1878-CC Trade Dollar

 

 

The 1878-CC trade dollar from the Legend Collection of Mint State Trade Dollars.  This coin is graded PCGS MS66 and has a population of one with none finer.

 

Mintage

97,000 Business strikes

Net after melting: 52,852

 

Coinage Context

Made rare by decree: Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman, who disliked trade dollars intensely (even though the director of the Mint, Dr. Henry Linderman, believed they were an excellent, useful coin), mandated on February 22, 1878, that no trade dollars would be paid our for deposits of bullion made prior to the order for discontinuance when received at Carson City.

When this order reached Carson City, this branch mint had already struck 97,000 pieces; 56,000 in January and 41,000 in February—the smallest business strike quantity of the denomination. Thus, a rarity was created.

Melting: On July 19, 1878, 44,148 undistributed trade dollars went to the melting pot. All must have been dated 1878-CC, many from the 41,000 delivered in February. This leaves a net mintage for distribution of only 52,852 coins.

 

Numismatic Information

A prime rarity: By all accounts the 1878-CC is the most popular rarity among business strike trade dollars. Other coins (such as 1873-CC and 1876-CC) may be rarer in the highest mint state levels of MS-64 and finer, but it is 1878-CC that gets the most publicity. The reason, of course, is its mintage figure, which is by far the lowest in the series. Indeed, especially in Mint State a beautiful 1878-CC is an object of admiration and desire. Relatively few exist at this grade level.

Circulated grades: In grades from VF-20 to AU-58 the 1878-CC is the rarest and most desirable business strike trade dollar issue. I have never seen even a small group of these, and this includes in inspections of bulk lots imported from the Orient. Douglas Cass has reported than in his extensive search for trade dollars in the Orient in the early 1980s, 1878-CCs were virtually non-existent. Most circulated coins of this issue are in higher grade levels such as EF and AU. It seems likely that for some reason most of the 1878-CC mintage remained in the United States. In America, they certainly did not circulate hand to hand as legal tender; perhaps they were simply retained as bullion coins, with an intention (never fulfilled) to export, by one or more commercial interests.

Chopmarked coins: The theme continues with chopmarked coins; the 1878-CC is the rarest chopmarked trade dollar. Concerning these, John M. Willem wrote the following:

It is extremely difficult to find an 1878-CC with a genuine Chinese chopmark. It is the author’s considered opinion that a chopmarked 1878-CC is the rarest of the trade dollars in any condition. Of those of this date and mint which circulated in the United States most undoubtedly were among those redeemed and melted, since they were not defaced, during the redemption period in 1887.

Apparently, relatively few were sent to China, and most probably remained in the United States.

Mint State grades: In Mint State grades the 1878-CC is rare and highly desirable. The desire to own a Mint State coin of this issue is increased by the fame of the 1878-CC as the rarest of all Carson City trade dollars from a mintage viewpoint. However, in MS-65 there are 6 to 10 known, which does not rank it at the top of the list in rarity. In fact, a whole string of business strike trade dollars are rarer at this level: 1873-S, 1875-CC, 1877, 1873-CC, 1874-CC, 1874-S, 1875-S/CC, 1876-CC, and 1877-CC. Although the order of such rarity ratings will undoubtedly change as years pass and new discoveries are made, still the 1878-CC probably will never rank as among the very rarest MS-65 trade dollars. However, it will probably remain among the most expensive, due to its reputation as an overall rare date.

In MS-64 grade perhaps 20 to 40 are known, and at the MS-63 level the population is probably on the order of 15 to 25. Here is an usual distribution: MS-63 coins are rarer than MS-64 pieces. At the MS-60 to 62 level, about 20 to 40 are known—about the same rarity as MS-64. When a Mint State 1878-CC trade dollar is seen, it is just as apt to be in a middle to high Mint State level as in a low one. This is because the 1878-CC was struck late in the game, and coins did not see the extensive distribution or hard use in circulation accorded to earlier varieties in the series.

A 1980 commentary: In their 1980 study, Maurice Rosen and Robert Emmer found the 1878-CC to be the fourth rarest trade dollar in terms of Mint State examples. They examined six Mint State pieces and about 15 AU pieces, and reported that coins advertised were often overgraded.

