VOL. XX, NO. 3
Grading 1893-CC Morgan Dollars
By Randy Campbell, NLG
A caller to the grading room asked me, “How does ANACS grade chopmarked Trade Dollars? Do you downgrade for chopmarks?”
Our policy is to net grade Trade Dollars (or any other coins) with chopmarks. For example, an AU Trade Dollar with one small chopmark might be net graded to the value of an EF-40. A similar AU coin with two or three large chopmarks might be netted to some level of Fine or Very Fine. Coins with more than three chopmarks might be net graded to even lower grades.
Chopmarks are historically significant and interesting. But they are considered to be damaged by most major coin buyers.
The 1893-CC is the second most expensive date in the Carson City Morgan dollar series. Collector demand for this issue usually exceeds the supply of pleasing examples.
The great Treasury Hoard of CC dollars contained only one 1893-CC. However, a few BU bags of this date were included in the fabulous Redfield Hoard which was dispersed in the 1970s.
CIRCULATED GRADES: The 1893-CC is an expensive item in Extremely Fine condition (current TRENDS value is $1,000).
Many collectors prefer the much more affordable Very Fine example (TRENDS = $350).
VF 1893-CC dollars should have all hairlines visible on the obverse except those just over the top of the ear. The cotton blossom stems should be distinct.
As of recent population reports, ANACS has slabbed about 300 1893-CC dollars in Very Fine. The other two major services combined have certified fewer than 200 VF examples.
MINT STATE GRADES: Uncirculated 1893-CC dollars tend to fall into one of two groups: 1) well struck with deep scrapes and heavy abrasions, or 2) very flatly struck with an average number of bagmarks.
Also, a large number of 1893-CC dollars from the Redfield Hoard were run through a coin counter by the company that conducted the inventory! Many of those coins display severe hairline patches and counting wheel damage. For all these reasons, Gem 1893-CC dollars are exceptionally scarce (TRENDS = $50,000) in MS-65.
The MS-62 1893-CC is a more reasonable option for many collectors (TRENDS = $3,000). Such coins should have acceptable mint luster. However, if from group 1, the coin will have worse than average abrasions. If it’s from group 2, it will have a below average strike.
All uncertified 1893-CC dollars must be checked carefully for severe hairline patches. A top quality magnifier and good lighting are your best allies in this regard.
MIRROR SURFACE GRADES: The 1893-CC is extraordinarily rare in Deep Mirror Prooflike condition. A total of two have been slabbed in MS-64 DMPL; one has been certified in MS-65 DMPL.
Conversely, Prooflike1893-CC dollars are available from time to time at the bigger auctions and coin conventions. (Prooflike dollars are required to have a minimum of two to four inches of clear reflectivity in the fields on both sides of the coin.)
The three leading services have certified fewer than 60 1893-CC dollars in MS-63 Prooflike. These coins typically display an average strike, moderate surface abrasions and average to slightly above average luster. My estimated market value for this coin is $3,500 to $4,000.