1870-CC






General Comments


1870-CC is one of the most popular dates in the Liberty Seated dollar series. With a mintage ranking 13th out of 47 the date is scarce, but not rare. It can easily be found with patient searching. The CC mintmark seems to have magical properties, and the 1870-CC, as the most affordable CC Liberty Seated dollar, is always in high demand.

Regarding the mintage, note that our figure is slightly higher than the previously accepted figure of 11,758. An excellent article by R. W. Julian in Issue #125 of the
Gobrecht Journal
(reference 22) reviewed known Carson City mint correspondence and concluded that the actual mintage was 12,462. We believe that Mr. Julian’s research was accurate, so we’ve adopted this figure as the correct mintage.

The finest known examples are three MS64 coins, one graded by PCGS, the other two by NGC. One of the NGC coins received a prooflike designation. Eleven more coins have received a MS63 grade, seven by PCGS and four by NGC. Current population reports show 36 examples slabbed as mint state by the two major services. It’s likely that many of these represent re-submissions. We estimate that 20 or fewer examples exist in MS60 or better. Population statistics are as of February, 2019.





Mintage 12,462
Proof mintage None
Mintage ranking 13th
Finest known MS64
Known obverse dies 4
Known reverse dies 6
Known die marriages 9
Most common die marriage OC-9/ R4-
Rarest die marriage OC-4/ R7-
1870-CC examples are usually well struck on the reverse, sometimes with very slight weakness on the claws. The obverse strike is normally soft. The central obverse almost always exhibits slight weakness. LIBERTY is often weaker for a given grade than would be expected for coins from other mints. Stars exhibit centrals that are slightly weak to totally flat, depending on the die marriage. High-grade examples are almost always prooflike, or at least slightly so. Coinage runs were short, and the dies were apparently polished prior to each run.

Die Numbering


Please note that we’ve changed die references since our article in the Spring, 2015 issue of the Gobrecht Journal (reference 10). We re-ordered the dies to reflect our current estimate of the emission sequence. As will be discussed later in this section, there is still some uncertainty in this sequence, but we think we’re close. The table below cross-references our new die identifiers with work done previously. We’ve frozen these identifiers based on our current estimate of the emission sequence. If we later determine that our emission sequence needs to be modified, we’ll change the table that appears later in this section rather than making additional changes to the die identifiers.

Osburn-Cushing (Spring, 2015)

New Obverse Die ID

New Reverse
Die ID

Kroon ID

Schlosser ID

Obverse 4 1
Obverse 1 2 1 1
Obverse 3 3 3
Obverse 2 4 2 2
Reverse B A 3
Reverse C B 1
Reverse A C 2
Reverse F D
Reverse D E 4
Reverse E F

Mintage by Date



The table below summarizes the mintage of 1870-CC dollars by date. This information was obtained from R. W. Julian’s article in the Gobrecht Journal (reference 22).

Minting Period

Date

Mintage

1 2/10/1870 2,303
2 2/24/1870 1,444
3 3/05/1870 1,116
4 3/22/1870 1,175
5 3/24/1870 500
6 3/30/1870 1,300
7 4/07/1870 500
8 5/20/1870 600
9 6/11/1870 870
10 6/14/1870 550
11 6/30/1870 1,400


1870-CC Die Marriages


Four different obverse dies were paired with 6 reverse dies to create 9 die marriages. The following table summarizes the known die combinations:

Click the links below to view the details of the die marriages.

Die Marriage
Rarity
Obverse Die
Reverse Die
Estimated Survivors
OC-1 R4- 1 A 170
OC-2 R5 2 A 60
OC-3 R5+ 2 B 45
OC-4 R7- 3 C 10
OC-5 R5+ 3 B 45
OC-6 R5+ 3 D 45
OC-7 R5 2 D 60
OC-8 R4+ 2 E 115
OC-9 R4- 4 F 200

A few other die combinations have been reported, but those noted here are the only ones that we’ve confirmed. This is a year that has been studied enough to allow some level of attribution of die marriages, particularly by auction houses, for many years. However, our review of just the Heritage auction archives revealed that there has been a lot of confusion in these attributions. This is to be expected with so many combinations and several dies that exhibit very similar diagnostics. Also note that two of these dies, one obverse and one reverse, were only recently identified through our research in preparing this website and the first edition of our book (see reference 10). They were not known to previous authors. We hope that our book and web site help to eliminate some of this confusion.