 

 

Varieties:

OBVERSE TYPE II, RIBBON ENDS POINT DOWN, 1876-1885

REVERSE TYPE II: NO BERRY BELOW CLAW, 1875-1885

 

Business strikes:

1. Tall CC. Normal 8 and CC, first C low: Breen-5822. Mintmark 1.17 mm. high; .35 mm. spacing between C’s. Rare. Die used to coin 1877-CC trade dollars.

 

2. Tall CC. Repunched 8 and CC: Breen-5823. Mintmark 1.17 mm. high; .35 mm. spacing between C’s. Rare.

 

3. Repunched 8 with misplaced CC, far to right above DO: Breen-5824. Rare.

 

 

1878-CC TRADE DOLLAR: MARKET VALUES

 

Click Here for Current Values

 

Year

VF

EF

AU

Unc.

1878

---

---

---

$1.00

1880

---

---

$0.90

1.00

1885

---

$1.00

1.00

1.00

1890

$1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1895

1.00

1.05

1.10

1.25

1900

1.50

1.75

2.00

3.00

1905

3.00

3.25

3.50

4.00

1910

4.00

5.50

7.00

10.00

1915

8.00

9.00

10.00

15.00

1920

7.00

9.00

12.00

17.50

1925

6.00

8.00

12.00

20.00

1930

5.00

8.00

12.00

22.00

1935

5.00

8.00

17.00

30.00

1940

6.00

10.00

20.00

35.00

1945

15.00

22.50

27.00

45.00

1950

25.00

35.00

45.00

65.00

1955

75.00

85.00

95.00

125.00

1960

110.00

125.00

150.00

225.00

1965

150.00

185.00

250.00

350.00

1970

240.00

275.00

325.00

550.00

1975

350.00

450.00

650.00

2000.00

1980

375.00

475.00

1000.00

3000.00

1985

550.00

600.00

2300.00

7000.00

 

 

Year

VF-20

EF-40

AU-50

MS-60

MS-63

MS-64

MS-65

1986

$600

$750

$2500

$8500

$15000

$24000

$45000

1987

600

950

2500

8000

16000

28000

52500

1988

750

1200

2900

8250

17000

30000

62500

1989

800

1500

3000

8450

30000

50000

150000

1990

850

1550

3400

7600

20000

35000

70000

1991

850

1600

3500

6000

15000

22000

40000

1992

850

1600

3500

6000

12000

17000

30000

1993

             

1994

             

1995

             

 

 

 

SUMMARY OF CHARACTERISTICS

1878-CC

BUSINESS STRIKES:

Enabling legislation: Act of February 12, 1873

 

Designer: William Barber

 

Weight: 420 grains

 

Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper

 

Melt-down (silver value) in year minted: $0.9070

 

Dies prepared: Obverse: 2 or more; Reverse: 3 or more (including at least one held over from 1877)

 

Business strike mintage: 97,000 (44,148 melted; net mintage available for distribution: 52,852, probably all from the January mintage); Delivery figures by month: January: 56,000; February: 41,000.

 

Estimated quantity melted: Possibly nearly half (or even more) of the mintage, as part of 44,148 trade dollars melted at the Carson City Mint on July 19, 1878.

 

Approximate population MS-66 or better: 1 or 2 (URS-1)

 

Approximate population MS-65 or better: 3 or 4 (URS-3)

 

Approximate population MS-64: 8 to 12 (URS-4)

 

Approximate population MS-63: 15 to 25 (URS-5)

 

Approximate population MS-60 to 62: 30 to 60 (URS-6)

 

Approximate population VF-20 to AU-58: 125-250. (URS-8)

 

Characteristics of striking: Usually seen well struck and, in Mint State grades, with smooth, satiny lustre.

 

Known hoards of Mint State coins: None

 

Rarity with original Chinese chopmark(s): Rarest of all chopmarked trade dollars.

 

PROOFS: None

 

COMMENTARY: Very few were ever chopmarked; apparently, most remained in the United States. 1878-CC is considered by numismatists to be the key issue among business strike trade dollars. This is true except in grades of MS-64 and higher.