1871-CC Seated Liberty Quarter

1870 was the first year of operation at the Carson City Mint. As might have been expected for the initial year, coin mintages across all denominations were rather small.

Superintendent Henry F. Rice convinced his superiors in the Treasury Department to establish a special fund for 1871 to pay miners on the spot for their deposits of gold and silver ores, in the effort to attract more business for the Mint. As mining yields were consistently increasing in the area, Rice reasoned the Mint could capitalize on the situation by promising quick payments.(1)

The enticement worked. In January 1871 the Carson Mint received $188,000 in deposits for processing into bullion bars and coins. By the end of March, Rice’s crew had received about $850,000 in bullion deposits. Contrast this to the previous year when a monthly haul of $40,000 would have been viewed favorably.(2)

Even with the huge influx of gold and silver deposits, coinage production remained low, accounting for only a small percentage of activity at the Carson City Mint in 1871. Precious metal ore was converted to bullion bars over coins by a wide margin. Overall, $5.4 million was deposited, ($450,000 monthly average), but just $615,000 was converted into coinage ($532,000 gold, $83,000 silver).

Given the range of options, depositors obviously disdained the 25 cent denomination. Only 10,890 were struck in 1871 at Carson City, amounting to a barely palpable $2722.50. By comparison, the 1870-CC quarter saw a mintage of 8,340, when much less silver was available for coinage.

The few 1871-CC quarters that entered the public realm circulated dutifully for many years. As is usually true of early Carson City coins, there was little interest in saving examples for posterity’s sake.(3) The time eventually came when numismatists began to appreciate the “CC” coins, but by then, the population of 1871-CC quarters was nearly completely wiped out. Only an estimated 80 representatives of this date are extant.(4)

Today, the 1871-CC Seated Liberty quarter is lauded as a numismatic treasure. Rusty Goe, an avid researcher of the Nevada mint, rates the 1871-CC quarter among "the eight rarest date-denominations in the comprehensive Carson City coin series (silver and gold)". That’s quite a compliment, considering some of the amazing coins originating within the walls of that fabled facility.(5)

The romanticism of the American West attracts devotees, but the appeal of this 1871-CC extends well beyond the base of Carson City specialists. The long term value trends of this landmark branch mint rarity prove this to be true.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 80
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 8.2
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
Click HERE to check for availability on eBay**

Preview of eBay selection (unlikely to see any 1871-CC 25c in Preview, but HERE link may yield a few active sales):

1871-CC Seated Liberty quarter images Value trend analysis 1871-CC Seated Liberty quarter
Trendline Avg = 32.57 BEST
Last updated 4-9-24
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1. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1871-CC Liberty Seated Quarter.  Aug 2012 Auction.

2. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1871-CC Liberty Seated Silver Dollar.  Aug 2012 Auction.

3. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1871-CC Liberty Seated Quarter.  Aug 2012 Auction.

4. PCGS.  1871-CC 25C (Regular Strike).

5. Heritage Auctions.  1871-CC 25C.

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.