Vol. XVII No.1
GRADING 1877-S AND 1878-CC DOLLARS
By Randy Campbell
Reprinted with permission of the author of Coin World
Recently, a collector asked me, “are there any double dies I should be looking for in the Trade Dollar series?” I replied, “Yes, there are several.”
First, the 1876-CC with the doubled die reverse features the largest shift of any double die coin produced in the United States. It is A MONSTER!
Second, there are at least two significant doubled die reverse for the 1877-S. The 1873-CC features a die with a tripled die reverse paired with a wide CC mintmark. There exists an 1876-S with a noticeably doubled obverse die (the word LIBERTY displays a large shift.)
Also, the 1877 Trade dollar exists with both a doubled die reverse and a tripled die reverse. And the 1878-S issue features a significantly shifted reverse die (FS-015).
No doubt there are several other varieties and doubled dies waiting to be discovered by today’s sharp-eyed collectors!
1877-S (Mintage: 9,519,000)
The 1877-S has the highest mintage of any Trade dollar issue. Indeed, its mintage exceeds the combined business strike production of the Carson City and Philadelphia Mint Trade dollars for the entire length of the series!
EF and AU: The three major grading services have certified 168 1877-S dollars in extremely fine condition (bid=$115). 552 have been slabbed in AU (bid=$180). No doubt many survivors that might grade EF or AU have never been submitted to any grading service.
Grading Tips in EF and AU: Has your circulated 1877-S dollar been cleaned? Examine the coin carefully with a quality magnifier under good lighting conditions. If your coin exhibits criss-crossing scratches and impaired luster, chances are it has been cleaned. Typically, an Au Trade dollar that has been cleaned will sell for the value of an EF Trade dollar.
Mint State 60 to 63: The three major services have slabbed a total of 754 1877-S dollars in grades ranging from MS-60 to MS-63 (MS-60 bid=$330; MS-63=$950). Its ready availability in Mint State has made the 1877-S a favorite of type coin collectors.
Mint State Grading Tip: Most uncirculated 1877-S dollars feature at least adequate luster. Those with poor luster often have been overdipped or cleaned.
Recently Seen At ANACS: An MS-61 displayed average abrasions and below average luster. The coin was a sharp doubled die reverse example of Fivaz-Stanton-014.5! An MS-63 featured average to above average frosty luster, above average strike, and some noticeable marks on both sides of the coin.
1878-CC (Net Mintage: 52,852)
A total of 97,000 1878-CC Trade dollars were coined. However, 44,148 were melted when the Carson City mint proceeded with the changeover from Trade Dollars to Morgan Dollars.
The net mintage of 52,852 is by far the lowest in the Trade dollar series for business strike issues. It is the most popular, and most desired, date in the series.
EF and AU: The 1878-CC Trade dollar is elusive in any grade. As of fairly recent population reports, ANACS has certified only 10 examples in EF; PCGS has slabbed nine; and NGC has done a mere five examples! Current EF bid is $1,200. In AU, the three services have certified 40 examples (bid=$2,850).
Grading Tips in EF and AU: First and foremost, be sure your 1878-CC Trade dollar IS GENUINE!! Cast counterfeits may outnumber genuine pieces!! Also, remember that AU Trade dollars should have at least three-quarters of their original luster still intact. Don’t pay AU money for an EF coin!
Mint State 60 to 63: The three major services have certified 13 1878-CC Trade dollars in MS-60 or MS-61; nine in MS-62; and eight in MS-63. Current bid is $7,500 in MS-60 and $17,500 in MS-63. Three Gem MS-65 examples have been certified (current bid is $85,000).
Mint State Grading Tip: Most ’78-CC trade dollars exhibit average to above average high point detail. Therefore, so-called “flatly-struck uncirculated” examples should be viewed with suspicion.
Recently Seen at ANACS: A cleaned and polished 1878-CC featured large blemishes to the right of star number one and to the left of star 13. Bubbles and blemishes were evident on Liberty’s abdomen and around the eagle’s head. The coin’s weight (24.69 grams) confirmed its status as a cast counterfeit.
A truly pleasing AU-58 example displayed an above average strike, few marks, above average luster and just a slight loss of detail on Liberty’s left breast and on the tops of the eagle’s wings. It was the nicest circulated 1878-CC I have ever seen.