheads, 2.3 mm, as do all 1874 proof obvs. On the 1873's, arrowheads are level; on 1874's, they slant. All of the 1873 issues with arrows have the Open 3 logotype.
Though the older coins were supposed to remain current, authorities ordered mass meltings: at the branch mints, after April 1873; at Philadelphia, on and after July 10. These melt¬ings affected unsold proofs and undistributed business strikes in all silver denominations, 1872 and 1873 No Arrows issues most of all; they also accounted for disappearance of nearly the entire mintage of trimes, 1863-72 (Boosel {I960}, p. 19).
Type collectors have long prized the 1873-74 coins with arrows; dealers have even irrationally touted them as rare, though the only half dollars in this group deserving that label are 1873 Short Arrows (both triple and quadruple stripes), 1874 Long Arrows proof, 1874 Short Arrows nonproof, and both dates of CC coins. Philadelphia mintages were fairly large because they were made from bullion obtained by melting down obsolete or worn-out coins; San Francisco issues were of moderate size; whereas the Carson City emissions were deliberately limited by official orders for political reasons, which limited output was thereafter adduced as justifying a campaign to abolish that branch!
Some 500 four-piece proof sets with arrows (dimes, quarters, halves, plus the trade dollar which never bore arrows at date) were made in 1873, with 40 extra halves; some were added to existing proof sets without arrows, but most went to date collectors who broke up the sets to add the halves to their date runs of that denomination (and similarly with the dimes and quarters). Proof sets offered in recent years have mostly been reas¬sembled piece by piece. The same comment holds for 1874.
Mint Director Linderman ordered that from Jan. 1, 1875, the coins should no longer bear arrows at dates: an end as arbitrary as its beginning.


Designer, Engraver, Mints, Physical Specifications, as before, except Weight 192.9 ± 1.5 grs. = 12.5 ± 0.09 gms. Authorizing Act, Feb. 12, 1873.
Grade range and standards, as before.

  • 1873 CC [all kinds 214,560] Long obv. arrows. Smallest roundish cc. Rare.
    C's .029" = 0.74 mm. as on 4973. "Gilhousen":1065. Usually in low grades.
  • 1873 CC Long obv. arrows. Tall boldface CC. Rare. C's .042" — 1.1 mm. Beistle 2-B, 3-B. Usually in low grades; rarer than preceding, especially in high grades. Carson:85, UNC.


US Rare Coin Investments 2003 - 2015 U.S. Rare Coin Investments

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