The article discussed previously by R. W. Julian (reference 22) showed that 1870-CC dollars were minted on at least 11 different occasions. This is a possible explanation for the unusually large number of die marriages identified for the year. It’s also an indication that other die combinations could exist. We solicit information from anyone who believes that they own or have seen a die combination not noted here.

1870-CC Emission Sequence

The dies used for 1870-CC didn’t strike many coins. As a result, there was very little degradation over their lifetimes, making the determination of the emission sequence very difficult. However, one piece of information only recently discovered has greatly increased our confidence in the accuracy of the sequence documented below. Obverse 1 was shipped to San Francisco in the spring of 1870 and used to strike 1870-S dollars (see reference 21). This makes it certain that it was used early in the year, which fits perfectly with the sequence that we’ve documented. Also note that we’ve moved OC-9 to the first position in the sequence, fitting it’s status as the most common die marriage with the fact that the largest mintage of 1870-CC dollars was on the first date of issue, February 10, 1870. This is a change from what we documented in the first edition of this reference.

Emission Order
Die Marriage
Comments
1 OC-9 Placement of OC-9 in the emission sequence is arbitrary since no dies are shared with other die marriages. We’ve assumed that it occupies the first position in the sequence since this is the most common die marriage and the first mintage period, February 10, 1870, produced by far the largest number of 1870-CC dollars (see the tabledocumenting mintage by date).
2 OC-1 Since Obverse 1 was used in San Francisco in May, 1870 it had to be used early in the sequence.
3 OC-2 Based on Reverse A die polishing OC-1 precedes OC-2.
4 OC-3 Based on Obverse 2 die polishing OC-2 precedes OC-3.
5 OC-4 OC-4, OC-5, and OC-6 are ordered based on progressive die polishing of Obverse 3.
6 OC-5 OC-4, OC-5, and OC-6 are ordered based on progressive die polishing of Obverse 3. OC-5 was issued after OC-3 based on Reverse B die polishing.
7 OC-6 OC-4, OC-5, and OC-6 are ordered based on progressive die polishing of Obverse 3.
8 OC-7 OC-7 follows OC-6 based on Reverse D die polishing.
9 OC-8 OC-8 follows OC-7 based on polishing of Obverse 2.

1870-CC Quick Finder Chart

With 9 different die marriages currently identified, and the possibility that other die combinations may exist, attribution can be at least a minor challenge. However, the presence of a mintmark simplifies the process considerably. Use of the following chart should allow relatively quick identification of most examples.

Die Marriage

Obv Die

Rev Die

Right
Base of 1

Keys

OC-1 1 A RE Obverse: High date, RB of 1 is RE. Eyelash obverse.
Reverse: Wide CC.
OC-2 2 A JL of C Obverse: High date, RB of 1 is JL of C.
Reverse: Wide CC.
OC-3 2 B JL of C Obverse: High date, RB of 1 is JL of C.
Reverse: Close CC. No die line from feather tip.
OC-4 3 C JL of RE Obverse: High date, RB of 1 is JL of C.
Reverse: Wide CC.
OC-5 3 B JL of RE Obverse: High date, RB of 1 is JL of C.
Reverse: Close CC. No die line from feather tip.
OC-6 3 D JL of RE Obverse: High date, RB of 1 is JL of RE.
Reverse: Close CC, die line goes left from lower tip of upper feather.
OC-7 2 D JL of C Obverse: High date, RB of 1 is JL of C.
Reverse: Close CC, die line goes left from lower tip of upper feather.
OC-8 2 E JL of C Obverse: High date, RB of 1 is JL of C.
Reverse: Medium wide CC. Seen with and without 60 degree die rotation.
OC-9 4 F RE Obverse: Centered date.
Reverse: Medium wide CC.


Photo credits:

Obverse and reverse full photos:   1870-CC NGC MS64, tied for finest known, ex. Gene Gardner, from the Heritage archives.


Copyright © 2015-2019, by Dick Osburn and Brian Cushing, All rights reserved.