The 1871-CC quarter is typical of a number of coins to emerge from the facility that are tough in any grade and nearly impossible in mint state. Carson City started producing coins in 1870. It would appear that based upon the mintages that it was a facility not unlike the San Francisco Mint had been back when it opened in 1854.
The focus t Carson City was initially on upper denominations, like San Francisco was. These facilities were located in the middle of staggering discoveries. In the case of San Francisco, it was gold. For Carson City, it was silver. In the first year of production, Carson City produced 8,340 Seated Liberty quarters.
This was not surprising as the facility produced no dimes or half-dimes, but over 50,000 half dollars. The situation reflected priorities as well as what coins were being requested by people bringing in metal. At western mints, upper denominations were produced more than lower denominations. The quarter production in 1871 at Carson City did not improve much at all.
The total 1871-CC quarter production was put at just 10,890 pieces and that explains the $3,450 price at the grade of G-4. today. The 1871-CC is $26,500 in XF-40 grade, and $66,500 in MS-60. However, questions do remain about how many examples are available in upper circulated grades or even in mint state.
The mintage figures of the 1871-CC alone would make it tough, but 1871 was also not a period of major coin collecting activity, especially in Carson City, especially at Carson City. The same situation could be seen at many branch mints when they were first opened on the frontier.
If a coin got saved it was closer to luck as someone would decide to save a specific coin. There was no pattern to collecting coins in the area in that time period. At the time coin collecting was more by date than anything else. There were perhaps a few collectors scattered across the country who were assembling quarter sets by date and mint. It would not have been easy for a collector in Baltimore to acquire new Carson City issues.
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