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CARSON CITY GOLD

Authorized in 1863, the Carson City Mint began coinage in 1870 and continued until 1893. It was then operated as a government assay office until 1933 when it was closed as a cost cutting measure. During its operation the Carson City Mint made fifty-seven different types of gold coins. It also converted gold bullion and oar into gold bars which were shipped to San Francisco for coinage there. Coins issued from the Carson City Mint used the CC mint mark. Originally established to convert silver from the Comstock Lode to coinage, the Carson City Mint also processed gold in to gold coins.

When first discovered, gold and silver found in Nevada had to be shipped over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the branch mint in San Francisco. This trip was dangerous and expensive. The Nevada mine owners asked Congress to establish a branch of the mint in their state, and legislation was enacted in 1863. Carson City was chosen as the location for the mint facility because it was near some of the major mining sites.

The first Carson City coin was the Liberty Seated 1870-CC dollar. A person who had deposited silver at the mint received 2303 silver dollars. Shortly afterwards, gold eagles, half eagles and double eagles were struck. The Carson City Mint did not strike coins made of copper or nickel, and it never struck half dimes, gold dollars, quarter eagles, or three dollar gold coins.

In 1873 silver was demonetized; however, the Bland-Allison act of 1878 required the Treasury Department to coin two to four million sliver dollars each month. The act attempted to keep silver at artificially high levels. Large quantities of Morgan Dollars were minted, but they did not circulate well and were kept in Treasury storage vaults.

In 1884 Democrat Grover Cleveland became president. He fired all the Republican appointees including the top officials at the Carson City Mint and shut it down. A year later it reopened as an assay office. When Republican Benjamin Harrison became president, he fired Cleveland’s appointees and replaced them with Republicans. In 1889 coining operations at Carson City resumed.

In 1890 the Sherman Silver Purchase Act modified the Bland-Allison Act. Under it the government was required to purchase 4.5 million ounces of silver per month which was to be paid with bonds that could be redeemed for gold or silver. Much to the surprise of the officials, most bond holders chose gold, which depleted the government’s gold reserve. This instability caused the panic of 1893, which led to the repeal of the Sherman Act and slowed the production of silver dollars. At the same time the Nevada mines were no longer as plentiful as they had been before. Combined with a low silver price, a scandal (a worker tried to smuggle gold out of the mint in his lunch box), and a struggling economy, the Mint Director, Robert Preston, ordered the Carson City Mint as a coining facility closed in 1893.

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