GSA Carson City Morgan Dollars


An extremely important aspect of collecting or studying Carson City Morgan Dollars is the make up of the hoard of silver dollars distributed by the General Services Administration (GSA) during the period from 1972 to 1980. The distribution of such a large number of uncirculated silver dollars many decades after their original mintage would alter the availability of many issues and forever change the landscape of rarity within the series.

In 1964, the United States Treasury halted the payment of silver dollars from their vaults following a tremendous run on the coins which had been held in storage for half a century. The remaining coins were large made up of coins struck at the Carson City Mint, which had never entered circulation.

GSA Carson City Morgan Dollar

Following the passage of legislation in 1970, the hoard was authorized to be sold and sorted by date, mint mark, and condition. The most desirable components of the hoard were uncirculated condition Carson City Morgan Dollars. These were placed in sealed plastic holders within which they would eventually be sold to the public.

Through a series of five mail bid sales, eventually all of the coins were sold to the public. An examination of the coins sold provides a look at the impact of the sale. The table below shows each date represented within the hoard, then the number of coins sold to the public, the original mintage, and the percentage of the original mintage sold to the public in the GSA sales.

Date Included in GSA Hoard Original Mintage Percentage within Hoard
1878-CC 60,993 2,212,000 2.76%
1879-CC 4,123 756,000 0.55%
1880-CC 131,529 591,000 22.26%
1881-CC 147,485 296,000 49.83%
1882-CC 605,029 1,133,000 53.40%
1883-CC 755,518 1,204,000 62.75%
1884-CC 962,638 1,136,000 84.74%
1885-CC 148,285 228,000 65.04%
1889-CC 1 350,000 0.00%
1890-CC 3,949 2,309,041 0.17%
1891-CC 5,687 1,618,000 0.35%
1892-CC 1 1,352,000 0.00%
1893-CC 1 677,000 0.00%

As can be seen, some issues which had low original mintages were  abundant within the hoard. Others, which may not have had the lowest original mintages, were not present in the hoard. Rarity and values were impacted accordingly.

Many collectors pursue these coins in the original plastic GSA holders with the original boxes and paper work. Others may purchase PCGS or NGC third party graded coins which are pedigreed to the GSA hoard. Whatever approach is taken, these coins represent a link to the historic Carson City Mint and the first silver boom in the United States of America.