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Obverse of 1873-CC Half Eagle     Reverse of 1873-CC Half Eagle


PCGS No: 8331


Circulation strikes: 7,416
Proofs: 0

Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: 21.65 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 90%
Other - 10%

Weight: 129 grains (8.24 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: "CC" (for Carson City, Nevada) below the eagle on the reverse

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

The finest example graded by PCGS is a single MS-62.

Significant examples:
PCGS MS-62 (illustrated above).  Ex - Stack's ANA sale, August 1976, Lot 2998 - Bowers and Merena's Harry Bass Part II sale, October 1999, Lot 1188 where it realized $66,125 - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale", October 2-3, 2000, Lot 915 @$48,300.00, where it was described (in part) as follows: "Lustrous orange-gold in color, with a scattering of shallow tick marks, none deep or noteworthy.
From the October 1999 Harry Bass Sale by Bowers and Merena, this magnificent coin is almost certainly the finest known of the date. The PCGS Population Report notes only one other coin graded as Mint State 61, and below that a pair that rate as AU-55, from there only 7 have been graded in the two grades of EF. Hence, this is a major rarity in grades above Very Fine, with a mintage of 7,416. Conditions in Carson City were pretty wild in the 1870s, numismatists were generally unknown at the time, and coins were collected by date, not by branch mint. The nation's economy took a nose dive in 1873, hence even fewer coins were issued than prior years, and not many people were well enough off to set aside a gold coin as something to save and preserve. The production of coins in 1873 saw rapid entry into circulation, most coins of this date and mint are found in very low grades, frequently with numerous circulation marks well beyond those expected for the wear received.
Here is a remarkable exception, perhaps it was saved to commemorate a birth and passed down from family member to family member. Whatever the case, this is a beautiful coin and one of the rarest Carson City half eagles. Collectors that have years of experience under their belts know that finding a Carson City half eagle of this date in grades of extremely fine is an important opportunity. Experts Douglas Winter and Lawrence Cutler in their book on Carson City coins stated "No Mint State 1873-CC half eagles are known to exist." This coin was purchased by Harry Bass in August 1976, and with today's current grading standards is available to connoisseurs of the series.
The sale of many of the Harry Bass coins provides an opportunity for gold collectors that will probably never be repeated, important rarities, sometimes in small quantities, are available and many of these coins have been offered in subsequent auctions a time or two. Soon they will all be tucked away in collections, scattered to the winds, and may not be available again for decades. Here is yet another opportunity to purchase this famous rarity, the finest graded 1873-CC half eagle."

Recent appearances:
PCGS AU-53.  Ex - J.J. Teaparty - Henry S. Lang collection - Bowers and Merena Galleries "The Rarities Sale", July 31, 2002, Lot 610, illustrated, sold for $18,975.00

PCGS EF-45.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 518, illustrated, sold for $8,625.00  From Stack's sale of December 1970, Lot 231

PCGS VF-35.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 519, illustrated, sold for $4,140.00  From Quality Sales Corporation's sale of January 1975, Lot 466

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service